Money is dirty. Only the 1 per cent among us can obtain serious wealth. The corporate bosses and oligarchs have the natural order sown up with their friends in the political elite. All of this success is built only on the broken bodies and spirits of the remaining 99 per cent.
None or all of this may be true. But what it clear is that those driving the agenda of movements such as Occupy, WikiLeaks and Anonymous have fallen for such mythology hook, line and sinker. In many areas, they make compelling insights about the perils of globalisation and consumerism. However, entrenched views do us no favours during the worst economic crisis three generations have witnessed. We must elevate the debate above the schoolyard scrap.
For the reality is not quite as black and white as the anti-capitalist lobby would have you believe. So let us address these shades of grey. If jobs – the lifeblood of any economy – come not from wealth-creating businesses, then where? The state? Surely, we have learnt the lessons from history by now.
While bashing a banker in a cheap headline or boycotting a multinational on the high street over global tax avoidance might be justified and, indeed, good fun it has a more serious effect. The daily drip of poison in certain parts of the journalistic landscape actually stirs up comprehensive anti-business feeling. For medium-sized enterprises such as my own, this is not a healthy state of affairs.
Of course firms want to make money first and foremost but the danger is that rather than seeing the positives of new jobs and investments we bring, local companies are tarred with the same brush as their international peers. So dangerous is this mindset, it risks undermining the United Kingdom’s economic recovery. Trade and commerce cannot thrive without the support of citizens.
Here in Stoke I have witnessed smear campaigns against entrepreneurs seeking only to do well for themselves, their employees, their customers and the community. What purpose does this serve? Why are we not celebrating provincial business leaders punching above their weight?
Instead, as a society we would rather wax lyrical on the merits of the latest talentless reality TV fodder rather than praise wealth creators. The national psyche seems out of sink with the shifts we are witnessing as money and power moves away from European countries like Britain towards the emerging Asia-Pacific region.
Do we want managed decline in everywhere outside of London? Do we want to let once-great cities like Stoke just wither and die due to the lack of competitiveness and innovation and enterprise? It is time to get real. We must adapt to change and new ways of working; if the decimated potteries industry as a microcosm tells you one thing, it is that.
Therefore, creating a more business-friendly environment and not making pantomime villains out of commercial leaders should be a no-brainer. Part of the reason I have decided to start blogging is because the voice of successful entrepreneurs is one rarely heard in public. Most of these trailblazers prefer to hide away from the glare of media sunlight, not for fear of exposure but because it makes it easier to just get on with your life.
Why not focus on trading? Why bother talking about your charity work? Why take on the press stereotypes and warped public personas of you that have been allowed to build up unchallenged? Who needs the headache such a battle could bring?
Well, the time has come – for me at least. I have decided to take part in the discussion, to open myself up to praise and scorn in equal measure. The aim is not to create some sort of online soapbox or promotional tool, although no doubt these will be among the first accusations to fly my way. Absolutely not. What I want to do is engage in the debate with you the readers. To tell you my inner thoughts – the words that normally go unspoken- and vice versa.
Isn’t that the very ethos of the blogosphere and new media? I hope to challenge you just as I’m sure you will hold me to account, and I relish the lively discussions ahead. Along the way, it should be a lot of fun. All I ask is that you keep an open mind. To be continued.