chapter  4
16 Pages

Representing Capital: Wyn Grant

No prime minister has ever devoted as much care and patience as Edward Heath did to seeking to bring about tripartite agreement between the CBI, the TUC and the government on the cure for Britain's economic ills. Had the Industrial Relations Act not soured relationships, the initiative might well have succeeded. The failure of Heath's experiment in nee-corporatism brought

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because Conservative ministers are more likely to have boardroom experience, they feel more confident about asserting what industry really needs; Conservative governments are anxious not to be seen in the pockets of big business for electoral reasons and, if anything, they are more likely to listen to the City than the CBI, whereas the Labour party has a special respect for manufacturing industry. Fidler (1981, p.229) reports a number of complaints from the businessmen he interviewed about the influence of the City on the Heath government, although much of City opinion was ultimately disenchanted with what the Heath government achieved (Moran, 198lb, p.391). The problem the CBI faces is that it is difficult to attack a Conservative government openly for fear of upsetting those CBI members who are loyal Conservative supporters. It should also be remembered that, whatever worries and reservations businessmen have about a Conservative government's policies, they regard any Conservative government as preferable to a left-wing Labour government.