Events of recent days have demonstrated, yet again, how business is so badly misunderstood.
The announcement on Monday from the minister for Children, Young People & Families stating that all employees should now have the "right" to ask their employer for flexible hours was one glaring example. Another was the reaction of the authorities to last week’s snow.
Most small employers already consider any reasonable request for flexibility from their employees where they possibly can (and always have done). But the response is still, quite rightly, determined by the needs of the business.
Those with children now have this legal right to "ask", but those without children do not. This is clearly causing some resentment.
So what remedy is suggested? Yet more legislation – to solve what clearly should be nothing to do with Government in the first place!
Many sectors find it difficult to offer flexible working to their employees, because of the nature of their business and the needs of their customers. So why impose a further time-consuming administrative procedure on them and falsely raise the expectations of employees?
What about employers’ rights? We also have families whose work-life balance is eroded every single time employee "rights" are dished out willy-nilly by people who seem to have very little understanding of the realities of running a small business.
The wholesale closure of schools across the region again typified the differences. How was it that businesses generally managed to open and serve their customers, despite the difficulty of a fall of snow?
Many small businesses had to quickly try and make arrangements for their own children, accommodate the absence of any employees, cope with the weather, and still try to operate effectively. The fact that so many were able to do so is to their credit.
Clearly there is a difference in attitude and understanding about what businesses are about, and how they drive the economy. This is an issue that must be addressed, and quickly, if we are to avoid the whole weight of ‘social niceties’, political correctness, and general misunderstanding, overwhelming what small business is doing.
Mike Cherry is the West Midlands policy unit chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses.