Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Great minds think alike...

... And apparently so do Peter Oborne and I. He says in the Mail that:
“not a single member of the Cabinet has ever occupied a wealth-creating job.”
I did a similar exercise just a few days ago when I estimated that around one-third of contributors to LabourList had worked in something besides PR, journalism, think tanks or for the Labour Party.

There is a distinction between this and 'wealth-creating' jobs, though. Wealth is not money. If it was, Zimbabwe would be the richest country in the world. Wealth is something people want and can be a widget, some carrots or a service.

Nursing and teaching are clearly a service that generates wealth by providing healthy workers and educated children. Transactional lawyers (e.g. conveyancing, wills) also provide a service. Sales and marketing are key to a company's success and PR for corporate clients is sufficiently similar to be interchangeable. Journalism done well either provides information or is part of the entertainment industry. Entertainment is a service people will pay for - Hollywood makes money and prostitution is the oldest profession in the world.

The problem with the Political Class described in Peter Oborne's book is that they don't create anything that anyone outside the ruling party wants. Neither do they create anything someone would pay for with their own money - they have to be public- or pseudo-public funded.

Take Polly Toynbee - she's neither entertaining nor informative. She would doubtless be upset if described as 'entertainment' for Tory voters where the 'entertainment' here is similar to that offered by stocks and ducking stools. If I'm totally cynical, no one would pay to read Polly Toynbee, which is why she's bundled with news and public sector job adverts [sorry, Polly, you're the clearest example of a political class journalist I can think of, which is why I keep using you as an example]

It would be great if someone in the Cabinet had experience running a business though.

Hat-tip to Iain Dale

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