Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Do business and politics mix?

Ken Livingstone last week warned that if he becomes London's Mayor, he may be unwilling to do business with transport operator Stagecoach because of chairman Brian Souter's support for a campaign to retain Section 28, which bans promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Should private firms become involved in such debates?

While many individual directors and rank and file employees may play an active role in politics or single issue campaigns, that is an issue for them as individuals. Once companies as a body start becoming overtly involved in such issues, it can be a minefield and potentially very damaging to their business. Consumer boycotts and damage to corporate reputation are very real threats.

Andy Walker, communications director, London

A private firm is precisely that - private and as such is entitled to views and opinions unfettered by other bodies. So long as the firm feels free of alienating trade organisations or customers, this free speech is an inherent part of our society. Dudley Swain, Devon I disagree strongly with Brian Souter's views, but I think the owners/managers of private companies have the right to make a stand on what they believe to be moral issues, whichever part of the spectrum they may represent. In this way, there would be a little more morality in the business world. We, the consumers, have the ultimate veto over whether we use these companies' services and products; we should make use of our power. Luc Koefman, engineer, St Albans

Ken Livingstone is a fool. London needs a clean, efficient and affordable transportation policy and system.

Here in Sheffield, the Supertram run by Stagecoach is exactly that and offers an excellent service to its users.

Ken Livingstone and Brian Souter should put their petty political agendas aside and work together. Gary Kent, consultant, Sheffield

Yes they should, because they will be looking to the education system to feed their future recruitment drives and this may prejudice their choice of candidate.Aled Humphreys, Corus All companies should consider their values and ethical issues. If they are in conflict with those promoted by local, national and international clients they probably will have to accept that they may not be successful in gaining work.

Mark Stephenson, Highway maintenance manager, Cornwall

Matters of transport are too important to be muddied with other affairs of politics. The ethos of sustainable travel and transport has a far greater impact on London's population than the Section 28 argument.

Peter Hookham, traffic engineer, Devon

In their own interests, private firms 'should' not get involved in such debates because it is 'none of their business'! They should concentrate on their 'core' business, and not gratuitously alienate customers.

Robin Clay, former tunnel supervisor, Blandford Forum, Dorset

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.