The butcher, the baker, the… politician?

7 July 2011
Yesterday, the nation’s MPs began rolling up their sleeves to work for a small business as part of the coalition government’s efforts to help SMEs. Referred to as ‘business buddies’, our politicians have been encouraged in this worthy endeavour by the Forum of Private Business, whose members say they would like to see their elected representatives help small businesses in their local constituencies. I know it’s a good idea for politicians to get in touch with their grass roots to understand the needs of the common man and local businesses, but do these companies know what they’ve let themselves in for? The powers that be have been careful not to allow the communities secretary Eric Pickles near a pie shop. Instead, this meaty role goes to Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin. I think culture, media and sport minister Jeremy Hunt would be appropriately placed to help out at a local boxing gym. He mustn’t just help such businesses equip the young with the right sports skills. He may also need to pick up a few tips on how to handle himself to deal with those disgruntled citizens who failed to get tickets to watch the 2012 games. Despite the best intentions I doubt MPs will break the habit of a lifetime and put in a full day’s work. In fact, we already know the politicians will be spending just half a day with the company. But what of Dave? He has already tried to demonstrate his ability to carve and slice, trim the fat and, some might argue, cut things to the bone. How about sending him off to a local butcher in Witney to hone his skills? Where would you like your local MP to get some experience?
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