For many delegates at the CBI Conference in Harrogate, the main complaint was the failure of Britain's politicians to provide leadership in almost every field. But perhaps there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Chris Patten's speech showed how the commercial lessons learnt during his years as Governor of Hong Kong have given him a coherent vision of how Britain can best compete in the global economy. A few snippets: high tax rates and high social security spending are a sure way to restrict a country's growth, its competitiveness and ultimately the quality of life of its people; attempts to link trade with politics are doomed; Britain must be at the core of Europe if it wants to continue to attract foreign capital; Asian enthusiasm to invest in Britain is matched by an enthusiasm for doing business with the British in Asia. British industrialists who are fed up with the absence of commercial vision in British politics should look forward as keenly as the Republic of China to Patten's return home.
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