Manifesto? Must I?

Added by Chris Pateman | Tuesday 14th April 2015

They still don’t get it.

Well, OK, let’s not judge too soon:  Nigel Farage and his colleagues see a lot of things differently to the Westminster elite – it is still just possible that when the UKIP manifesto finally sees the light of day, it will cast business communications in the correct perspective.

So far, though, only the Scottish National Party have used language in their manifesto to suggest they really understand the causal link between high quality comms and business prosperity.  All the others lump it in as the poor relation to other boys toys ‘infrastructure’ projects like railways and runways, and point to noble and rather woolly aspirations of high speed broadband for all and fewer mobile not-spots. 

No.  It’s really not about high speed broadband for all.  It’s not even, really, about high speed broadband at all. 

What it’s about is business. 

Business and comms are still differentiated in the minds of most policy-makers.  They still see ‘communications’ as ‘broadband’.  And they see ‘broadband’ as that stuff that gets their photos in the local paper every time the BT PR machine tees up another rural community in their constituency with fibre to the cabinet.  Or, on a national level, as that stuff Ed Vaizey’s department have been feeding them all that encouraging ‘best in the world’ info about for the last four years.

As a result, they write manifestos against existing ministerial briefs.  I suppose we should be glad to see comms stripped out from theatre, sport and film-making.  But in truth, that’s less because anyone cares about the critical function of UK communications infrastructure than because most manifesto-writers wanted to have theatre, sport and film-making in a little light-relief slot all of their own -- show the voters they care about British ‘culture’.

Well, let’s say it again, if only for the record:  no comms, no business.  If politicians want British businesses to compete (they don’t;  they want us to lead! ) on world markets, they need to understand British businesses need to be able to contact world markets.  If you want British businesses to be flexible, agile, high tech and forward-looking powerhouses of creative genius, you need to give them connectivity at least as good as their rivals in Europe and across the world.

This is not a ‘nice to have’ to keep the telecoms industry in business.  This is the means by which the prosperity will be created so all those other manifesto promises can come to fruition.

Come on Nigel:  looks like they’ve given us the choice of rooting for you or an SNP coalition!