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Viewpoint: let’s not play the blame game

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Viewpoint: let’s not play the blame game

Hospitality staff at the Dorchester have no influence on nor responsibility for actions that are happening across the globe, says Peter Hancock

Once again the Dorchester and its sister hotels have been dragged into a political furore over the distasteful laws applicable in Brunei, the land of its famous owner. As reported in The Caterer, comment has been so hostile as to force the hotel to temporarily close down its social media channels.

My own view is that such vitriol is entirely misplaced. The management and staff at that glorious Park Lane venue bear no responsibility whatsoever for legislation in this country, let alone another one 7,000 miles away. As for withholding or cancelling bookings, this can have little or no impact except upon the hotel’s blameless staff. Taken to its logical conclusion, those who advocate boycotting the Sultan’s business interests would have to stop buying petrol and diesel and shun travelling in anything powered by oil derivatives, which would be absurd.

There is misplaced anger directed elsewhere, too. Throughout the agonisingly long and incompetently handled Brexit process, I have noticed some hotel and restaurant bosses seething with rage at those who voted the “wrong” way. Such thoughts are perhaps understandable but, assuming the nation is still evenly split on the issue, is it wise to hate half of your customers? In any case, at the time of writing it appears that the UK will not be leaving the EU for some time, if at all.

At times like this we all need some good news to cheer us up. So here are some positive facts that may have passed you by while news teams have been distracted by other matters. The economy continues to grow, currently at an annual rate of 1.4%, and tax receipts were higher than expected last month. Inflation is remarkably low at 1.9% and the Bank of England base rate is still a mere 0.75%. Although unhelpful from a recruiter’s point of view, low unemployment at below 4% is another sign of a healthy economy. It seems that when our politicians have their hands full with a crisis of their own making, the rest of the country just gets on with things rather well.

Before very long the main parties will have new leaders and our partnership with Europe will be settled one way or another. Until then, we have a much more important task – keeping our customers happy. And you can’t do that properly when you’re angry.

Peter Hancock is the chief executive of Pride of Britain hotels

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