The Tories never tire of telling us how keen they are to support "hard-working families" who "do the right thing," We of the left should be equally assiduous in making it clear how much we favour hard-working businessmen who also "do the right thing," namely:
- live in Britain rather than as a tax exile;
- register their companies in Britain rather than in tax havens;
- have no truck with contrived schemes to avoid and evade paying their fair share of taxes;
- give their employees proper rather than zero-hours contracts;
- pay at least the minimum, and preferably the living wage;
- run real apprenticeship schemes and offer in-service training and re-training
- observe the laws regarding their employees' health and safety
- recognise their employees' need for sick leave when necessary, and holidays with pay;
- re-invest a large portion of their profits in research and development, and, where appropriate, expansion
- run decent pension schemes.
It is even more ludicrous that one of the accusers, Stefano Pessina, himself a tax exile in Monet Carlo who has attempted to relocate the company he leads, Boots the Chemist, to Switzerland for tax purposes, gains front-page headlines in our right-wing dominated press. Labour is consequently forced onto the back foot and shadow cabinet member Tristram Hunt is forced to grovel that Labour is a "furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business" party on yesterday's Andrew Marr television programme.
Our Liberal Democrat election slogan, "Stronger economy, fairer society" enables us, if we have the courage of our convictions, to campaign robustly on the list above. If it is achieved our society will be fairer. And if business leaders really do "do the right thing" our economy will be stronger because employees treated fairly work better together for the common goal.
Add a dash of profit sharing and democratic participation (whatever happened to those policies?) and we could be living in soar-away Britain.
* In yesterday's Sunday Telegraph, so I'm told.