Should this man be in charge of a public service broadcaster?

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Luke Johnson wrote this in the FT yesterday:

Business is tough now, but it could get much worse.

The backlash against free market economics is growing. From the demented new laws surrounding hedge funds and private equity proposed by the European Union, to the 50 per cent-plus income tax rates introduced in the UK, to the nationalisation of Chrysler, socialism is in the ascendance.

Right now, entrepreneurs are focused on cutting costs, generating cash, meeting bank covenants and coping with generally ghastly conditions. Thousands of businesses are struggling to survive. But once they win that battle, a chronic and perhaps more wearing conflict awaits: the contest to stop the state expropriating so much or tying everything up in so much red tape that it all becomes more effort than it is worth.

It’s manic stuff. Regulating businesses that have brought our economy to its knees is apparently “spell[ing] trouble for those who invest, add value and create jobs.”

And “Sharply rising redistribution and regulation is hardly the way to encourage wealth creation. In a mobile world, risk takers will go where their skills are rewarded and where the opportunities are greatest.” But it is now clear that a) those who took the risk did so with other people's money and walked away with the rewards whilst b) if wealth is measured in any way that does not equate to totting up the amount Luke Johnson has in his bank account then more equal societies (created in part by redistribution) are wealthier on every measure anyone can think of. I suggest Mr Johnson does just a little reading.

It’s also horribly phobic: Mr Johnson’s phobia is the ordinary person without his resources. As he says:

I attended a round table of entrepreneurs and senior executives from various industries. They worry about consumer spending, about debt, staff morale and so forth. But they all raise the issues of regulation and taxation, and how they are suffocating their companies: employment laws, planning laws, competition laws, health and safety laws, and so on.

Tax pays for people’s health and education: the people who he once employed on low pay in Pizza Express: on whose back he built his fortune and without that state security net he could not have paid them so little. Employment laws stop people being exploited by employer’s whose only definition of well being is their bank balance. Planning laws protect our environment, or should. Competition law protects us from monopolists. How many people owe their lives to health and safety laws. Would he drive a car if they did not exist? It’s hard to credit the callousness of what he has written.

Luke Johnson is chair of Channel 4. Channel 4 is a state owned public broadcaster. he was appointed by a labour government. He is not fit in my opinion to hold that office: he shows so by his contempt for society inherent in his article.

It says a lot about Labour that they put him in such a post.