There have always been those who have thought that John Redwood has come down to us from Mars, such is the dryness of his conservatism and his apparent lack of understanding that there are poor and vulnerable amongst us. I had always assumed that he just thought that people should take care of themselves and that, with enough effort, they too could be securely middle-class. A lack of empathy, if you like, but given the nature of his constituency, Wokingham, it was hardly going to cost him his seat.
But the revelation that he has warned companies about the perils of comment on the United Kingdom's future in Europe, especially in terms of supporting the retention of our membership of the European Union, is a sign that, yet again, when it comes to the notion of freedom, too many Conservatives take a conditional approach to it, i.e. you have the freedom to do anything they approve of.
The only answer for all concerned is for big business to keep out and not express a corporate view.and added:
If they don’t understand that now they will find those of us organising the ‘get out’ campaign will then make life difficult for them by making sure that their customers, their employees and their shareholders who disagree with them – and there will be a lot who disagree with them – will be expressing their views very forcefully and will be destabilising their corporate governance.
One notes his apparent assumption that big business will be predominantly in favour of staying in the European Union.
Now I am as wary of the voice of big business having undue influence on our body politic as anyone - I support campaign finance limits as one way of preventing a minority of voices dominating the way our nation is run - but the sort of ugly threat that John Redwood advocates is counter-productive (he would be the first to complain if they invested elsewhere due to the instability he promotes) and fundamentally anti-democratic.
Funny really, for, as he said on his own blog just over a year ago;
Democratic politics cannot survive without lots of good and well informed lobbying. Another way of describing that is “democratic debate”.Change your mind, Mr Redwood?...