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It has been a turbulent year across business and politics, so it was no surprise when I heard that Ipsos Mori’s annual ranking of the most and least trusted professions had pitched politicians as bottom of the list.
I find it appalling that in 2018, a year that is no doubt a seminal moment for the UK politically, that we don’t trust the very people responsible for running our country and making decisions that have an effect on every aspect of our lives.
This begs the question: is there a group of people better for the job? I have pondered this question endlessly and I revert back to the same conclusion – I honestly believe that today’s business leaders have a place in politics. I believe this for a myriad of reasons but at the core is the experience and insight that operating at the highest levels of business gives you.
Any business leader worth their salt will follow politics and current affairs closely as the decisions being made at the seat of power naturally impact the future success of any business. Whilst following politics and current affairs alone is not enough, political awareness and first-hand awareness of how political rhetoric actually impacts the workforce could be an invaluable skill in a leader. However, in isolation this quality may not assure the public that their leadership was anymore trustworthy.
One string to their bow that many (not all) businesses have is the fact that modern companies and enterprises are built with an element of integrity and fairness in their ethos. From the Silicon Roundabout to the Square Mile, being ethical, fair and transparent has never been more fashionable or expected for customers, investors and board directors alike.
But what about Trump? At first glance you would be right. His brash, belligerent attitudes and policies are doing everything but appealing to young voters, a demographic he should want to impress and gain the trust of. However, I believe there are still lessons to be learnt from Trump and his position of power. Trump is proof that by the time business leaders are bored enough with business to consider a political career, they are too old and long in the tooth to truly relate to the needs and wants of an ever-changing society.
It is a pretty similar situation here in the UK. The current political instability around Brexit and what it means for the country is causing uncertainty for businesses and back stabbing within both parties. Theresa May faced a vote of no confidence from her own party, which she won, but not without 100 MP’s voting against her. Meanwhile, the only business leaders speaking openly about politics are Charlie Mullins from Pimlico Plumbers and Sir Alan Sugar – hardly the examples of the political revolution needed to appeal to the masses.
Young voters are disillusioned and it does not help that politics is perceived as being an elitist, untrustworthy career that relies on nepotism or a hobby for rich old businessmen.
What can we do to make a difference? I think we really need to break the old boys club image that politics has, so it feels like an accessible career option for the general public. I hope that current world events and leadership are stirring a younger generation to say, “surely I could do a better job”, so they feel engaged enough to take on changing the world through politics as a starting career. If we can show the young people of today that they are the leaders of tomorrow, we will get greater and more relevant interest from people at a younger age. Who knows, maybe in a generation or so politicians may move up the list of trusted professions.
December 13, 2018 at 07:01PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs