I don’t do politics!

Jul 30, 2010 by

I confess to being quite ignorant of politics, I tend to be too busy with my head down working to take notice of the news, I have a policy of avoiding the news because generally it either upsets or angers me and I consider that a waste of my energies.

I was invited, at very short notice, to the launch of a City Region for Innovation this week.  In my ignorance I thought this was going to be a networking event where we discussed innovations such as cloud computing and how we could make businesses within this City Region more efficient and effective, thereby being something that was ‘right down my street’.

It was nothing like I expected.  The venue was extraordinary, the Merchant Adventurers Hall, 650 years of history and bringing business people together. In that respect it succeeded, there were around 150 to 200 of us there despite a very vague invitation having only been issued via one email a week earlier.

The panel of speakers consisted of the leader of the council, the Chief Executive of the Council and several business owners.

We had screenshots of pretty coloured areas, graphs, spike charts and statistics, we had lots of talk, some of the politicians make very good speakers, but at the end of those two hours I still didn’t quite get it.

Vince Cable has set the challenge to the regions to come up with their offering by 6th September to avoid the regions being moved to central control.  There was much talk of LEPs and Regions and I suspect to have even a chance of understanding any of this I am going to have to hit Google and do some research.

In order to excuse my ignorance can I just mention that a year ago I was employed, albeit not happily, and had no need to know of these things, and its only now that I own my own business that is becoming successful that I am coming across these things.

There didn’t really seem to be talk about what the innovations would be, or if there was I failed to understand it.

Perhaps the most interesting element was when the floor was opened for questions, a lot of the panel knew the speakers, leaving me feeling like I was not part of some exclusive club, but the answers didn’t quite seem to answer the questions.

What I didn’t get was why in Yorkshire we need to have four regions. There was a lot of concern raised about duplication of effort and information. That perked my ears up; these are things I can relate to. Duplication, in any shape or form, costs time and wastes resources. My pet hates.

Who would own the assets of the soon to be disbanded Yorkshire Forward, which seemed to be more of a concern for many than what I thought we were there to talk about.

The only time there seemed to be an element of interest in the room was when a business man stood up at the back of the room and said that in the last few weeks he and several others, concerned about the introduction of the regions, had formed a Social Enterprise, they were keen to avoid duplication, and keen to actually form something that would help business.    Their website is due to be launched next week http://www.yorkshirebusinessvoice.org, it doesn’t appear to be live yet.  I shall make a point of checking it out when it does.

So two hours later I was none the wiser.  I could see that a lot of committees would be formed, a lot of talking would be done, and lots of pretty slides and brochures would be created. What I couldn’t see was the innovation that I had gone to hear about.

You know what, I suspect, cynic that I am, that a lot of money will be spent there, and am not convinced that it will benefit the businesses in our region. I hope I am wrong.  In the meantime I will go away and carry on doing what I am doing. Collaborating with other business owners, working together to introduce innovation, to share best practice, to enlighten companies to the benefits of these new technological innovations such as cloud computing.  I will continue to make my clients more efficient and effective.  That’s all that I can do, because that is all I understand.

I shall leave the politicians to it, and hope that they don’t duplicate the work over the regions, the data, the resources, and waste the opportunities. And one day, perhaps, I may even understand what they are talking about!

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  1. Unfortunately there will always be people who see these opportunities as a way to line their own pockets and they generally have enough sweet talk to blind most to the truth of what they are doing.

    Am I being cynical when I say people seem to like meetings more than actually doing something constructive?

    You do well to continue building your own network to attempt to help and improve local businesses and their strategies. I am trying to that in my own small way on the other side of the Pennines.

    Good luck.

  2. It is a catch 22. I too don’t do politics mainly because I never seem to grasp the constant changes that are being made which according to the politicians themselves will be to our benefit in the long run. I’ve yet to see any change in the 12 years that I have been back in the UK that gets everyone saying “Isn’t it great” – “How fantastic” – “Thank goodness the government” etc. – positive exclamations that they have done something great for us either as individuals or as business owners. Is that because good news doesn’t get reported or is it a fact that no positive changes have taken place? It is early days with the new Government and I only hope that with an infusion of young blood and being the optimist that I am, change will take place but believe that it will take some time to clear up the mess, strip out old ideas, remove “old school” politicians before any changes will be seen. Like you, I will keep focused on helping the people I can by doing what I do and I will leave the politicians to keep the journalists employed.

  3. Hi Helen

    I can so relate to you! I don’t really like to get involved in these things however I find that I am becoming more and more passionate about them the older I get and the longer I have been in business.

    We are just about to go through our LEP talks in our Huntingdonshire/Cambridgeshire region so I wonder whether we shall similar slides to those that you saw and have a similar experience.

    What would you say you would have liked to have seen differently? I only ask that as Huntingdonshire Business Network (HBN) is going to be facilitating our discussions with local council and I am wondering what I could do to help improve the experience for attendees?


  4. admin

    Hi Max

    I think the problem with yesterday is that the invitation was extremely vague! I attended thinking I was attending a networking session on innovation, not a party political broadcast.

    I strongly suspect that a lot of this will be talk and old fashioned style business involvement, what I want to see is that they do start to embrace ideas like cloud technology and innovation.

    There was a lot of talk of this meeting and that meeting, and sadly talking about things doesn’t get anything happening.

    If your HBN can ensure that things get done rather than discussed then I think you have a chance. Good luck with it.


  5. This just proves that we live in a bureaucratic nation full of people who as mentioned above are out to create jobs for themselves, to make them seem important and indispensable. I personally love politics and find it very important and interesting to be involved. I’ve had a few dealings with politicians and local councils and it always amazes me how most of these people have personnel agendas rather than the best interestes of the community at heart. Can this be changed No because we live in a dog eat dog world where it’s survival of the fittest, there’s no charity in business, there can’t afford to be. Business needs to be kept simple and basic. There are two many people who want to make a name for themselves for the wrong reasons. We should boycott these so called leaders in business unless there linked to the biggest businesses in the Uk.

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