This issue of Financial Director went to press 10 working days before the General Election, so one can only wonder what will happen between the time I’m putting these words on paper and when we turn on the breakfast news on 7 May. Will we be a red, a blue or a yellow country – or a dirty water colour, if we get a hung parliament?
We’ve got some serious structural problems with our economy that this Election could be our only chance of addressing. It doesn’t matter who gets the job. What does matter to business is that someone with a bit of sense come in and takes the economy firmly by the scruff of its neck. Someone who can add up and grasp the workings of the complex financial products that shape our world; takes charge and conducts a proper review of our taxation system; gets our institutions to adopt the spirit as well as the letter of regulation; and asks the tough questions about the way the populace disassociates itself with the consequences of the credit boom, when we should all be including ourselves in the conversation about attitudes that need to change.
And that’s why I’m sceptical. This Election campaign so far has been a platform for uber-rhetoric and little else. Voter turnout doesn’t have much of an incentive to rise based on what they’ve seen on telly and the lack of conviction in discussion around how to balance our books. I may point to the need for a closer look at society’s part in the crisis, but the man on the street still underwrote the bank bailouts and will continue to pay for the transgressions of those in charge. We footed the bill: now who’s going to work out how to pay that deficit?