Author Archives: Guy Benson

Support Hong Kong. Boycott HSBC and First Direct.

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A few days ago, June 4th, marked the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. It also marked the day that HSBC would announce the disappointing news that they were standing with China in support of its new “security” law.

It would be naive to think that the bank, which in its advertising has described itself as a “global citizen” actually cares about the citizens of Hong Kong. However by doing this they are making the assumption that you also do not care about the citizens of Hong Kong. Or, at the very least, you do not care about it enough to close any accounts you have with them.

With eight million customers in the UK, across their First Direct and HSBC brands, I’m not going to pretend that a few committed activists shutting their accounts will cause them to row back on their policy, but, that being said, I for one am also not content with sitting and doing nothing. I cannot “support” a business with my custom which chooses to favour a totalitarian state that quashes free speech and backs a law which has led to sustained protests in Hong Kong.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 6 Comments

We must embrace being the party of business

The next election gives us a real opportunity. Brexit is shattering traditional party loyalties and both tired, old-parties are rapidly shifting towards polarising extremes, alienating swathes of their traditional support base.  

Given this, the Liberal Democrats are increasingly able to offer a political lifeboat to those who believe in sensible and evidence-based, rather than ideological-based policies.

One group that is ripe for the taking in the current climate, is the business community. 

Traditionally, business has strongly supported the Conservatives. However Brexit, combined with the lurch to the right of the Conservatives under Boris Johnson, means increasingly business feels alienated from what once they may have considered their “natural home”. 

It’s not all about Brexit either, with the divergent views of business over their support for HS2 and opposition to discriminatory migration proposals, it is clear there is a growing rift between the current Conservative leadership and the business community. This, combined with our pro-EU, internationalist outlook, means that businesses alignment with our policy goals and values is much more of a natural fit than continued alignment with an increasingly isolationist Conservative Party. 

Under Jeremy Corbyn, with policies that resemble a 1970’s socialist, the Labour Party cannot and will not offer any form of a home for business. Indeed, at a business industry fringe at their conference in Brighton, it took Corbyn twenty minutes of his speech, before he even mentioned the word “business”. The current Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, does not perform much better, and appears unreceptive to the idea that business and the private-sector must be part of the solution and not simply a problem. Given this, it seems likely that allies that Labour may once have had in business and industry, are likely to be dropping away even more rapidly than their Conservative counterparts.  

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 29 Comments
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