My superficial historical knowledge helps me to understand why the Labour Party has very strong connections with many Trade Unions. However I recall how in the 1970’s and 1980’s the Conservative Party, quite legitimately demanded that people who were members of Trade Unions must not be forced to treat their membership of a Union also ties them to the Labour Party. The challenge of course for the Conservatives is that they are funded and supported extensively by wealthy people who run big businesses and indeed in some cases the businesses themselves. However they are also keen to get support from small businesses and have a tendency to claim their position is unique. A few days Chris Grayling, a Government Minister stated “The Government are told time and again that we should contract and work with small business, and help small businesses to develop, but when we do so, we get nothing but a wall of criticism from Opposition Members.”
It is as if the Tories are obsessed with trying to win over and then dominate the SME business sector in a way that they argued that the Labour Party used to dominate the trade union sector a few years ago. Nusrat Ghani would be doing a great job as an MP and transport Minister to invite the businesses from her constituency to meet with one of her fellow Ministers such as Greg Clark who is responsible for the Business Department (BEIS), providing of course she did so on neutral terms. Sadly she refused to attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting in the same geographical area scheduled to take place a week earlier but that in itself is not the problem. However to hold the meeting sponsored by other businesses under the label of the Wealden Conservative Party identity and send a covering letter from her Political office places the people who are invited in a compromised position and the business owners who either have conflicting political views or who believe that party politics is not something they will associate with in a very difficult position, particularly if they wish to meet Greg to challenge his policy approach. Nus and her neighbour Greg may well see this event as a way of consulting with businesses, however in reality what they are doing is inviting businesses to come under their party umbrella and that is the very opposite of what is needed right now.