This @Telegraph front-page screams out one thing to me: the Tories are the Party of the 1%, not the 99%.
— Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) April 1, 2015
While the Labour Party has spent the day trashing the 103 job creators and business owners who this morning endorsed the Conservatives, they seem to have forgotten that once upon a time their own party used to recognise that support from enterprise and entrepreneurs was an asset. Under Miliband it seems the pretense of dividing business into “predators and producers” (they never would name any firms they considered to be in the former category) has now been abandoned – being a successful businessperson is now a sin, regardless of your industry or approach.
Just as a reminder, here are a few of those signatories to the Tory-supporting letter whose support Labour have lost:
- Surinder Arora. Managing director of Arora International. Formerly a “fan” of Tony Blair, his enthusiasm waned over foreign policy – but he has now switched allegiance on economic policy, too.
- Duncan Bannatyne. Owner of Bannatyne Group and former Dragon. He supported Blair’s “great leadership skills” and even defended Gordon Brown in 2010.
- Sir Charles Dunstone. Co-founder, Carphone Warehouse. Ten years ago he was putting his name to a business leaders’ letter in support of Labour. Now he is “frightened” by the prospect of a Miliband government.
- Sir Cameron Mackintosh. Theatre producer. A convert to the Conservatives at the last election, having previously been a Blairite, his verdict was blunt: Labour “F—-d it up”.
- Moni Varma. Founder, Veetee Rice. Another of Labour’s now-disillusioned 2005 business supporters, Labour’s tax policies deterred him in 2010.
There are only really two possible interpretations when Labour attacks such people. Either they are expressing sour grapes that they have lost such supporters, which is unattractive and suggests a failure to consider why such successful individuals were once willing to vote Labour but now wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole. Or they genuinely believe their rhetoric – in which case Milibandism is even more dangerous than many fear: rejecting and sneering at those who create jobs, boost growth and generate taxes for the nation. Either way, it’s not a good look.