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.