With every passing week this government appears to increasingly reveal that it is the most out of touch in recent memory; they just never seem to quite get it. This time it's Cameron incongruously labelling the current mood of anger as "anti-business snobbery" - just who is he kidding?
Cameron's comments echo those of Chris Grayling MP, who desperately attacked those criticising his 'free labour for corporate leviathans' programme as "job-snobs" and "anti-capitalist extremists". The same man who refused to acknowledge the widespread public outrage his policy had caused, and then lied when asked whether any businesses were withdrawing from the scheme. Cameron even continued the defence of the scheme in his speech. If he really can't see the difference between putting a young person into college for a month's learning unpaid and putting a young person into a supermarket for a month's 'learning' unpaid, then he's all but completely detached from the public mood.
However, it's his attack on the public as opponents of 'wealth creation' and business in general that just take it to a whole other level. He's not only misread our concerns; he's trying desperately throw them back at us. I am certainly not anti-business. For starters, and like many people in this country, I work for one. Neither do I feel contempt towards my local plumber, or the family-run funeral directors at the top of my road, or the co-operative on the high street, or large corporations that pay a fair price for their goods and for their wages - all of which are businesses. Cameron's loose use of the word "business" - a concept that is so broad - makes the prime minister's accusation appear ridiculous at best.
It doesn't take a PhD in economics to know just how vital businesses are for our economy. In fact if anyone's "anti-business" it would appear to be the government. After all they're the ones who've failed to ensure that banks - many of which have been propped up by the taxpayers' cash - stuck to their lending targets to small - and medium-businesses as agreed to under Project Merlin.
Anti-big finance, the government certainly is not. The banks which caused the 2007 crisis are the same ones that continue to pay themselves huge amounts in bonuses. Only today RBS has announced losses of £2billion in 2011, but has still managed to somehow pay its staff £985million in bonuses! How can a loss-making company possibly justify giving its staff bonuses? RBS Chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, says that it's because the bank needs to be run on "commercial grounds" - last time that happened you and I had to bail it out.
Where has Cameron's dream of responsible capitalism disappeared to in all this? Whatever happened to "not rewarding failure"? Yet again the government has misjudged the public perception; either that or they simply couldn't care less about it. The public aren't anti-business, we're anti-corruption; anti-tax avoidance for multi-national corporations; anti-state support for private industries; anti-record profits for energy companies whilst millions live in fuel poverty; anti-million pound bonuses for 'top' bankers of loss-making, 82%-taxpayer owned banks; and anti-predatory businesses which are prepared to destroy an entire economy to make a quick buck.
Cameron is right to say that business can be a "powerful force for social progress" and that an individual enterprise can act as a moral entity, but this doesn't mean that they don't need government oversight and regulation. Following today's remarks it seems that pursuing this course is as far from Cameron's mind as it has ever been. Sadly, Labour's deafening silence and the Liberal Democrats' complicity on the issue can only lead us to believe that the country's other main parties don't intend to take it up either.Suggest a correction