GuyClapperton 12 Staff Writer

This is the sort of thing that annoys me intensely. Our Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Davies of Abersoch, has been asking the good people at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona what they need to grow the mobile business, what it's all about, that sort of thing.

All of which is good. I am in favour of it.

Unfortunately, as we find out care of an item on TechCrunch, he didn't stay to listen to the answers. Which is a pity.

I'm reminded of an incident over a decade ago - 1992 or thereabouts. I was reporting on the annual meeting of the Business and Accounting Software Developers' Association in Europe and the guest speaker was one Geoff Hoon, at the time an opposition MP and now very much part of the Government. The public relations woman had asked whether he needed a briefing on business software - it was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it is now, if you were a small business you might well not have been using accounting software rather than a paper-based system at all. He said no, he understood the industry and its needs.

He then stood up, delivered a homily on his daughter learning about computers at school, said it was a pity there wasn't more money available, and sat down again. It could have been straight out of P. G. Wodehouse.

It's disappointing to see that even now, there are people in power who'll take it for granted that they know the answers for the IT and comms industries and can make things happen - only to fail completely when they have the chance to listen. I hope Lord Davies will be able to make more time in future - or else he'll end up leaving his audience thoroughly bemused like his predecessor so many years ago.

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