Playing chicken with Ratan Tata. Is this wise?

Just watched the Ratan Tata interview on Sky News in which he issues a stark warning to HMG about the need to provide funding to Jaguar Land Rover. He said something to the effect of “…the government is being shortsighted in playing a game of chicken with us, as the result could be devastating for the UK economy”.

More than the message, what impressed me was their realisation that they have a far larger armoury at their disposal than what they’ve previously believed. By using a TV interview to tom-tom his messages, he’s reaching out to a far bigger set of stakeholders to persuade them to use any leverage they may have with the Government to secure the best deal possible.

Having worked in and around Westminster, I have no doubt that Peter Mandelson has Ratan Tata’s mobile number on his speed dial and speaks to him often, for the simple reason that Tata employs nearly 50,000 people in Britain alone.

What Ratan Tata says and thinks is important to the Government and for this reason, I think that by using such tactics, he is preparing himself to throw everything – including the kitchen sink – at ensuring a positive outcome for his company.

For the record, I’m sure that Mandelson – in these times, has a massive job in figuring out what’s best for the country, the one thing he should factor into his thinking is that Tata has a fantastic, ethical, and serious track record in doing the right thing with the long term in mind.