Junk economics

If you’ve ever complained that MPs don’t understand industry, why not get behind Ken Stanley, the MD of Bighead Bonding Fasteners. He has become so disenchanted that he has sent this open letter to 658 MPs.

`Although MPs talk constantly about hard choices, value-for-money, wealth creation, product innovation, economic prudence – no cliche ever seems to get so old it cannot be recycled – they do nothing to switch off the supply of billions of tax payers money – my money – which goes into the CAP (common agricultural policy) every year, a mad scheme which should have been wound up 20 years ago.

I’m in the invention business, a high risk life style for which I volunteered. I need all the cash I can get to expand my company. Contrary to what farmers believe I do not owe them a living in an industry for which they, too, volunteered. If competition is right for me then it is right for them.


The last government had 18 uninterrupted years in which to stop the CAP racket but did nothing. Cynics might suspect collusion among MPs with landed interests, agribusiness connections, the NFU, the MAFF et al. The present one talks big, pleads poverty when social funding is needed, but likewise does nothing about the CAP.

Theoretically MPs represent all their constituents. If only. The sad fact is that few MPs have any first hand experience of manufacturing. They’ve got a gap in their knowledge as to how real wealth is created even though manufacturers account for 24% of the UK’s GNP. But don’t despair: salvation is at hand. If you are one of them and have a guilt gap just follow this simple three-stage route to complete redemption:-

Firstly, without even getting out of your chair, just open this Bighead sales pack and read about one small company’s contribution to the country’s balance of payments. I invented a simple fastener, the Bighead, which now forms the basis of a complete fastening system used throughout the plastics industry in 20 countries. Last year alone 18 of us made and sold £2million of Bigheads and the business is expanding by 24% annually. This is real wealth creation. We add value, the cap deducts it. We do not get `set aside’. If we overproduce we go broke.

Secondly, cadge a lift in an official car and visit your friendly neighbourhood industrial estate. Knock on doors – preferably unannounced. Talk to other entrepreneurs, engineers, sales staff and industrial designers. The UK is stuffed with original talent. Find out how they help to pay your salary. Their first reaction to your visit will be one of utter astonishment: In 40 years spent as an inventor on four industrial estates I have never seen an MP in a factory. More sobering still I’ve never met anyone who has. Those green benches in the House of Commons must be very comfortable indeed.

But thirdly, and best of all, bring your bucket and spade and visit Bighead Bonding Fasteners in Bournemouth. You’d learn more about the importance of manufacturing in two hours tan you could cull from a week spent in the Commons library.

Any takers? I cannot offer smoke filled rooms but I can run to beer and sandwiches.’