Look who's talking

The business year in pictures
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The Independent Online
Many in the Labour Party fear that Tony Blair's effort to reconcile the profit drive of big business with Labour's ethical foundations is doomed. But Mr Blair is bold in his pursuit of Thatcherism with a human face.

Mr Blair's courtship of business barons has been relentless. It was considered quite a coup for the Labour Party when Lord David Simon, formerly chairman of BP, was given the job of trade and industry minister.

In October Mr Blair received Microsoft chieftain Bill Gates, the world's richest man, to 10 Downing Street - so enraging all of Microsoft's rivals, which understood the PR coup that Mr Blair had handed the software guru.