If there were ever an annual Ayn Rand award, here in the UK, for Britain’s most outstanding business leader, then a recent contender could easily have been Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of the JD Wetherspoon chain of pubs. He created this chain from virtually nothing, in 1979, and built it into one of the largest leisure businesses in the country. Which is remarkable.
But being a former law student he has fallen into the trap of believing that if a law is passed by a legislature then this automatically makes it a good thing. Because he has just called for a smoking ban to be imposed upon all the privately owned pubs and bars in Britain, following Ireland’s recent heavy-handed example.
Now I have no problem with Mr Martin banning smoking in all of his own pubs. But like all the best hypocrites Mr Martin has no intention of doing this, because he realises he will lose too much business to his competition. But this hypocrisy has failed to prevent him from wishing to inflict his own intolerant views upon every other private bar owner and pub smoker in the country.
Which does beg the following question: Are there any truly successful business people here in Britain who we libertarians could actually hold up and respect as role models for the future? Or is it simply impossible in Nanny State Britain for any big business leader to be successful without being mentally flexible enough to accommodate the sinuous and relentless needs of our slave controllers in government?
I need a hero to worship. Does anybody have one?