Sunday, September 21, 2008

Alan Sugar: That Was Then And This Is Now

Reading Alan Sugar's remarks (made by videolink) opening the Labour Conference yesterday, I was reminded of the old ABC song THAT WAS THEN BUT THIS IS NOW. It contained a paen of praise to the Prime Minister. If you have the stomach for it, you can read it HERE.
One thing we can all agree on that Gordon was the best Chancellor of the Exchequer this country saw for many years. Who better to be in place when we have an economic problem than him? And dare I say to those that are not happy: Get Out. Have the balls to get out. And those of you who are left: Get behind the Prime Minister in the times ahead of us.

Is this the same Alan Sugar who wrote a letter to the Financial Times on 19 March 1992?

Sir, I have noted with disgust the comments of a certain Mr Gordon Brown who has accused me of doing well out of the recession after reading the letter published in The Times from 40 top industrialists.

I do not know who Mr Gordon Brown is. Excuse my ignorance, but I don't. Whoever he is (shadow trade and industry secretary), he has not done his homework properly. The man doesn't know what he's talking about. How he has the audacity to say that Amstrad, or Alan Sugar, has flourished in recession is a complete mystery to me.

The reason Labour flourished many years ago was the 'them and us' situation that prevailed in England. There were the rich and there were the poor. At that stage maybe I would have sympathised with the need for a Labour government. But that's all been changed now. Look around. Yes, there are the very poor and more should be done for them. But almost everybody's got a microwave oven, a car and a colour television - maybe more than one colour television in their homes. Let's be honest with each other. 'Them and us' doesn't exist any more, as I have demonstrated.

I have been able to come from the working class, achieve what I set out to achieve and not be suppressed by anybody. Likewise, in the stock market today there are bright young men with a Cockney accent doing deals and buying and selling shares. It's not just the Heskett-Smythes mob that are doing it. Anybody can do it.

The government has made mistakes; nobody's perfect. To be sure, somebody took his eye off the ball. Now the belt has been tightened and there have been casualties. But it is not just the poor unemployed factory worker from the Midlands who is being thrown out of work. So are the merchant bankers, the stockbrokers and the estate agents.

Labour offers no sort of route out of recession. It's out of date and - as Brown's remark shows - it hasn't done its homework.

Well that told him! What a difference 16 years (and a Knighthood) makes.


Anonymous said...

Brown......your fired....

It will happen...just have faith peeps..

David Boothroyd said...

Alan Sugar supported Labour in the 1997 election, and he quite quickly made a link with Gordon Brown. On 20 May 1997 - that's less than three weeks into the Labour government - Brown appointed him to lead an initiative speaking to young people about business. For good measure Brown said that Sugar would bring "his wealth of experience and knowledge to offer to our next generation of entrepreneurs".

So you see it was Gordon Brown who had the idea for the apprentice and also identified its star. Whereas David Cameron's contribution was to help Norman Lamont try to spin away Black Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Caroline Flint, speaking at the Progress Rally, said:

"Sky's toptrumps only value my memoirs at £39500. Well, they obviously haven't seen my email inbox."

Whatever can she mean by that?

Anonymous said...

Sugar is sooooooooo manouvering for the London (labour Party) Mayoral candidacy 2012. I have news for him though. Mr Livingstone and the "GLA in exile" as insiders like to call Mr L's old team have other plans for who should that candidacy and it isn't Sir Alan! Has anyone listened to Ken on LBC on Saturdays? Serious campaigning to the masses at its very finest! Can't wait for 2012 when Ken boots Bojo back to Henley or some other no mark place far, far away from London City Hall!

Anonymous said...

16 yrs is a hell of a time and I can understand that someone might change their mind.

I voted Labour in 1997. Within months a local council election had me in a debacle with NL and so insulted by their local activists that I swore I would never vote Labour again. Still stands and I joined the Tories earlier this year. (Ten years gave me more reason to say I'd never ever vote for them again in my lifetime.)

So, I say, let Sugar off here. He wrote what he did at the time, based on his experiences at the time. He's a successful businessman, no doubt, but his appearances on The Apprentice provide some indication as to his memory. (The wonderful Margaret and Nick serve him well in relaying the observations of "like it is".)

What can we expect of NL? They came in with crappy pop music (to which they danced in a crap fashion - go on, get them on Strictly Come Dancing to see them implode) and a Britannia party at No. 10 that had the then celebs lining up and looking smug. Now, at the start of this year's fiasco - sorry, conference - we have Sugar on a U turn and, just in case you missed it: J K Rowling devoting £1m to the NL coffers for the work they have done on child poverty. Her money would have been better spent on a donation to a charity that focused its objectives on child poverty, and I am not the first to say so.

Oh we live in uncertain times. The economy is reeling and it's also time to get to basics. Push the money where it's needed and forget the politics. JKR provided a positive PR note for Gordon and the gang and nothing else.

What a sad affair!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a story. Sugar didn't like him 16 years ago, but was taken by New Labour. He must be unique...

Anonymous said...

Problem is Iain, the more you deride these inspirational, self made, rich, well known and popular people who support Labour, the more your anxiety is exposed.

Try to hold yourself together dear, I'm sure Dave will produce someone of equal calibre and more appealing than the old stalwarts Davidson and Stringfellow.

Iain Dale said...

Yeah, I'm frit, I am.

Anonymous said...

16 years is a long time in politics.

Anonymous said...

And Cameron will be just as happy as Gordon, to lick Sugar's backside.

I'm sorry Iain; Brown and the Labour Pary are a disaster for England, but Cameron will be far worse. Salmond will name his price and Cameron will double it. Surely our country is worth more than this?

Dr Blue said...

I have never understood why anyone wants to be Sir Alan's apprentice!

I think one thing we will all soon agree on is that Gordon Brown was a very poor chancellor who spent money the country did not have and so fuelled a debt funded false boom.

Where are the monetarists, and the ghost of Milton Friedman when we need them?

Anonymous said...

david boothroyd

Mate, if you want to go back to history why not try 'crisis, what crisis?', or the winter of discontent when comrade trade union shop stewards left my neighbour, an old lady of 90 waiting at the hospital gate in an ambulance while
they were checking on a list of serious cases to determine whether they should let her in to the A and E. In this delay she died while waiting at the gate. Adding insult to injury, it took days to bury her thanks again to comrade trade unionists. These comrades are flexing the muscles again now. Shame on the Labour party and who support them.

You are fighting for a lost cause called bottler Brown.

Unsworth said...

"So you see it was Gordon Brown who had the idea for the apprentice and also identified its star. Whereas David Cameron's contribution was to help Norman Lamont try to spin away Black Wednesday"


Aerial Pork.

And you believe that Sugar wasn't intimate with Brown prior to 20 May 1997?

Unsworth said...



So you're a Pom Frit?