Of course Labour should talk to business, amongst many others

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I cannot help but say I was disappointed to read this in the Guardian:

Labour needs to reset its relationship with business, one of the frontrunners for the party leadership is to say, adding that former leader Ed Miliband’s divisional rhetoric of “predators and producers” was mistaken.

Yvette Cooper will on Tuesday also promise to back government plans to cut corporation tax and vow that she will set up a prominent business advisory group that will advise her as party leader.

There is, if course, no reason at all why Yvette Cooper should not want to talk to big business. Any politician should do so. But the comments that follow do not logically flow from that desire.

As a matter of fact there are predator businesses that seek to extract value from, rather than contribute to, the society we live in. This can be through tax avoidance. It can be by abusing their commercial power. No politician should be ashamed to say so.

And no politician should be above highlighting government waste, including the granting of tax rate cuts that have not delivered on the promise of boosting investment, which was the reason why they were supposedly given. In that case to commit to continuing a multi-billion pound error just looks like a mistake.

And, to come back to that business advisory group, why (as is implied) restrict it to business people? Don't employees and their representatives belong on there? And what about investors too? Or the pensioners who rely on those businesses? And the stakeholders who have to live alongside them? Will they get a say, and if not, why not?

The reality is that such groups do not represent business, they represent its management, which is a tiny sub-group who have by and large captured the benefit of the business owned by others for their own personal gain - a definition of predatory behaviour if ever there was one. I am afraid the language of wealth creators crept in when referring to such people later in the article as if they are a breed apart. I have to say I do not agree: they are a part in the wealth creation process in which a great many others play as significant a role. They capture an excessive part of the reward but that should not give them undue influence. It is to be regretted that any political party wishes to give them that, but that seems to be the current way of the world. It will, as some wise people said in my time, end in tears.