I admit that I’m having doubts about capitalism

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COMMENT: A business community that is simply the best

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I think I may be having a bit of a crisis. Not a mid-life crisis though – I don’t yet feel the need to buy a Ferrari or enter the local triathlon.

No, this is much more serious. I’m having doubts about capitalism.

Some statement, I know, coming from a Conservative – especially since my family has been involved in business for generations and I have run several myself.

To say I’m on side when it comes to the politics of private wealth creation would be something of an understatement, but these days I also find myself increasingly sympathetic to those who protest about capitalism and, in particular, bankers.

When I ran businesses, I always used to rant about bankers – some of whom I count among my friends.

My problem was, and is, that however much risk I took in my enterprises, however hard I worked, however much money I managed to raise and the number of employees I hired, I was very unlikely to sell for as much as some bankers were making in a single year.

Some of the sums involved were obscene and remain so, despite the salutary lessons the industry was supposed to have learned since 2007.

This just has to be wrong. I know it, you know it and I suspect the government knows it too.

Now I always thought that other sorts of businesses were rather better. So last week’s shock news that total earnings for directors of FTSE 100 companies increased by 49 per cent last year when the average pay rise in the private sector is 2.5 per cent was a real eye-opener.

Almost everyone faces a decline in living standards and top executives seem to think it’s OK to completely ignore what’s going on.

Well, it isn’t.