PHILOSOPHY

Why did you start this business after twenty years as a sole trader?

Because I was lonely. 

What have you learned?

However 'well-educated' I am, I'm not 'qualified' to do any of the things I do best. Most learning takes place after 'education'. Apart from the'3 rs', which are essential, what does that tell you?    

I believe 99% of us have the potential to progress far beyond our circumstances, but only 1% of us think we can. 

Anything else?

We in Britain are world-class manufacturers and innovators, but 'trade’ is still a dirty word. Governments care when it suits their purposes. 'Success' taught in business schools is building up a business as quickly as possible, ramping up ‘shareholder value’ in the City, selling out and retiring to affluent seclusion in the shires. A generation or two down the line, the descendants reap a bitter harvest.

The Germans are right and we are wrong. Flotation, hedge funds and private equity too often deprive businesses of long-term investment. This benefits the tiny minority at the expense of those who work and create wealth and prosperity for our families and our country.  

Any other beefs?

Life isn't politically correct, get over it. As writers, I admire Lionel Shriver and Camille Paglia.

Left-field question #1.  Who is/was the best electric guitarist you have never seen?

Roy Buchanan. Check out his live performance of Neil Young's 'Down by the River' on youtube.

Left-field question #2.  Who is/were your running heroes?

I used to run the mile quickly and now I run 10k slowly. My heroes are the Australians John Landy and Ron Clarke.  I never had much time for Roger Bannister - a pompous piece of work.      

Who are your business heroes?

Certainly not Tony Montana. On a serious note, I admire Jim Ratcliffe of INEOS - he saw off the Unite thugs who thought they had rights way beyond their responsibilities. His decision to relocate to Monaco however...

What is the worst business you have dealt with in the last week?

Vodafone, closely followed by Yodel.