Our CEO and founder, Tony Nash, joins the BBC Business Matters podcast to discuss mainly the anniversary of the US Capital riot — and why most Americans don’t really care anymore. Also discussed are the patent-free Covid vax and the CES 2022 and the coolest thing in the event.
This podcast first appeared and originally published at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172xvqrxgznjw6 on January 7, 2021.
FN: Let’s go to Tony and the view from Texas. And I’m just wondering, Tony, we talked about, you know, viewing this from outside the nation’s capital. What have people been talking about today?
TN: Fergus, I gotta be really honest. No, nobody cares. I talked to students. I talked to business people. I talked to people across the country, and this is a DC event, and it’s drama that DC has conjured up and nobody in the rest of the country really cares. It’s just not a big deal for people.
FN: Okay, I’ll tell you why. I find that interesting. One thing. People travel to DC, right? For this event, whether they attended the rally or whether they actually went to the capital and took part. They weren’t DC residents, all of them. And the second thing is it’s a political thing right now, surely, across the country, there are politicians running on this event as a mandate. No?
TN: I don’t think so. No, I don’t think there are politicians running on this. You may have some politicians who are trying to run on this, but honestly, I just spoke to a couple of College students an hour ago and asked them what they thought about it. They didn’t care. I spoke to business people today and they just didn’t care. And they shrug it off as just something that’s in DC, and they shrug it off as the administration trying to distract attention. That is in the middle of the country.
That is the view from Chicago down to Texas and across the middle of the country. Nobody cares. And even in the capital building. So if these guys really wanted to overthrow the government and harm Congress people, they would have gone to the administrative buildings. I mean, these aren’t stupid people, but nobody else cares.
KA: I’m sorry, that’s not accurate. They were in the capital building.
TN: It is. Absolutely. We were in the administrative building.
TN: There were Congress people who weren’t even close to the administrative building.
FN: So, demonstrators sitting in the Speaker’s chair. Right.
TN: The demonstrators were there. The Congress people weren’t there at the end of the day. Fergus, look at the end of the day here’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about trespass and we’re talking about property crime. Okay. That’s why people don’t care.
FN: There were five fatalities.
TN: Yeah. The Capitol police shot a woman. Right.
FN: Tony, I want to pick up on your point about people in Chicago down to Houston, not caring. This is what you’re reflecting to us about. Hang on. Let me please ask. Does that mean that nobody from Houston up to Chicago, et cetera, in the middle of America believes the message that was behind this campaign because it strikes me that 48% of the Republican Party believe the message behind what happened a year ago.
TN: What message is that, Fergus?
FN: That the election was stolen. This is the message that President Trump continues. A former President Trump continues to put out and the message that those demonstrators sought to enact as they see it. When you say people don’t care, you’re suggesting that it’s done and dusted. And I’m suggesting to you that’s far from the case.
TN: I think it is done and dusted. And I think if you look at people like Ashley Babbitt, who was shot in the back as she was entering like she was unarmed and shot at the back, these were not people who were fighting for something. Right.
FN: All right. Tony, come in. You want to jump in there?
TN: Yeah. I think Rachel is absolutely right. With the Pelosi’s support of the storming of the entry into Ledgeco in 2019, I think the Apathy in the US is really just more exhaustion than anything. I think Americans are just tired of the partisan nonsense. They’re just exhausted by it. And I think people don’t care because they don’t see this coming to an end. And DC is a world unto itself. And most of America just doesn’t care anymore. Honestly.
FN: But at that point and Rachel’s point, I was just reflecting on some of Carrie Lam’s comments exactly a year ago. And this phrase double standards, she said foreign audience should set us. Do Americans recognize that as double standards?
TN: Oh, absolutely. Yes, absolutely. They do. Well, most do not all, of course. But I think most do. If you were to rewind to 2019 and show those tapes to many Americans, they would completely get it. We’re not the Cretans that everyone tries to make us out to be. We understand that.
FN: Tony Nash is with us from Houston, may well be familiar with many of the names we’ve been discussing in the last five, six minutes. Tony, let’s focus on the philanthropy first. Presumably, that’s something you recognize that when you don’t get federal funding, you don’t get the big sort of specific targeted funding that a lot of big Pharma got back at the beginning of the pandemic. You reach into donor sections.
TN: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. And I think the Baylor College of Medicine did fantastic work here with the resources they had, and everyone here is proud of them. Texas is a huge force in medical like in public health, in oncology in many areas of healthcare. And this is just a very public view, public way of doing it. I love what they’re doing. It’s hard not to love what they’re doing.
FN: In terms of the generic issue. We’ve heard a lot about big Pharma is, I guess, easy to demonize, because a lot of the companies are making some very big returns on vaccines, and these people seem to be ready to maybe not give up the whole game, but essentially go for the generic version so that it can be spread more quickly and more cheaply.
TN: Well, all of the private sector vaccine developers, I think they got $20 billion from the US government in 2020, so those medicines have been paid for. They should give them out for free. All their IP should be open source. There should be nothing secret. The American people paid for the ones that were developed in the US. And I think as a foreign policy, we should open source that and let every country develop it at whatever cost they can.
FN: It would be a fantastic kind of diplomatic soft power, too. Wouldn’t it be?
TN: Absolutely would.
FN: And, Tony, I’m not sure how much you heard. There a quick thought from you as we end the program on the survival of Tech despite the pandemic?
TN: I think tech has thrived in the pandemic. And I’m glad to see shows like CES happening where people can go in person or be remote. I think it’s great to be in person. So I’m really happy to see it. And the coolest thing I saw at CES was a car that could change color because of nanotechnology in the paint. That was the coolest thing I saw there.
FN: Yeah, I saw that one online as well. That’s the purple thing I was referring to. Kind of Sci-Fi is real, I guess. All right, Tony, thank you very much. Indeed. Glad we got you back. Briefly. Sorry we lost the line halfway through there.