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June 29, 2007


Matt Munro

Completely different motivations too. Politicians see the world and want to change it, businessman see the world and want to make a quick buck from it.

Kevin G

Might it not be the other way around? That is, success in politics might be the "lucky" event? I know you're sceptical of managerial politics, but managerial management at leats has a ring of plausibility to it...

chris strange

In business people also have one big advantage over those in politics, they can get almost immediate unbiased feedback on their decisions by just looking at the bottom line. That means they are better placed to discover and correct their mistakes before they get noticed by everybody else giving the impression of competence. In politics everybody has to notice and complain very loudly before any feedback can filter up the bureaucracy giving the (normally justified) impression of incompetence.


but is Digby Jones a businessman who's gone into politics, or a politician who started out in business?

Bob B

The examples quoted by S&M are selected to conform with the hypothesis that businessmen - or CBI Directors - (often?) make bad government ministers.

One possible reason is that CBI Directors are inclined to lack a sufficiently partisan spirit in political exchanges in Parliament and the hustings, perhaps because they need to develop an aptitude for tact and consensus brokering when faced with contending business leaders in conclave in the CBI.

I suspect John Davies was chosen not for his partisan skills at the dispatch box in Parliament but to signal that Mrs Thatcher's government truly understood the ways of business. We might also ask about why Tony Blair chose Patricia Hewitt for rapid promotion to a ministerial career so shortly after her first election to Parliament in 1997.

However, we should note that some successful politicians have also been successful in business - Michael Heseltine, for example:


"When a management team with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact."
Not just applicable to business, but also to local govt. On the one hand I can think of my own City and on the other The Post Office (as was) / Royal Mail (now). In both cases too many of the middle management have not accepted the new approach at the top, with disastrous results. And the Trade Unions tend to support the middle management. If you change at the top, you need to purge - and you need to win over the Unions. Civil Service take note about Transformational Government. Incidentally, where has TG gone? Is it still in Cabinet Office, a dept with no power?


I think Dipper has the point. Jones made a good fist of being e-skills envoy. He has a politco's touch and I think will be a success for that.

He is also not an superstar ex-CEO like Archie Norman, he is was only ever a good consultant and laywer.

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