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No wonder JCB boss Lord Bamford quit the CBI

·2-min read
 (Paul Dallimore)
(Paul Dallimore)

If what the best brains at the CBI come up passed for thought at the top of British business, we should all be concerned.

Thankfully it doesn’t – loads of actual business people have stacks of smart ideas.

Today’s effort from the self-styled voice of business – it’s really only the voice of those who pay its fees, and often not even them – is lame.

Its “vision” for the future uses phrases such as “seize the moment” – the name of the report -- and “early mover advantage” around mostly obvious ideas.

The CBI’s early mover expert probably thinks the Rubik’s cube is going to be cool.

The trade body says Brexit and Covid-19 were “twin shocks” to the economy. We should try and grow overseas trade. Exports are good – see? Faster internet would be right handy.

And we should use less carbon, because climate change Is A Thing. The CBI has been thinking about that one for a while, I guess.

The report talks of levelling up. Of opening up pension funds to a wider array of investments. And some other perfectly sensible ideas that are either already in circulation or indeed already being enacted.

The CBI wants to see “big bets”.

If you look at the make-up of the CBI board, it doesn’t exactly shout of radical gambling. There are some women, one of whom is black, but even she, Vivian Hunt, is a Dame.

The directors are far more likely to throw a fondue party than a revolution.

Then there’s Brexit. The CBI fell on the side of the predictable establishment, insisting Leave would be a calamity, despite the views of many of its members.

One of them, Lord Bamford, quit the CBI in irritation. It is no wonder he thinks the fees are a waste of money.

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