An open letter written by John Longworth the director of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned politicians in Westminster of needless ‘point scoring’ that could deflect from the real issues facing businesses in Britain. The BCC represents thousands of firms of all sizes and has a strong campaigning voice for the interests of business in Westminster.
In the high profile attack on UK politicians Mr Longworth spoke of the fear many businesses feel due to the uncertainty and instability that not global markets, but ‘home-grown UK politics’ are creating. With the rise of smaller parties such as UKIP the general election is described as the ‘most wide open contest in decades.’ The fear is that a ‘dirty’ campaign of media profiling, one-up-man-ship and point scoring will ensue ignoring the wider and more serious issues that this country faces.
He warns of politicians ‘jumping on the latest media bandwagon’ to seem in touch with the people or undercutting rivals with short-term policy goals in order to beat the competition. All this, according to Longworth, is creating a ‘nervousness’ amongst UK businesses. Just emerging out of one of the worst financial crises this country has seen in recent times it is hardly surprising. The business sector needs predictability, stable promises and achievable goals rather than empty promises set to gain nothing more than a few extra votes on Election Day.
What is clear is that there is a certain unease in many sectors in the lead up to what is going to be one of the most open and fiercely contested battles for government the UK has seen in decades. This close rivalry is what seems to be worrying Longworth and his plea to politicians to remain focused on the task ahead will certainly be supported by many.
He concludes his letter by speaking of politicians ‘responsibility’ in the forthcoming campaign to put the UK’s long term success over ‘tawdry political tactics and point scoring.’ He talks of putting the national interest over party political ones and the priorities of public spending for stability rather than ‘short term giveaways and gimmicks.’ The General Election Campaign, he summarises, must maintain a ‘relentless focus on policies that deliver prosperity.’
The open letter was sent to David Cameron and Ed Miliband as well as many other party leaders including Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon. In the lead up to what is set to be the most fiercely contested and highly debated election campaign in recent history it is severely doubtable whether politicians are likely to take Mr Longworth’s suggestions on board. However, what it clearly displays is the growing fear and concern amongst many that politicians, in the fight to succeed, have lost all sight of what they are actually fighting for.