Hanson steers clear of one crucial issue

Comment

Lord Hanson plainly missed his vocation. Judging by his piece in the present issue of the Spectator, he should have been a journalist, for he writes well. But on second thoughts, perhaps not. For one thing, he would have been a lot poorer. And for a second, it is journalists, or rather their cynicism about politicians and businessmen, who are the butt of his criticism.

Lord Hanson thinks the fourth estate a pretty bad and destructive one. Its cynicism, far from being a reflection of worldly wisdom, is more a form of immaturity, derived from the fact that media reporters have never had to do anything in "the real world". The purpose of journalists is too often to degrade "those who actually get things done", to foster the belief that these people routinely evade the truth and break their promises.

As a result "there now exists a widespread feeling that we are living in a period of unprecedented decline", that our government and officials are full of corruption, our standard of life is irredeemably poor and that "businessmen are interested only in profit, at the expense of all else". Er...sorry, did we miss something? Since when has a businessman not been interested in profit?

Joking apart, Lord Hanson makes some good points and many will find something in what he says. But he is wrong about businessmen. Businessmen are not, on the whole, disbelieved, except, as in the case of Robert Maxwell, when there is good reason for it. Nor are they castigated for seeking profit though they do sometimes get lambasted for damaging the environment. Furthermore, there has been a surprising degree of support, or at least understanding, for "downsizing" companies even if the sometimes tragic effect of this process is also widely reported.

In his polemic, Lord Hanson notably steers clear of the issue of executive pay, and well he should. To the extent that the media is anti-business it reflects legitimate public concern about the growing gulf between the lowest and the highest-paid in society. It is not the cynicism of the media that led to the row over Cedric Brown's salary; it was the cynicism and shamelessness of a company that could award its chief executive a 75 per cent pay increase at a time when there was vicious downsizing, complaints were soaring and, yes, profits were plummeting too. The boardroom is often as guilty as the press when it comes to "the real world".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific