Our country needs those who aren’t afraid to take risks

Entrepreneur and columnist Stephen Fear sets out why he believes the next government must value the role entrepreneurs play in the success of the economy of the region and wider UK

As we approach the UK general election it is obvious that possibly for the first time ever, most, if not all, of the main political parties accept that the creation of wealth through free enterprise is the only real way towards general prosperity. Entrepreneurs are, by nature, calculated risk takers. They are the people upon who society relies to create new businesses, which will hopefully go on to employ people who prefer the relative safety of, as my Dad used to call it, “a proper job.”

I remember one day when he was in his 70s I collected him from his one-bed council flat in Bristol so that I could take him to the doctors.

I was in my 20s and had just bought my first Bentley so I was quite proud of it.

My Dad knew nothing about cars; he had never had a driving licence or owned a car. As we pulled away he was struck by the smell of leather and sight of burr walnut and commented about it. He was a French polisher before he retired and so he appreciated the wood.

We moved along the road in utter silence which was only broken when my Dad said “Nice car, very quiet, but I still don’t know why you don’t get a proper job like Mrs Oosits son? Mrs Oosit was basically a term used at the time to address anyone on our estate when you couldn’t remember their correct name.

I tried to explain that I had a proper job, and that I actually employed a lot of people, but he was a simple man who never understood business, or what I did for a living. Sadly he died not long after but I believe he did eventually understand. I hope that he was as proud of me in the end as I was of him.

My dad never shirked work, and hated being ill. He was also absolutely honest and what you might call an upright citizen. Incidentally both he and my mother always voted Labour, until Maggie Thatcher appeared.

They, like so many other working people changed their allegiance to the Tories simply because they were fed up with the unions and saw her as a powerful leader who was strong on immigration and law and order.

Ed Miliband might do well to think hard about his manifesto in that regard. Ukip might not only take Tory votes when it comes to voting day! It is without doubt the working classes who fear immigration the most.

Personally I think measured immigration is a good thing. It creates a more cosmopolitan population and brings new ideas and concepts with it.

I am a traditionalist at heart and love Britain but who would deny that the Indian restaurants we all visit so often, or the specialist delicatessens and Italian coffee shops, have done anything but improved our society.

These immigrants have been brilliant entrepreneurs. They have created thousands of jobs within our society. Jobs that help British families of every ethnicity to keep their families clothed and fed. Very few choose a life on benefit street in my experience.

In my opinion it should be more about making the poor richer, rather than seeking ways of making the rich poorer. Without Bentley cars being made in Crewe many families there would lose their primary source of income.

Without wealthy buyers there would be no point making them! The same applies to families in Poole in Dorset where the luxury yacht maker, Sunseeker, is based.

Napoleon once said that “Britain is a Nation of Shopkeepers” well General Bonaparte I disagree!

We’re undoubtedly a nation of entrepreneurs and inventors. It was a Briton who created the telephone. It was a Briton who invented the postage stamp, it was a Briton who invented the worldwide web, it was a Briton who invented the magnifying glass and it was a Briton who won Wimbledon in 2013.

Entrepreneurs take risks by nature. but I believe that in an advanced democratic society we must make sure inexperienced people do not take ‘reckless risks’ which is why I would restrict borrowing against the principal family home, particularly when children are involved. I’m not advocating no borrowing, only that a common sense position must be assumed so that families are in less danger of losing their home should the business fail.

The family home is something special. It is the sanctuary we all need in a sometimes chaotic world.

Losing it due to a miscalculated business venture creates misery for the family and puts pressure on the system too.

Better business education is one way to protect against poor decision making which is why I hope the next government whoever they are, will increase the provision of business education in schools, colleges and universities.

Whoever forms the next government will get my total support. My interest is in what’s best for Britain, not what’s best for any particular political party.

They will have been elected by the people, who have voted in the world’s longest existing democracy. We should all respect that and get behind them to make Britain truly great again.

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