You never think that the buying team needs anyone to speak up for them, do you? Always pretty streetwise people who seem, well, just a bit more resilient than most.

You never think that the buying team needs anyone to speak up for them, do you? Always pretty streetwise people who seem, well, just a bit more resilient than most.

But it is funny how in the corridors of Westminster, or indeed Fleet Street, retail buyers are characterised as double-headed monsters that exploit hard working families.

And not to mention what unprintable evils they must be visiting on the innocent vendors who bravely step into the cave of the buyer.

We do need to redress the balance. Buying teams are key engine rooms in making the economy work. But so much of what they achieve is invisible to critics outside retail and misrepresented.

The act of negotiation is possibly the most seminal of good capitalism and should not be reviled but treasured. It is the mechanism by which the nation expresses its preferences and, crucially, where it feels value lies.

The consumer votes in retail every day and the buyer is the pollster. Wise negotiation dismisses waste, poor design, under-delivery, obsolescence, and pushes back on poor customer value.

Indeed, buyers are the catalysts for change that pushes suppliers to innovate, to become more efficient, to take risks. Sure, market competition is a clear part of a vendor’s commercial radar - but nothing expresses this as crisply as a buying review.

Suppliers are concerned with innovation but it is buyers that provide the imperative for them to deliver. And we all benefit. What a tragedy that this transformational impact is just not seen more publicly. Just a thought: there is a marvellous opportunity here for a book.

Am I going too far to say that we need even better sharper buying teams to make the UK the toughest but the best market globally? Inertia and stagnation are the antithesis of recovery in any market.

And thus regulation that begins to blunt the negotiator’s sword is a step backwards.

Fair trading and respect for law is a given but let’s recognise that buyers are good for us all. There, I’ve said it.