We were asked by The Telegraph to join with a panel of small businesses to take part in a “blind taste-test” of the political parties’ General Election promises.
We think this is a brilliant idea — taking the personalities and prejudices out of politics and focusing on the policies as proposed. And since the growth of small businesses is held-out by many politicians to be the thing which drives us out of recession, who better to ask about these policies?
The panel included Duncan Grant of The Entertainer Group, Christian Arno of Lingo 24, James Roper of IMRG, Brad Aspess of Rarewaves (who also sell on eBay), James Murray Wells of Glasses Direct, Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation and Justine Roberts of Mumsnet (as well as our Director, David Brackin). It was a really fabulous group and great opportunity to have so many fabulous entrepreneurs in one room discussing the issue of the day: Who should lead the UK out of recession?
The blind taste-test
So how did it work? Each party had been asked for its policy promises in each of several different areas — from tackling the recession to building e-commerce — and then these were reduced to their key points and anonymised by the staff at The Telegraph.
The discussion that resulted was a thoroughly stimulating debate about the key issues without any of the tiresome arguments that seem to arise when the ideas come from the man or woman with a blue / red / yellow rosette on his or her lapel. The overwhelming conclusion was that none of the parties really “got it” – and the best that any of us could hope for was that they didn’t get too involved other than in promoting overall stability. This rather depressing message is perhaps not too surprising when you consider how little the overlap is between the worlds of business and politics.
You can read more about what Kamal Ahmed, the Sunday Telegraph‘s Business Editor, thought about the session in his article here
Next week you can find out what happened when the discussion ended and the panel were asked to vote!