Letter: Blindly trusting
Friday 19 February 1999
Sir: How long will it be before governments realise that the appointment of major players in the business world to positions of power is a recipe for disaster?
However fervent the protestations of impartiality and the observance of Chinese Walls in matters affecting their personal and family interests there will always be a grave doubt in the public mind. The much-vaunted "blind trusts" do little to give reassurance. It is, after all, unlikely that Lord Sainsbury, the science minister, finding X million pounds flowing into his personal or family accounts at the end of the year, can be in much doubt as to its provenance.
Business men obviously have a role to play in advising government, as do trade unions and many other specialist bodies, as and when the need arises, but this has always been done through the medium of groups such as the CBI rather than by elevating individuals, often unelected, to positions of great power and influence.
At least that system was free from the problem of "conflict of interest" - what use is an adviser who has to leave the room when anything on which he can make real input is discussed?
B J CAIRNS
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