The City in Crisis:
David Buik: Our dithering politicians should copy Singapore and act now to raise morale
It takes so long to implement legislation in the UK. Bureaucracy needs slashing now
Tuesday 23 October 2012
Starting in 1926 with the General strike, the UK has suffered many slings and arrows of financial and outrageous fortune which have sent business sentiment, confidence and morale diving into the vortex of despair.
There was the depression in the Thirties, World War Two, the post-war era under Clement Attlee, the IMF hovering over the UK like the sword of Damocles in 1974 when inflation was 20 per cent, the Scargill saga of 1981, Black Monday of 1987, the 1989/1991 recession, the Iraq war of 2003 and finally the credit crunch of 2008.
Notwithstanding all this, the British people have always remained very resilient, fighting through these crises with a smile on their face. Those working in the City of London have always provided some fortitude as well as the backbone of recovery.
It never ceases to amaze me what short memories people have. The fact that invisible earnings provided by the financial sector and the City have always been disproportionate to business, industry and commerce is always conveniently forgotten. I think those working in the City clearly underestimated the angst and hatred generated in bringing about the banking debacle of 2008 – easy enough to do, when so few people out of the one million employed in banking and ancillary services were responsible.
Morale is about as low as I can remember it. why? People are raging that they have less disposable income than they believe they deserve, through no fault of their own. Rarely have so many politicians been regarded with the disdain they are today.
There seems to be a lack of resolve and resolution from those in the corridors of power to change the status quo. A decade ago Alan Greenspan, governments' profligacy and an over-indulgence of credit by the consumer nearly pushed the world into the abyss. There is a price to pay.
People don't like taking their medicine and governments are not very good at administering it and articulating the reasons why it is necessary. Maybe I over-simplify how I believe confidence can be returned. Leadership is fundamental and it is sorely lacking in the EU, which is adversely affecting the attitude of politicians on both sides of the House in Westminster.
We need to take a leaf out of Singapore's book. If the Singapore government thinks it's a good idea to implement a policy, it just does it. Ask the questions later. You might say that is not democracy the way we know it. Desperate problems require desperate measures. It takes so long to implement legislation in the UK. Bureaucracy needs slashing now.
Small businesses need more tax concessions to help. The government must stop banging on about bank lending. That will only improve when banks' balance sheets have been shored up.
Most politicians need to take a leaf out of David Cameron's book. When he travels abroad, he sells UK PLC with gusto, drive, verve and a smile. Be upbeat! Confidence will return if some of my suggestions are implemented and with confidence comes recovery. Inertia must be despised. An excess of it will drive the country into depression, let alone recession.
The writer is a market strategist
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