Editor: January edition highlights

While the business media in general is lurching from one bad news story to the next - redundancies, factory closures, rising unemployment statistics, etc. - we in the franchise media, are consistently finding that the individuals we are interviewing, people who have invested in a franchised business, are exhibiting a much rosier outlook. Many of them are operating with proven business concepts that survived the last recession, and are able to fall back on the lessons learned by their franchisors in the early '90s to position their businesses strongly in the face of the impending doom forecast by other, more excitable news organs.

Former home secretary Charles Clarke, has been in and out of the news as a talking head on Gordon Brown's roller coaster approval ratings in recent months. He took time out of his maverick schedule to talk to us about why he feels franchising is important for the future business growth of the UK (see page 14). The Franchise Magazine columnist Rachel Elnaugh returns with her views on the future for UK'businesses, riffing on a theme recently espoused by the new chap in charge across the pond: the need for change (see page 12).

For someone who has been there, done that in franchising for the last 20 years, with the most recogniseable franchisor on the planet no less, read our interview with McDonald's franchisee Cos Constantinou on page 26.