I naturally agree that Labour’s policies would be bad for business. Their energy price freeze policy threatens normal pricing behaviour, annoys the companies, creates investment uncertainties and now also ironically means dearer energy when world prices are falling.
Their policy of more intervention and taxation of financial services and banking hits an important UK revenue earner, following their disastrous period regulating the industry badly in the previous decade. They want higher Corporation tax which is never a crowd pleaser with big business, higher individual income tax, not popular with the higher paid, and often use anti business rhetoric. Labour regards business as either the source of social problems, or the agent that must be made to remedy social problems which others might think the government should fix.
I have no problem in a democracy with anyone with an interesting view expressing it. The Acting Chief Executive of Boots made some good points – and one or two points I do not agree with. That makes a political market. He has also illustrated exactly what I predicted when I explained to senior business people that if they used the name of the company they work for but do not own to make a highly political point, it will drag the company into politics and may result in reputational damage to that company.
The shareholders, other employees and customers of Boots may not like this. In what sense does the Acting Chief Executive speak for them? Is it wise to venture the company’s reputation in this way, when the Acting CEO does not know the views and voting intentions of all the other stakeholders in the company? By all means let’s hear from Mr Pessina as an individual with his anti Labour views, but let’s hear less from Boots. Labour now sees it as an opportunity to put the boot into Boots, as they are stung by the criticism. Neither Labour nor Boots will gain from these rows.