With just days to go before the General Election, Black Country business leaders have accused the main parties of littering the political arena with red herrings - masking the issues that matter in the real world.
They say that businesses want the future of British enterprise to be at the top of the agenda.
And they see skills, transport and infrastructure as they key elements in a business-focused approach to the next five years.
Ian Brough, chief executive of Black Country Chamber, said: "Every day since the election was called and indeed for weeks before that, politicians were telling us what was important and what we needed to be thinking about.
"This artificial overplay of their priorities has tended to obscure the real issues.
There has been too much name- calling, despite assurances that negative campaigning was off the agenda.
"There has been too much looking at the past and very little emphasis on what will take Britain forward.
" Despite occasional lip-service to the needs of business, there has been little attention paid to the skills gap, the need to encourage enterprise and the perilous state of our infrastructure.
He added: "The stable elements of our economy - inflation, interest rates, unemployment - are obviously essential, but they are a means, not an end.
"All three parties have basically devoted one day's press conference to the needs of business. What chamber members want to see is real commitment to the people who will make a difference in the years to come - the wealth creators."
Meanwhile, John Tew, newly-elected president of the chamber, has issued a rallying call for the region to punch its weight.
He said that only by coordinating its efforts can the area hope to compete as a centre of commercial excellence.
Mr Tew, managing director of Ault Insurance in West Bromwich, says that the Black Country has a dynamic future based on a proud past.
"There is a great tradition in this part of the world of enterprise, innovation and hard work. All those qualities will be needed to attract new investment to the area, improve the infrastructure and make this an even better place to do business."
Mr Tew, aged 57, says his main priority will be to harness the energies of chamber member
throughout the Black Country.
"Everyone in the Black Country has a deep sense of pride in their home town, which of course is admirable.
"What I want to add to that is a feeling that the region as a whole must be promoted. I look forward to working with colleagues in Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton to achieve that.
"Our member companies are the bedrock of the area's industrial and commercial life. If we as a Chamber look after them, they in turn will improve the lives of everyone in the area.
"After all, it is business that creates the wealth that benefits society in general.
"We must work more closely with local authorities and the many agencies that have an impact on the area to arrive at a 'joined-up' approach to helping our members."