The technology manifesto 'Making BrITain Great Again' may become the victim of political spin and may not be given enough attention.
David Norton, research director at Gartner, claimed that as the manifesto moves forward, he would like to see all of the major parties support UK technology but he thought that authors Micro Focus would find it hard to get the parties to pay more than lip service to the manifesto.
The manifesto is now in development by Micro Focus and Ernst & Young, following a launch event at the House of Lords last week, where Micro Focus CEO Stephen Kelly was joined by the Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham (Con), Lord Razzal CBE (Lib), Lord Harris of Haringey (Lab) and analyst Richard Holway.
Micro Focus and Ernst & Young will now consult with both academia and the industry to prepare a road map including economic models.
Norton, who was at the event, claimed that none of the political parties would say no to the five core messages of the manifesto, as they are framed in such a way that no one is going to say they are a bad idea in principle.
The principles are: increase the supply of world-class technology talent in the UK; harness the expertise and goodwill of successful leaders around the world to mentor leaders of UK-based emerging technology businesses; radically change the tax incentives available to companies and individuals who want to invest in growing technology businesses in the UK; implement specific fiscal incentives for UK-based tech companies seeking to accelerate world-leading R&D; and proactively encourage international technology companies to invest in a UK hub.
Norton said: “The political parties could adopt the ‘spirit' of the technology manifesto now just by spinning their current policies. So the time from now and until September is critical in defining a manifesto with bite, which calls for real political action not spin.
“Assuming Micro Focus and Ernst & Young can come up with the goods in September, what of the cross party sponsors? Can they push the message home? For the common man sitting in the Palace Of Westminster listening to three Lords does have a wow factor, but what about the people who decide party and government policy? They spend their days surrounded by Lord this and the Honourable that so it going to need more than a title.
“Gaining bipartisan support in the House of Commons will not be easy. Areas like tax incentives are very emotive, all the parties feel they do or could do it better than the others. The manifesto will have to walk a fine line between being too open, in which case it could be spun, and too specific, thereby possibly conflicting with party values.”
Norton claimed that as the launch event received both mainstream and industry press coverage, the manifesto can not just fade away. If it does fail it is going to fail in a very public way, with blogs such as 'What ever happened to....'.
“Although it is unlikely to hit Micro Focus's revenue if it fails, it will hit their credibility. So I am willing to give Stephen Kelly the benefit of the doubt and say he sincere about the manifesto,” said Norton.