MP Misery with Michael Fallon – Sorry but this post might be controversial

Michael+FallonI just had an unfortunate meeting with Micheal Fallon MP, who is not only the member of parliament for Sevenoaks (our local council) but also Minister of State for Business. I thought, logically, that he might be interested in what is going on with our fayre (the biggest in the region), our charity (helping young people in British manufacturing) and our work with the Made in Britain Mark…. It would seem I was quite wrong.

This is a difficult post to write because we always want to be positive and we also try to avoid the debate about politics. This said, I feel moved to vent my frustrations following our rather brief exchange. I was not sure what I had hoped to get out of meeting Mr Fallon but I certainly had not been prepared to be presented with someone who I found extremely impolite and more than a little patronising. There is really no way to sugar this pill… he seemed to feel the need to belittle and undermine our efforts from the start.

I tried to explain what we were trying to do with the fayre and the charity, and also tried to get his view on the Made in Britain marque. All points were met with disinterest and an air of arrogance. It got to the point where I quickly felt that I was wasting my time and, as politely as possible, said my goodbyes.

Mr Fallon has been the Conservative representative for Sevenoaks since 1997. I can only assume that those that vote for him year on year have never actually met him. Needless to say I feel that he is going to be as useful as a chocolate fire guard in our efforts to promote British Industry.

In a couple of weeks, as part of the board for the Made in Britain marque, I am meeting Ian Wright MP who is labour’s shadow minister for industry. I will report back as to whether I have a little more faith in this guy than Mr Fallon.

– James



  1. Grrr, that sort of thing winds me up so much. How are small businesses and those that make in Britain supposed to survive with people in charge like this.

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  2. I think you have nicely summed up this governments total disinterest in the ‘ little’ man trying to do great things. If your not a multinational or able to provide funding for the Tories then you are not on their radar and are merely a distraction.
    I have never seen a government so disinterested in the common man as this one. I do hope you are received better from Labour as all your very hard work promoting British produce deserves huge recognition and assistance.

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    • We are not going to make a comment on the Conservative party as a whole, nor are we in any position to suggest that Labour are any better, but given the meeting we had today we are in the unfortunate position of not being able to disagree with you.

      We must admit that our faith in UK politics has taken a little bit of a battering today.

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  3. How sad. We had similar frustrations with UKTI when we first started in Dubai – and my team made me be politer than I wanted to be in our blog about this The phrase I’ve used is worse than chocolate teapot!! However, they are improving and heartened that Dominic Jermey is the new head (ex Ambassador to the UAE and very good and commercial instinct/support).

    The government is serious about the importance of manufacturing and trying to bring investment back to the UK (been to a number of presentations in Dubai/Abu Dhabi on this) and feel they are serious. I have no political interest/agenda but think it would be worth you flagging your issues at higher levels. Everything you are doing sounds spot on for their agenda, as you say.

    Good luck with your fayre and your ambitions. Cannot imagine why your MP is not supporting you.

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  4. sent to my MP:
    Hello Mr Javid

    I very rarely feel moved to write to an MP, but after reading the below post (this is the only blog i follow religiously), I feel compelled to ask you to encourage your party to support those who are really trying to promote British Business and Manufacturing. I see that one of your former posts was as Economic secretary, so i hope you can see that the UK Economy is not only big corporations in London’s square mile.

    I’ve never met them, but the Bradshaws have been working tirelessly in their Quest to promote our home industries, and are inspiring to thousands. Please remind your colleagues that a little encouragement to people like these goes a long way, and perhaps they need to step out of the Capital and into the Districts sometimes.

    Thank you
    Liz — (Bromsgrove constituent)

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  5. Pete W says

    You carry on with what you are doing James many people follow you so you can tell people are talking interest. People like him live in a bubble and are not in the real world. It will be interesting to see how you get on with the Labour side of things.
    Keep up the good work and don’t be put off.
    All the best to you and your family.

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  6. Bertie Keeler says

    Taking the recent election results into account, why not see what UKIP have to say. I have a feeling you might get a totally different reaction from the only bunch that really care about BRITAIN and the BRITISH.

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  7. Peter Davies says

    Individuals personality do not necessarily reflect the Government position. I find there is a view in manufacturing that this Government is much more committed to industry than the previous one who dismissed manufacturers as dinasaurs.

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  8. Andrew Gilbert says

    I can understand your frustration. I’ve had very few direct dealings with politicians or unions but many years ago found that there are some of each who are more interested in representing their own interests than those of their constituents/members. Hopefully you won’t encounter this attitude again ….. and hopefully when you do encounter interest it will be genuine. (No, I don’t have a very positive view of politicians generally, perhaps because we hear of so many bad ones)

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    • I would get into politics if I did not think that I might become one of them 😉

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  9. I am not the least surprised. The rabble at Westminster have no interest in the British people or British goods; they are only there to follow 3 line whips so as to gain promotion to higher and more lucrative levels in government.

    The only other interest they have is in kowtowing to the EU so that they have the option of an even better paid job in Brussels. Tory, labour and LD are all the same.

    i only hope that UKIP turn out to be better. They seem to be the only ones interested in what we think and I want to see Britain ruled by the British, not from mainland Europe. That’s why I voted UKIP on Thursday and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

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  10. Ditch him for UKIP

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  11. UKIP want to leave the EU because of its strangle hold on this country and its regulations are crippling our small businesses. UKIP councillors can go against the party line to help anyone who needs it so there is a glimmer of hope in the future.

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  12. Phil Huke says

    I have met with similar problems, that MPs don’t care, haven’t a clue or both. They seem career motivated and know little of the real world. Plotting the progress of many politicians and councillors, they have worked for the party and progressed through the ranks, but have never had a real job. Having worked for Government departments at Westminster, many MPs and Ministers come across as arrogant and ignorant of the facts. Unfortunately, those outnumber the ones who care and take the trouble to find out what is going on and will try and do things in the public interest. The latest round of elections might shake up the leading parties, but I fear they will just skirt the issue.
    Unless this country is producing and exporting more than it imports, we could welll end up like Greece. It’s all very well for British based companies to source their goods from the Far East, but hiding their origin smacks of deceit and does little for British workers or the economy.
    To allow foreign companies to buy up British companies is just as bad too. They might have manufacturing here, if they haven’t stripped the products to be made elsewhere, but in most instances the profits and tax are moved out of Britain. Just one example is Boots, whose foreign owners have been accused of using a legal loophole to avoid paying £1.1BILLION in tax. It moved its HQ from Nottingham to low-tax Switzerland and is now owned via a firm based in Gibraltar.
    Is it little wonder that the Government can’t find ways to continue funding Pension Payments in future years?
    Successive British Governments encourage foreign investment, and we are left to foot the bill for the cost.
    It’s time to stand up and be counted, just a little bit of determination here on this site has stirred many people to look at what is happening to our Industry and it’s affects on our Country, keep up the good work.

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  13. Good luck with your meeting with Ian Wright. There must be some MPs who ARE interested in Made in Britain.
    I think the Made in Britain marque is an excellent idea and can’t think why any business in Britain wouldn’t be enthusiastic about using it.

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  14. loraine says

    I read your blog all the time, but very rarely comment. I think the work, commitment to the made in britain maeque is admirable. I have even tried hake!
    Try not to be too frustrated by what appears to be a crusty old politician.

    i wish i had read this earlier, as i would have changed by vote on thursday! If only to shake things up a bit.

    it is thanks to you that i have delved deeper into sourcing made in britain products and local foodstuffs.

    keep up the good work

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  15. Like loraine, I read you blog all the time, but rarely comment. I just don’t understand the disinterest to be honest. Aside from all our feelings about the logical/ethical side of manufacturing here in GB, it seems such a positive and vote winning political message which is being overlooked?

    Have you spoken with Mary Portas? She is a massive advocate and does have strong and senior contacts in the Government.

    Our growing 100% Sports retail business continues to go from strength to strength and we are even exporting on a daily basis now. People are listening and taking note!

    Please keep up the good work!!

    Miles Stronger Ltd

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  16. It’s a shame about your experience with Michael Fallon. The previous minister, Mark Prisk was really good and together with Vince Cable have been making a real difference, even to the extent where the last budget was very pro manufacturing. So even George Obsbourne is listening, please don’t be to disheartened by the strange attitude you encountered. I would be tempted to write to David Cameron and Vince Cable about your experience, they are his bosses and a bad impression like this is the last thing they would want at the moment. It strikes me that politicians need reminding from time to time about where their power comes from and who they represent. It is very important that we as consumers also make it clear that we have a very real desire to buy British and revive our manufacturing industries, no matter which party they come from, they will pick up on that trend. Despite his negativity I would also be inclined to keep him up to date and informed about your activities and the amount of support you are seeing, I think he will soon change his tune with an election coming up. Lastly a big thanks for all you do, it is just so great to see and so very important.

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    • Mike – your idea of writing to David Cameron and Vince Cable is a good one. I feel a strongly worded letter coming up. How very British.

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