Michelle Mone’s intervention in the independence campaign (‘Scottish lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone has threatened to move to England if Scotland votes for independence’) was the first big boob from the No Campaign. It show’s – if anything – that we live in times of enormous cleavage. It’s all a storm in D Cup. Okay, having got the compulsory gags out the way, what’s going on?
Miss Mone, one of the UK’s most successful businesswomen, said she was “passionate” about Scotland but she did not think it could “survive on our own”. Mone’s been on twitter saying about how she said these things two years ago and it’s all no big deal. But the episode tells us a lot about how businessmen and the idea of the entrepreneur have infiltrated our culture. These people are the new gurus, from Duncan Bannatyne to Lord Sugar we genuflect beneath their greatness. This is the long 1980s, Gordon Gecko style.
Last year’s Holyrood election saw a slew of ‘endorsements’ and Mone’s statement sounds like an anti-endorsement. Remember when Stephen Hendry and Lulu were persuaded to say they’d flounce out of Scotland if devolution was won? It’s all terminally unconvincing. But at its heart is a misconception about how wealth is created. If we hold in high esteem a business based on push-up bras we’ve surrender to Ultimo Democracy.
Is Michelle Mone a good businesswoman? Definitely, from the Gallowgate to £50 million isn’t bad. Is she close friends with the Labour leadership. Apparently. Should she be allowed to hold us to ransom? She should not. But we will see a litany of business figures explain how they will leave, how democracy will be ignored, how we’ll be a northern Albania. This is just the start.
Trading on her humble roots Michelle will be portrayed as a star and anyone who suggests otherwise will be pilloried.
Sometimes it feels as if your fighting cognitive dissonance. Watching Ten Years Younger – a women is butchered in plastic surgery to achieve the goal of looking younger. She’s then paraded (the hosts words not mine) in front of 100 men to see what they think of her. Good. Better. Younger. Confidence restored, age defied, we’re off. This in the week we discovered we’d been inserting mattress stuffing into women’s breasts – but hey – neither govt nor the ‘risk taking’ company would be liable. This is the physical equivalent of Location Location Location – the property show that pretends the crash never happened. It’s in this context we’re to pretend that gel-filled bras are an epiphany and Michelle a genius.
The problem is not though the nature of the business, it’s the nature of the political argument.
Miss Mone, who was awarded an OBE two years ago for her contribution to business, said politicians in the Scottish Parliament could not be trusted to make “Scotland PLC” a success.
“MSPs have never run a business in their life. Would you trust them to run Scotland as a business? No is the answer. It’s too much of a gamble,” she concluded.
So, to get this straight, politicians should be businessmen – and if they’re not then we’ll leave?