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. There's no limit to learning and most of it takes place after 'education'. Apart from the'3 rs' what does that tell you about education?    

I believe in leadership and team spirit. 1 plus 1 is greater than 2.  

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

Twenty-five-plus years of working around the world - and the many examples of individual progression I've met from all cultures - convince me this is true. Permit the right environment and amazing things happen.     

Anything else?

We in Britain are brilliant manufacturers and innovators, but 'trade’ is still a dirty word. Governments care about it 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 non-contributing shareholders too often deprive businesses of long-term investment. This benefits the minority at the expense of those who work and create wealth and prosperity for our families and our country.  

Five per cent of our working population are in manufacturing, which accounts for ten per cent of the UK's economic output.  This is a greater impact per person than the financial services sector.  Who says we don't make things? Where do the creative strengths of our country really lie?  

Any other beefs?

Brexit - the biggest domestic political waste of time of my lifetime. We are a laughing stock to others and an embarrassment to ourselves. It will fizzle out.  

And?

The Labour Party's anti-Semitism and conflation of Israel with the Nazis. Get real Corbyn! When did you see Israelis herding naked Palestinians into gas chambers?  

And and?

Political correctness - life isn't politically correct, get over it. As a writer, I admire Lionel Shriver.

Left-field question #1.  We understand you play the electric guitar. 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.  We understand you are a runner.  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 - he was a pompous piece of work.      

What have you learned most recently?

I'm involved in relaunching Swindens work holders. We're a UK-based manufacturing business founded in 1928.  I call us the oldest start up in the UK.  After nearly two years of sweat and no money we're going places.  

Just don't call them vices - when you google that you get something bad for our brand. 

Finally, 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...