Politicians need to "change the mood music" surrounding business, said Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham, at a recent Legatum Institute roundtable.
The cross-bench peer, a former head of the CBI and Minister of Trade under Gordon Brown, said the left and too many young people seemed to feel hostile to big business and believe that profit was a dirty word—when in truth business created jobs, tax revenues and funded the public sector.
"You", he told a lunch gathering of entrepreneurs, "are the most important in our society." Far from the negative image of business portrayed in the media—"where a man in a Rolls yells "you are fired" at his young apprentice… 99.9% of wealth creators are good decent hard-working people."
Politicians who do want to win over business should remember that the most important currency of all is "not the Swiss franc, not the euro….. but knowledge". Entrepreneurs’ greatest challenge lay in finding a workforce that could read, write and do their sums.
Finally, Lord Jones berated those who, seeking power, have perpetrated "the biggest lie—you can have it all."
The conversation was moderated by Cristina Odone, Director of Communications at the Legatum Institute.