So what did Alan Sugar think of Gordon Brown before he was offered a (for a tsar, utterly unnecessary) peerage? My former colleague at The Scotsman, Gerri Peev, has unearthed something that CoffeeHousers may appreciate:
This letter appeared in the FT on 19 March 1992, after Brown appeared to accuse City bosses of feeding off the recession:
Sir, I have noted with disgust the comments of a certain Mr Gordon Brown who has accused me of doing well out of the recession after reading the letter published in The Times from 40 top industrialists.
I do not know who Mr Gordon Brown is. Excuse my ignorance, but I don’t. Whoever he is (shadow trade and industry secretary), he has not done his homework properly. The man doesn’t know what he’s talking about. How he has the audacity to say that Amstrad, or Alan Sugar, has flourished in recession is a complete mystery to me.
Amstrad made its first loss ever this year. It is not a secret that our share price has tumbled to about one-seventh of what it was. The value of my shares has collapsed from Pounds 500m to Pounds 100m more or less overnight. The salary I have been taking in the company is pretty meagre – about Pounds 170,000. It’s nowhere near the million-pound bracket. So this talk that I have prospered in the midst of recession is total nonsense.
I personally have made a lot of money in my time, despite coming from a working class background in the East End. The money hasn’t been handed down from family to family or by the old boys’ act. I was able to start from scratch.
When taxation was 98p in the pound under the last Labour government I would have been spending my time doing what I am doing now – creating wealth and producing employment.