Business dominates election campaign

Telegraph front page
Image caption More than 100 company leaders have declared support for a Conservative-led government

It may surprise many that the first week of the election campaign has been dominated by politics' relationship with business.

The reason? Whatever the "anti-business" feeling among some of the public - linked, of course, to the financial crisis - politicians believe that the backing of chief executives is a positive.

That sentiment comes straight out of the Tony Blair playbook: he was convinced that business backing for New Labour helped.

During the Scottish referendum battle, many believed that a letter signed by company leaders against separation was useful for those arguing for the Union.

During this campaign, Labour attempted to get out early on an issue that many see as a weak flank.

On Monday, the party announced its Business Manifesto, putting remaining in the European Union at the heart of its "pro-business" agenda.

This morning, the Tories are certainly delighted that more than 100 company leaders have signed a letter in the Daily Telegraph backing a "Conservative-led government".

Policy guide: Economy

This issue includes the wider economy and deficit reduction but also employment and the role of business.

What is surprising to some is that chief executives of a number of very large companies have put their name to it.

The heads of Prudential, Tidjane Thiam, and BP, Bob Dudley, are both signatories. In a personal capacity, it is pointed out.

And Mr Thiam is soon leaving the Prudential to join the Swiss bank, Credit Suisse.

Even so, this is a political act by business leaders who often argue that they want to remain studiously neutral.