Saturday, 1 May 2010

Candidates from a broad range of backgrounds.

It lies beyond the usual web sources upon which this blog draws, but this is an interesting article about the credentials of the main contenders for seats in the general election in Northern Ireland. It is from the blog of a high end recruitment company which specialises in ‘executive search and development’.

The author looks at the career profiles of each of the candidates and picks up on an apparent lack of contenders with a background in business. The insinuation is that the list should be top heavy with business CVs, because businessmen are best placed to get our economy working.

It is an important and valid point which is being made, although I would argue that it is being made too narrowly. We do need more business professionals to become involved in politics. We also need more people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

In fact, if we look beyond the confines of this list of favourites and its two word CVs, to consider the backgrounds of the Conservatives and Unionists candidates, the spread is rather impressive. There are people with extensive skills in business, media and the voluntary sector.

In fact there a rich vein of experience which has been left off this list. Mike Nesbitt is a media professional, but he was also Managing Director of a PR company. Harry Hamilton may be an entertainer, but his day job is business development manager. Ian Parsley is another business owner, not just a ’political activist’.

Sir Reg Empey, Irwin Armstrong and Bill Manwaring are other candidates with business backgrounds. There are also hopefuls who bring different interests to the mix, including professionals from veterinary and the law. It is a fresh list which avoids the narrow skills base characteristic of Northern Ireland politics.


slug said...

I was very glad Irwin Armstrong took up Paisley Junior's dismissal of North Antrim in the UTV debate as a backward constituency before his father took up representation.

How insulting from the man who never lived here.

What did Paisley representation do for North Antrim?

Before Paisley - Ballymena promised the new hospital in 1970 plan. But today - hospital is built in Antrim.

Before Paisley - Ballymena to be connected by the M2 motorway. But today the M2 gets as far as Antrim, never to get to Ballymena.

Paisley never did anything to improve the rail service. The towns social and drug problems were under Paisley's watch.

ALL the big employers - Michelin and Gallaher - came BEFORE Paisley. None after Paisley. Wrightbus success was not helped by Paisley.

Paisley Junior's claims that Ballymena was backward before Paisley and improved after Paisley does not stand up to scrutiny.

Irwin Armstrong was right to pick Paisley Junior up on this point - based on the above I would say Paisley was not a good MP for the area.

K D Tennent said...

I agree that this writer takes a very narrow view. I for instance work for a high profile business school, yet have precious little direct business experience. This is a policy area that you can learn about, just like education, defence or law and order, but few politicians seem to bother with it. I don't know the score in NI, but on the evidence of Thursday's debate the 'candidates for PM' have little understanding of how the economy works, and what could realistically be achieved. Both Cameron and Clegg seem to have unrealistic ideas about ending imports from China, for instance. Even if you believe in the free market, as I do, then you have to understand how the free market works, where growth will come from, and how government can nudge it in the right direction. NI clearly has the biggest challenge here, as a region distant from markets and with a culture of rent seeking which discourages free enterprise, so one hopes NI politicians do as much homework as possible on entrepreneurship and encouraging local growth - but I would agree the present crop seem unlikely to have done enough (even those that have business experience).

Sorry to babble, but I really believe this is an important election issue missed by the media.

Anonymous said...

You should have a closer look at Mr. Parsley's "business". It looks like little more than a tax avoidance scheme to channel salaries from political activities.

delerium said...

White, middle-class and Protestant...truly a wide range of candidates at UCUNF's disposal there alright.

Chekov said...

Fred Cobain is black and proud.

Chekov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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