Wednesday 24 January 2018

The Punt: "You're fired" - Alan Sugar to Labour

Alan Sugar on The Apprentice
Alan Sugar on The Apprentice
Goodbody’s Charlie Carroll, Stephen Carson Julian Yarr (managing partner) and Ciara McLoughlin

It was always a little bit of an odd fit, but British entrepreneur Alan Sugar has dramatically fired the Labour Party.

Lord Sugar, to give him his correct title, held his peace until after last week's election but yesterday announced his resignation from the Labour Party after 18 years. He blamed the party's shift from Tony Blair-era New Labour policies back to an anti-business "Old Labour" stance for the decision.

Billionaire Sugar, who made his fortune from the Amstrad computer business, was a high profile catch for New Labour when the tycoon and TV star of 'The Apprentice' was recruited to the party almost two decades ago.

He served as an Enterprise Champion during Gordon Brown's period as Prime Minister, and was elevated to the House of Lord's by the former Labour leader.

"I was originally brought into the party by Gordon Brown during an era where true enterprise was being supported by the party.

"I signed on to New Labour in 1997 but more recently, particularly in relation to business, I sensed a policy shift moving back towards what Old Labour stood for," he said yesterday.

The London-born businessman said he had outlined his views to the most senior figures in the Labour Party "several times" but "as a loyal person" opted not go public until after the election.

Under Britain's life peerages system the Labour nominated lord will retain his seat in the House of Lords, where he said he will represent the interests of business and enterprise, but presumably not labour with either a small or a capital L.

Goodbody's gets three partners

A&L Goodbody named three new partners and 19 associate lawyers yesterday as demand for business expertise soars.

While making partner must always be a satisfying moment in any lawyer's life it isn't what it used to be; A&L Goodbody's now has no fewer than 87 to share the cash and the risks. The new partners are Nigel Havers-lookalike Charlie Carroll who specialises in mergers and acquisitions, Ciara McLoughlin who will work on employment law, and Stephen Carson who looks after funds.

It has been a quick ascent for Trinity-educated Carroll who joined Goodbody in 2004 as a trainee and German-speaking and UCD-educated McLoughlin who joined as a solicitor in 2006.

The trio were congratulated by managing partner Julian Yarr who had a narrow escape not so long ago when he was struck by a car while cycling to work outside the Blackrock Clinic. Yarr spent eight days in St Vincent's Hospital after the accident and was later awarded €120,000 in damages.

Nightmare of Brits out

Finance Minister Michael Noonan was afforded his first opportunity to give his views on the British election to an international audience yesterday, and, in his characteristic manner when he doesn't wish to say too much, he brushed it off.

Noonan suggested Ireland was playing a wait-and-see approach to how the UK plays its next move concerning Europe.

Asked if the Government should be playing a more robust role, he replied: ''We'll see what the British position is now shortly. We'll participate fully, and they are our nearest neighbours and our biggest trading partners and close friends, so we'll do everything we can to be helpful." One hopes the wait-and-see approach isn't going to last too long. What was once a possibility now seems a certainty given the election result last week.

Perhaps instead of persuading London, the Government may end up trying to persuade leaders in other European capitals that a British exit should be resisted at all costs.

Irish Independent

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