Democracy, independence and party politics

Read a very good book recently called Democracy Ltd by Bobby Friedman. He has investigated the funding of UK political parties and how money and donations have changed the landscape of British politics. Bobby is an excellent writer who manages to make what could be a very dense subject into a riveting page-turner.

He concludes that it is much better for there to be government funding for parties rather than parties being beholden to big business, unions and wealthy individuals. Personally, this is an idea I would wholly endorse.

As a businessman I have always stayed out of supporting one party or another. Businesses have got to maintain strict impartiality when it comes to competition issues. If you do end up supporting a political party, if they ever end up making a decision in your favour, it looks bad all round. If you go against a party and they make a decision against you, it looks equally bad.

Image from Virgin.com

I am often asked if I would ever consider entering politics and my answer is always no. I believe it is possible to have a far greater positive impact by focusing upon important issues I care passionately about, and remaining independent of any political ties. But this should not deter others from doing so. Countries need some of their most talented people to become politicians.  

On occasions I will speak out about a range of topics from drug reform to supporting entrepreneurs – sometimes backing the policies of one party or another from across political divides.

Image from The Elders

I feel most at home when party politics is not involved - an excellent example of this is The Elders, the fiercely independent group of world leaders who work tirelessly for peace and human rights. Together, they help resolve conflict and tackle issues ranging from women’s rights to climate change. By being independent, they are often able to have a far greater impact than in their days as heads of state.

Head over to The Elders to find out more about their latest work from Iran to India to Israel.

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