Nigel Skill: ‘Pearls to swine?’

Our guest commentator, Nigel Skill, Chairman of the Skills Group, charts the rise of two new trade associations, but says operators should be careful what they wish for

When considering the recent developments of the growing number of trade bodies putting forward their case for representing the best interests of our coach sector I wonder why and how this situation has arisen.


I guess born out of frustration, boredom and maybe impatience, the desire to make things happen can draw people to the new “kid on the block” in the hope that they may have the magic solution. However, when hearing why and for what purpose these organisations are promoting themselves it appears the bedrock of thinking is hindsight, a trait that we can witness in all walks of life right up to the higher echelons of government.  


In the rapidly and ever-changing circumstances of the last 12 months, who could have predicted the scale and speed of change that renders sensible decisions made only yesterday redundant?  And isn’t it so easy with today’s knowledge to poke criticism at past decisions made by those in authority! Such criticism has been levelled at CPT and perhaps explains the emergence of others wishing to take on the mantle of representing the coach sector.


I urge caution as a disparate and potentially inconsistent message along with variable priorities will only confuse and be lost on those with the power to decide and thus, we will be casting our “pearls to swine”! (no disrespect to the government)
CPT is a full-time professional team who have many years’ experience of navigating the corridors of power and understanding the subtle ways the system works, a “black art” that I and probably most of our industry colleagues cannot begin to understand. The eventual break-through will come from a coordinated and skilful approach that will produce small and often imperceptible gains that cumulatively move us in the right direction.


I spoke yesterday with my MP Alex Norris, a very savvy and straight-talking Labour frontbencher. He reassured me that the plight of the coach industry is recognised and a subject of regular discussion in the corridors of power. As we heard the minister say at the CPT conference this is down to the hard work of CPT in raising our profile.


We need to feed that interest and I would strongly urge us all to communicate positively and regularly with our local MPs, and most importantly support and allow CPT, with all its years of lobbying experience, to get on with the job.

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