I’m at that funny age of 58, where I’ve still got lots to learn, but know too much. I know when somebody is talking a load of baloney. I think that I first acquired the skill at the age of about 52. After years of attending endless, dreary business meetings and enduring hundreds of mind-numbing presentations, I seem to have grown an invisible aerial perched on top of my head which can instantly detect insincerity – and an atomic level of bullshit.

The invisible aerial is infallible; your feedback is welcome (which means, don’t call us again)… thank you for your custom (who are you?)… we’ll make this a high priority (It doesn’t happen).

I was listening to the radio this morning when some Government bod was banging on about championing the cause of small and medium businesses (or SME’s as the uber-cool politician called them). The aerial sparked into life and told me that the nearest the Minister had ever got to a small business was when his mummy potty trained him.

Should I ignore what I was hearing, switch off the radio, or ‘go off on one’ as my kids call it?

May I please go off on one? Come boys, who are you kidding? How many of the present Cabinet have actually been involved in a small business enterprise – actually worked in a small business? Come to that, how many of the previous Government’s Cabinet have worked in a small business? My invisible antenna says the answer is very few if any on both counts.


The contribution that small and medium sized businesses make to the economy is massive; of 4.8m UK businesses, less than 1% are large corporations (i.e. over 250 employees). This is what the Government should do:-

1.      Appoint a Small Business Supremo to the Cabinet - someone who has a wealth of knowledge of the sector, eats padlocks and has rock-solid common sense.

2.      Zero rate Corporation Tax for every enterprise turning over less than £1 million.

3.      Zero rate VAT for every small business trading in deprived inner-city areas.

That’s it, rant over, aerial off and back to work!

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Sean Malone