Dear Mr. Cameron,
‘Profit‘ may not be a dirty word in your mind but the way that some of your buddies titter over it, rub their hands in expectant pornographic glee and salivate with indignation at the thought that anybody should dare to question what one does with ones profits is enough to make you think that it has all the best qualities of those dirty words you used to snigger about down on the playing fields of Eton all those years ago.
‘Fuck’, ‘wank’ and ‘bastard‘ were the good Anglo Saxon dirty words we used to enjoy at school but ‘profit‘ wasn’t, neither was ‘enterprise‘ and neither was ‘employment‘. We were all much more concerned with our growing facial hair and distending bodies than we were over the body politic.
But we’ve all grown up a bit since then and have come to realise (oo er missus, whoops, another double entendre) that it’s not the word that matters but the intention behind it.
Any grown up business knows it needs more capital in the business at the end of the week than it had at its start if it’s going to survive, keep employing people and keep on making a valuable contribution to the rest of society.
Any grown up business knows that it’s how you distribute profits, not the fact that you make them which is the issue.
Any grown up business knows that it’s profits are not merely described in the bottom line of its cash reserves or assets on a balance sheet, but on the social capital it has built up with its staff, suppliers, customers and community and the cultural capital of its moral compass which justifies it’s place in the world at large.
No, ‘profit‘ is not a dirty word Mr. Cameron, but listening to your mates in the City and Utilities companies makes you wonder whether they’ve been sharing tatty old copies of Playboy between themselves in the gym recently and have been caught staring at each other’s private parts through a key hole between the changing rooms.
The word ‘Profit‘ needs some moral authority reinvested in it, Mr Cameron: but you and your mates aren’t the right people to carry out that important linguistic challenge.