Margareta Pagano: Some Britons aren't too posh to push for economic success
Margareta Pagano is a former business editor of the Independent on Sunday who now writes columns and business interviews for a range of publications, including the Independent, Independent on Sunday and London Evening Standard.
Sunday 31 March 2013
Lord Heseltine's comments last week suggesting that the British may be too wealthy to push for economic recovery have predictably caused a flutter, especially in the blogosphere, where Tarzan is now being accused of being an uncaring rich Tory toff who doesn't give a toss about the poor.
Hezza may be a Tory and a toff, but he's not uncaring, and it's a pity the point he was raising was missed. What he said was this: "It's a question of whether the national will is there; whether we want it [economic recovery]. And the richer you get the less imperative there is."
You can understand why Hezza – himself a businessman – might say this as he's just back from India, where he saw great poverty. Compared to many living in India and other parts of the developing world, the UK's living standards are comfortable for the majority. But he's wrong to say the Brits lack the will to succeed.
Take the 17-year-old computer whizz Nick D'Aloisio, who sold his mobile app Summly to Yahoo for £20m last week. D'Aloisio came from what appears to be a comfortable Wimbledon home, but has been experimenting with technology since he was 10; nature or nurture?
Then you had the Dragons' Den star Peter Jones, investing in Jessops, the camera chain that went bust a few months ago; a decision which would have drawn derision from his fellow judges if he had asked them first. But Jones is pinning hopes – and £5m of his fortune – in resurrecting 40 shops and re-employing 300 of the chain's staff. It's a fantastic act of faith, and good luck to him.
These are just a couple of examples of individual drive, and there are hundreds more examples taking place every minute.
No, what Hezza might have inadvertently spotted is a lack of national will at the top of the pyramid – those who run government, the banks and the UK's big corporates. They are the ones who are far too comfortable, and where radical reform is still need to break up many industry monopolies.
Go for it, Tarzan – shake up the money tree.
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should convert and not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...