ED MILIBAND never convinced on business.
The former Labour leader simply did not convey any understanding about enterprise and entrepreneurialism, the most important driving forces behind our regional and national prosperity.
The best analyses of this failure have come from within the party.
Writing in The Observer, Tony Blair, the man who led Labour to three successive victories, said: “Labour has to be for ambition and aspiration as well as compassion and care.
“‘Hard-working families’ don’t just want us to celebrate their hard work; they want to know that by hard work and effort they can do well, rise up, achieve.
“They want to be better off and they need to know we don’t just tolerate that; we support it.
“We have to appeal to those running businesses as well as those working in them.”
I did not meet one business leader who supported the idea of Ed Miliband as prime minister. Not one.
Labour peer Lord Glasman was a mentor to Miliband and tried to promote the party to the private sector.
Glasman’s father ran a small business in East London and family life was dominated by the ups and downs of running a company and paying the bills on time.
Recalling his experiences as an advisor to Miliband, Lord Glasman told The Mail on Sunday: “I knew that efficiency and spending mattered because in the end my dad’s business went bust.
“I thought that we needed to be clear that the crash was not caused by public spending but we were vulnerable to it because we had spent too much and saved too little. I just didn’t sense an understanding of the virtues and demands of running a small business and how the state could support that rather than regulate it.”
In the event, business breathed a collective sigh of relief at the Tory victory.
Jack Tordoff, the chairman of Yorkshire’s largest family-owned business JCT600, told me: “People are not stupid. They realise that things have gone well for the last 18 months. I didn’t have any doubt that the Conservatives would get back in.”
He’s right. People aren’t stupid. They vote with their pockets. They knew a vote for Labour could have derailed the recovery and hit them where it hurts.
As it is, I doubt David Cameron’s honeymoon period will last long. The recovery needs to spread wider and deeper and there have been signs of a slowdown in manufacturing.
James Newman, the chairman of the Sheffield City Region local enterprise partnership, said he hoped politics would continue to be about the economy and not become dominated by Europe and Scottish nationalism.
Garry Wilson, the managing partner of Endless, the Yorkshire private equity house, told me: “I’m delighted the election result gives the country clear leadership and I think people ultimately voted for a continuation of a strongly performing economy.
“On the negative side I’m not looking forward to a protracted debate about and referendum on EU membership and it appears that the movement towards Scottish independence is now unstoppable. That ultimately will lead to more devolution of power from Westminster to every region across the UK.”
He (or she) who shouts the loudest will be the winner. I predict the Scots will be laughing all the way to the bank.
On the subject of the Scots and banks, George Osborne is said to be open to the idea of beginning to sell RBS shares at a loss later this year.
The Chancellor is an arch political strategist; every move he makes contains the shrewdest calculations.
Selling RBS shares at a loss might remind UK taxpayers about the foul-smelling stuff that Scottish financial institutions got themselves into last decade and persuade voters north of the border that they might be better off in a union.