It was my privilege to be invited to attend a 2030 Vision for the Cambridge sub region debate to discuss business and retailing. This was a serious group of people from business, universities and politics.
I was one of the four speakers and my subject was “politics and Business”. At the start everyone spent 2 minutes introducing themselves and giving a single idea of a vision for 2030. Interestingly, almost everyone talked about infrastructure and working more closely with the public sector.
My speech focused on joint working between the public and private sector, thinking in innovative ways, seeking to raise funding for infrastructure locally and providing civic leadership. Interestingly, most people in the room felt that strong civic leadership was essential. Yet I was the only politician there.
As always my carefully crafted speech servived about 10 words before I was off script. I feel passionately about business and I guess that came through. No business, no money, no tax, no services.
One of my comments really hit the spot. I was explaining that I am under constant criticism from my Liberal Democrat opposition for trying to run the council like a business. I am told “it is not a business”. My reply was that I intend seeking business efficiencies, sharp and focused decision making, value for money and meeting the needs of the people of Cambridgeshire (customers). That sounds like running a business to me. Support for me from the 29 in the room was overwhelming.
I will be judged on the output for the people of Cambridgeshire and not on how many hours we spend on internal process. Democracy is good but is not an end in it’s self. I want to spend £99 out of every £100 on services and £1 on process not the other way round.