Great Britain PLC

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Should we be hiring a PM or MD to run our country? When money seems to be the key figure over dispute in the UK, wouldn’t it be better to hand it over to someone that has come from nothing, than someone who has had it handed to them all their life?

These days it’s more or less impossible to talk about politics without discussing economics. The recent global recession has affected our every day lives as the government tackle budget issues. Whether you’re in favour of the current government or not, it has to be said that balancing the books on the UK is no easy task.

But what if we treated the UK more like a business? If money is one of the larger issues with this country then maybe looking at the budgets like a Managing Director might have its advantages? Economists often discuss the relativity between happiness and GDP, the greater the GDP of a country,  the greater the happiness of its population. So if we can grow our GDP, can we grow our happiness?

The issue with GDP is that as a top line measurement it doesn’t really reflect the true financial position of a country, and does it have a real correlation with our happiness? Robert F Kennedy once said GDP measures “everything except that which makes life worthwhile”.

GDP measures market transaction and doesn’t really take into account things like social costs. If we ran the country like a business, this would be us focusing on generating as much top line revenue as possible but not worrying about the ROI on the money we put out, effectively not considering profitability as a factor. An MD that ran a company like that would soon find themselves at the wrong end of some tough questions, so why do we allow our countries to be ran in a similar way? GDP will have its time and the UN are already firmly in favour of changing this measurement as soon as 2015, but it will undoubtedly be a long, arduous process.

So let’s return to thinking about the country as a business and take some basic business fundamentals that we  implement when things aren’t going to plan. When a business begins to wobble and and profits aren’t where they need to be, or worse the company is going into debt, the management team take actions to dispose of any luxuries and ensure that the business is as streamlined as is possible (I of course understand that this is really only a theory applicable to those outside of the banking industry, who just do what they want).

A business will look at how much everything is costing them and then remove anything that is not providing a clear return on investment. This includes personnel, suppliers, lines of revenue, anyone  and anything that is not pulling their weight or providing a valuable service is removed. This leaves the business in the most profitable form it can be. Going back to the GDP measurement, if our country did this GDP would drop and the panic would begin, where actually celebrations should begin. With this extra money, social impacts could be much greater and actually contribute to the happiness of our society.

There is no doubt that we now find our country with its back against the wall, closing its eyes, swinging its fists and hoping to get a lucky punch in somewhere along the way. The current government has been criticised for its use of the term “we are all in this together” and rightly so. Selfishness is by far in a way the cause of the issues we have. Selfishness at the top of the earners who refuse to give up the luxuries to support their country and at the bottom end people that take and give nothing back, when they have the opportunity to do so.

If the government really want to change the current financial position of the country then they have to start acting more like a business and start demanding more return on investment from the people they support. They need to further their support to allow people to create their own wealth and have the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them.

We can no longer afford the luxuries and the government need to streamline this country at the top and at the bottom. Allow the people stuck in the middle the opportunity to take control of their situations and actually have a country and a government they want to believe in.

If it was possible then I think my vote for a PM would go to Sir Richard Branson, who sees opportunity wherever he goes, a humanitarian that believes in helping others but knows how to get things done. Sir Richard’s story is as colourful as it gets; including forcing his parents to surety their house for bail. Could the answer to the country’s ongoing financial issues be solved by someone with a true entrepreneurial flash in their personality. I believe it would be worth exploring.

I think the start of this should be the government coming clean about where the money goes. We all see the lovely info graphic from the Guardian telling us how the government spends our money, but is that really where it goes?

A friend of mine questioned “why are we supporting India and China with aid, while they build a space program?”. This is worth debating in an entirely different article; and no doubt I will, but for any business it has to be very clear where every penny goes and the transactions are public record.

There are then independent audits of these companies to ensure there has been no errors or illegal activity. Should the government spend come under the same scrutiny? Real detail of where exactly our money goes and why? Would we as a population be able to handle the truth about the undoubted back door political issues that we never get told about?

For true reform, true transparency is required. The British political system is not working when 40% of people aren’t voting so we need a change, and a drastic one. Maybe coming clean with what’s going on and letting someone with a business head, not a selfish mind, take the lead might be the answer. Maybe they can make Britain, Great again

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