We started our 2012 events with a delicious luncheon at the Garden Hotel and yet again a few new faces graced the room.
First time attendee Tim Spencer of Bishopsgate Corporate Finance in Stamford introduced himself to the room and explained what the company did and what his political interests were.
Geoffrey Pointon opened the discussion with some views on the coalition. He felt that ‘things were only holding together because of the need to maintain the UK AAA rating.’ In his opinion ‘Clegg was more left than Ed Miliband whom he felt said a lot but did nothing.’ As the deficit decreased he said that ‘the cracks would begin to show and the coalition start to fail.’ He then spoke about Scottish devolution and felt that the issue was serious and needed dealing with sooner rather than later.
Michael Clayton said ‘David Cameron is correct to raise the subject and be proactive before it can happen. He felt that Salmon would probably bring on his own downfall. ‘
Geoffrey Pointon added ‘the by-product of this is the Balkanisation of Europe and how that is to be managed.’
Michael Clayton noted ‘Brussels say they have overreaching unity over it and it will survive but they forget the human element and that by his nature man is tribal and divisions will always occur.’
Geoffrey Pointon added ‘the real issue is Greece if you Balkanise it will cause all sorts of problems. In reality what does Europe do after this.’
David Brooks said ‘if Greece does leave the Euro but they make it a success on their own then what will happen?’
Geoffrey Pointon said ‘the EU are presiding over the reduction of debts by 50% but this may be even higher.’
Michael Clayton reminded the diners ‘that the past history of Greece was a little checkered.’
Tim Whorton added ‘that it wasn’t until the 70’s that they became a democracy.’
Geoffrey Pointon reminded all that ’ David Cameron had been very lucky with the Euro crisis and really only had the one choice that he made and as a consequence has gained popularity because of it. The trend he felt is for us to come out of Europe and that Alex Salmon would not be able to deliver a totally free Scotland so David will gain more ground as a result.’
Tim Whorton asked ‘is David Cameron being disingenuous when he says he wants to keep the Union?’
Geoffrey Pointon added ‘that David is keener than I am!’
Fuad Hamzeh advised that ‘Roger Helmer may not stand aside and may complete his term. He said the Rupert Matthews had been taken off the list and so was not able to take over the role as Roger expected. At the time of the election Rupert Mathews was second in the vote.’
Annabelle Meek added that ‘it was not democratic for this to happen. Those that voted should get to see their second choice take the position.’
Geoffrey Pointon noted ‘that a lot of local people had not renewed their party membership as they did not agree with central party decisions.’
Fuad Hamzeh agreed that ‘a lot of people join the party to enable them to have a vote when selecting the party leader and candidates.’ He felt that there seemed to be a number of conservatives showing sympathy with UKIP politics.’
Michael Clayton noted that ‘we must not widen the splits in the party over Europe. It causes the party too many problems.’
Geoffrey Pointon voiced his views on enabling small biz to grow without the pressure from regulations and taxes. He felt that ‘businesses under the VAT level should be deregulated to facilitate growth in the economy.’
Anner Fehnert said ‘it was unlikely that things would go backwards.’
David Brooks added that ’we should look at slightly larger companies employing 25-200 people when considering criteria for deregulation.’
Geoffrey Pointon agreed but pointed out that ‘start-up businesses grow into medium sized businesses and so we must start with deregulation at the grass roots.’
Tim Whorton felt that ‘the party is in danger of mismanaging a lot of policies for example Quango’s that were supposed to be abolished to save money but it’s costing more to abolish them than it was to run them.’
All agreed that the government needed to look at ways of encouraging growth in the small to medium business sector to promote much needed growth in the economy.