Business: Hare Got It Wrong

Article excerpt

David Hare's stock-in-trade is attacking the powerful, which is a safe, lucrative endeavour in a liberal democracy like ours. He is a propagandist--one of the best I've seen--and in the Christmas edition of this magazine he added the outgoing CBI chief, Sir Digby Jones, to a list of targets that in the past has included Tony Blair, George W Bush and Rupert Murdoch.

Funnily enough, I find myself drawn to Hare's work. I have compilations of his essays on my bookshelves--though many annoy me intensely--and I sat through Stuff Happens on the opening night, though on occasion I thought it simplistic. I guess I was supposed to get angry: I edited for Murdoch; some of Hare's targets are personal friends. He wants people like me annoyed.

I hold no brief for Digby but I think Hare's attack on British business deserves rebuttal. This country has a talent for business as it has a talent for producing writers and artists, yet celebrating the success of our business class is so unfashionable that it is almost socially unacceptable.

I won't reprise the rant in full, but Hare called Jones "the most egregious example of what you might call the whingeing capitalist", suggested that CBI members had made "ludicrously large personal fortunes" under new Labour, and concluded: "It's ignoble to spend your life defending the strong against the weak, but it's more ignoble to make a living pretending the strong are hard done by."

Is the CBI "fabulously rich"? No. It is an underfunded trade body. …