Matthew Palmer is a Conservative Councillor in Kensington and Chelsea and was a contestant on the first series of The Apprentice, coming fifth. Here he defends Gordon Brown's appointment of Sir Alan Sugar to the Lords as a business adviser and says that Conservatives should disregard his politics, celebrate his success as a businessman and be willing to listen to his advice.
Giving the title of Business Tsar to Sir Alan Sugar (and a seat in the Lords) is long overdue; his job description does not change from what he has been doing for the past ten years and so it looks like Brown's new Tsar is just a publicity stunt. All his working life he has been a businessman. With his experience, he can be a positive force with the department better known as the DTI.
As a contestant on the first series of The Apprentice, I was well aware of who he was and what he did before we met for filming (I was the only contestant who got a copy of his deleted biography and researched him). Other contestants did not know much about him - they were more interested in the £100,000-a-year contract. Today, most people know him for the TV work he has done, but quietly and without cameras he has been going around the country trying to advise small and young business how to progress.
With no privileged background, no parental business acumen and no academic success, he has ridden the wave of success at the right time; firstly radios and Hi-fi, then computers, and then Satellite TV (and diversifying into property). Along the way he has made many mistakes - most recently the Amstrad Emailer (during The Apprentice it was being discreetly filmed in use at every opportunity to look like a great product, but behind the scenes the production crew were cursing it because it was useless).