Well, it’s started – the snoring and boredom, rather than the excitement at having a General Election campaign that has been going on for three months.
All three major parties – four if you include the UK Independence Party (UKIP) have sworn blind they will encourage small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in a way that none of the others can. In many ways they are like tarts or salesmen; I defy you to tell the difference.
We had an early example of this at the annual conference of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) on 20 March when the bigwigs came to reassure the delegates that they had a bit of what they fancied. You will get a gist of what I mean when I repeat what the FSB’s National Chair, John Allan said in response to what they had heard.
On Chancellor George Osborne – “The Chancellor’s commitment to reforming business rates will be received well by small businesses up and down the country…..”
On Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg – “We agree with Nick Clegg [on late payment] that the government must go further to address this issue and change the supply chain culture starting with its own payment practices…” [Slap on the wrist time.]
On Leader of Labour Party, Ed Milliband – “We are pleased to see Ed Milliband agree that we need fundamental reform of business rates. ….Ed Milliband described late payments as a national scandal with many of our members directly affected by poor payment practices.”
To get three major political parties – two of them their leaders – was a sign that those representing SMEs are taken seriously by the powers-that-be, or the wannabies for forming the next government. However, we all know that it is easy to put the politicians through the hoops and beg when they are after our votes; getting them to continue that and deliver, will be the deciding factor. In that, SMEs should not have high expectations, no matter which flutters their eyelids the most alluringly.
Caption Political parties can be very seductive (like Mrs Robinson in The Graduate) when they want something but what will they really offer in return?