As the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) keeps opposing Brexit, it’s worth looking at why the business lobby group is tainted.
Brexit Minister David Davis is today meeting top business leaders in an effort to deal with unrealistic demands from the CBI that the government delays indefinitely “departure from the Single Market and the Customs Union”.
Although the CBI claims to speak for over 190,000 UK businesses in its role advising and lobbying government, and is even incorporated by Royal Charter, it continually opposes Britain’s democratic decision of 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union.
Agreeing to stay in the single market and customs union whilst leaving the EU is a nonsense akin to cancelling one’s Netflix subscription but agreeing to keep paying £7.49 each month to receive their films.
Perhaps the CBI’s desire to remain in the EU customs union and single market is influenced by over £1 million it received from Brussels. There’s certainly much to explain.
CBI caught rigging poll result
Apparently not worried by ethical issues, the CBI, which likes to describe itself as “the UK’s most effective and influential business organisation”, will go to any length in pushing its lucrative pro-EU narrative.
Take as an example the YouGov poll it commissioned that skewed results towards larger business interests in an effort to suggest eight out of 10 UK companies wanted Britain to stay in the EU. Journalist Macer Hall wrote about this in November 2015, seven months before the country voted on Brexit, at express.co.uk.
Hall said: “Britain’s leading business organisation was facing an investigation last night into claims that a survey showing eight out of 10 firms supported staying in the EU was ‘fiddled’.”
Hall’s express.co.uk article continued: “Vote Leave alleged that the research carried out by the polling firm YouGov for the CBI ’caused the public to be misled about the views of British businesses on the EU for nearly two years’.” (Read the full article.)
The truth was perhaps closer to what Telegraph Political Editor Peter Dominiczak reported in his 16 May 2016 piece EU Referendum: More than 300 business leaders back a Brexit:
“More than 300 business leaders are calling on Britain to vote to leave the European Union, saying that the country’s ‘competitiveness is being undermined by our membership’.
In a letter published in the Telegraph, the business leaders say that Brussels’ ‘red tape stifles every one of Britain’s 5.4 million businesses’ and claim that a Brexit would allow them to ‘create more jobs’”. (Read the full article.)
Small-business backbone silenced
Inconveniently for the CBI, around 92 percent of UK businesses range from solo freelancers to or small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 250 employees. Did our royally chartered business lobbyists seek to diminish those less-weighty voices in its hooky survey in order to avoid diluting its own vehemently pro-EU position?
But the Federation of Small Businesses boasts over 200,000 members and associates serviced by its 184 branches located across 33 UK regions. It continually consults its constituents and insists that it is very much member-led when lobbying Parliament and giving advice to government.
Writing for Forbes in February 2016, contributor David Prosser reported that FSB members were quite evenly split or undecided about the benefits (or otherwise) of abandoning the EU.
Prosser wrote: “Research published this week by the Federation of Small Businesses reveals that 42% of small businesses could yet be swayed by either side in the campaign. The FSB asked more than 4,000 such companies for their views in the days following David Cameron’s announcement of the referendum and found almost half were open to persuasion.” (Read the full article.)
CBI carries on regardless
So despite being outed for taking over £1 million of European Union money and being discredited for unethical polling practices, the CBI carries on promoting its anti-Brexit agenda without shame or remorse.
This tainted, expensively suited mob demands attention from politicians already busy enough with carrying out the UK electorate’s wishes.