A little respect
I’ve interviewed almost 40 UK companies so far this year, from FTSE 100 behemoths to up-and-coming AIM stocks.
They’ve come from every section of industry and commerce – oil explorers, utilities, pub chains, food retailers, renewable energy specialists, finance firms and highly complex tech groups.
Different businesses, different locations, different shapes and sizes – but there is one streak that runs through virtually every single one of them: resilience.
Work, grow, live
These companies are getting on with it. They are making stuff or providing services that their customers need. They are employing people. They are innovating. From creating new forms of Artificial Intelligence to devising millennial-friendly menus, these firms are devising ways to carry on growing, carry on improving and carry on working in the interests of stakeholders.
Some have offices and sites scattered round the world, some are heavily tilted towards the export market and some are actually based overseas. But they are invariably headquartered here, generate revenues in this country, provide jobs for the UK electorate and pay taxes into HMRC’s coffers. They are owed a lot more respect than they are given.
Biting the hand
Boris Johnson’s infamous “Fuck business” comment would be almost laughably fatuous, did it not reflect a disregard for business that seems to run through the political establishment these days.
It’s almost as if ‘business’ and ‘corporations’ are alien entities, rather than enterprises upon which millions of people depend.
Where are the politicians speaking up for these firms? Where is the understanding that interminable Brexit negotiations are doing untold damage to these companies and to Britain’s standing in the corporate world?
Speaking out against Westminster can be bad for business and few chief executives are bold enough to try it. But MPs of every hue should recognise the contribution that British companies make to this country. They are owed a lot more respect than they get.