New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
5 October 2015

Sajid Javid’s warning to bad businesses is another raid on Labour territory

In a Miliband-esque flourish, the business secretary declared: "Free enterprise is not a free-for-all". 

By George Eaton

Sajid Javid is perhaps the most vigorous champion of the free market in the current cabinet. The business secretary has a portrait of Margaret Thatcher on his office wall (David Cameron preferred the centrist Harold Macmillan) and is an unashamed admirer of libertarian heroine Ayn Rand.

In his speech to the Conservative conference, the potential leadership candidate, sounded plenty of traditional notes. He derided governments for “sidelining and marginalising business” over the last 20 years, “including five years of Vince Cable”. But Javid’s address also contained a striking warning to companies. “I am shamelessly pro-business,” he said. “But, being pro-business does not mean that you turn a blind eye to bad practice. Whether you’re a bank rigging interest rates, a car manufacturer cheating on emissions, or a company not paying your fair share of tax. Be warned: we will come after you. Because free enterprise is not a free-for-all.” Javid’s rebuke showed a recognition that popular support for capitalism will only be sustained if malpractice is addressed. The Conservatives’ ambition is to claim this political territory for themselves, further marginalising Labour. The party of capitalism is framing itself as the only party capable of reforming it. 

The other notable feature of Javid’s speech was his lukewarm support for the EU. “Our message could not be clearer. We will re-negotiate and give the British people the right to decide,” he said. That formulation leaves plenty of room for the eurosceptic Javid to back withdrawal. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy