The Great Debate UK
- Tony Manwaring is Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s Company. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Britain will soon be voting for a new government. It should be time to discuss the big issues which will define the years ahead, notably how are we, as a nation, going to pay our way in the years ahead? Our confidence that financial services and Cool Britannia will replace manufacturing and heavy industries now looks sadly misplaced.
Instead, the focus is on the short to medium-term: confidence in sterling, interest rates, and levels of public spending. The range of policy instruments being used is giving ‘business as usual’ a bad name. On the one hand, we are throwing the kitchen sink at the gaping, gnawing hole that is the fragility of recovery to stave off double-dip recession; on the other, a deep need to go back to the future, press ‘reset’, and hope for the best.
All of this is reinforced by the popular reaction to banking and finance. The popular mood – reinforced by opinion leaders and politicians alike – appears to suggest that we would rather go back to a barter economy, and do away with money, credit and, above all, bankers. This is not only illogical and perverse, but also seriously frustrating. Because many of the most interesting and reflective discussions we are having on what has gone wrong, and what needs to be done, can be had with, er, whisper it softly … bankers.