Speaking at the BCC’s annual conference on Thursday, Longworth dismissed Britain’s politicians as being so lacking in experience that the bulk of the job of running the country was left to the Civil Service.
Drawing an economic parallel with South Korea, he described South Korea as ‘not blessed with natural resources’ and ‘not part of a major political bloc like the EU’, but somehow still capable of rapid growth thanks to governments which have ‘put business front and centre stage in national policy’,
Of the UK, he said: ‘We, by contrast, have a political class in the tradition of the interested amateur, in many cases having little or no experience of business, and who have generally never run anything.
‘That ensures they are at the mercy of the Mandarins of the civil service – just like the Chinese emperors whose actions were constrained as they tried to rule from the original Forbidden City.’
He also criticised the government for denying the UK a long-term stock of natural resources thanks to a weak energy security policy, and said that the future could be ‘interesting’ where planning permission is concerned, ‘as we realise that the bulk of our natural gift of shale deposits are predicted not to be below the leaning tower of Blackpool,’ but mainly underneath the Home Counties instead.
An embarrassing indictment on British politicians just days before Osborne’s Budget announcement. Ouch.