Maintaining order through chaos – the importance of government relations during a general election
Duncan Guy, Head of Government and Regulatory Relations
Thursday 7 May 2015 is General Election day in the United Kingdom so people will be able to give their verdict on what they think of the current Government’s performance and whether they want to vote for change.
The two main political parties have similar policies in some areas but vastly differing ones in others and the smaller political parties, who may well hold the balance of power, bring in even further diversity of opinion.
Unlike previous general elections, which have generally been two horse races, nobody knows how to call this 2015 election.
From a business perspective, the Conservative policy on Europe brings uncertainty to one of the UK’s major trading blocs – Europe accounts for 45% of UK exports; similarly, the Labour position on corporation tax (lowest position in the G7 as opposed to lowest in the G20 for the Conservatives) is a difference of 6.5%.
In the UK, the Election is all consuming – printed, broadcast and social media is awash with it.
Amec Foster Wheeler is a politically neutral organisation, but the result will make a difference which is why we need to ensure that we are able to respond to any potential outcome.
To many, the UK Election may well be a ‘so what’. In the USA, you have probably been more attuned to the coverage of Hilary Clinton’s announcement that she will run for the Democrat Presidential nomination for 2016. While Canada, Nigeria, Poland and Turkey – to name just a few – all hold their own elections during 2015. Some have less uncertain outcomes, Kazakhstan’s recent presidential election resulted in a 98% favourable return for President Nazarbayev; others lead to the defeat for the incumbent such as Goodluck Jonathan’s recent loss in the Nigerian presidential elections.
Wherever the venue and whatever the outcome, elections mean that it is never dull in Amec Foster Wheeler government relations.
Trade and investment, energy policy, taxation, employment law, governance and climate change and environmental policies all have the potential to impact our business so it is important that we try to remain on top of what is likely to happen.
With the UK election, I can emphatically say – I don’t know!
Meet the blogger
Duncan has spent the last 21 years working in strategy, communications and government relations roles.
Having graduated in History and Politics from the University of York, Duncan started his career as a civil servant in the UK's Department of Trade and Industry before spending a brief time in politics.
Duncan is the relationship manager for the company’s interests with the World Economic Forum, Confederation of British Industry, Asia House, Philippines British Business Council, British-Japanese Parliamentary Group and the Canada UK Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he supports the chief executive in the UAE-UK Business Council, UK-Korea Global CEO Forum, World Petroleum Congress UK National Committee and the UK – Japan 21st Century Group. Duncan is a member of the Energy Institute.