In the days ahead, as Labour struggles to explain its defeat, they will offer Scotland as one reason and Ed Miliband as the other. These are sensible starting points, but to look no further — or deeper — would be a cop-out.
Middle England — and Middle Wales, for that matter – has rejected Labour itself, not just its leader and or the prospect of a tie-up with the SNP.
The effort to move the country to the economic left was a mainstream Labour project, but the country was not to be moved.
The party’s Blairite tendency will regard this outcome as a vindication of its dissenting position. However, the lofty metropolitanism in which Blairites and Brownites both share has also backfired. The high-handed refusal to address the concerns of ordinary working people on issues like immigration has allowed UKIP to make in-roads into Labour’s traditional support. And it is for this reason that seats like Plymouth Moorview and Bolton West, which Gordon Brown held on to, have been lost.
It is therefore ‘Blue Labour’, not the Blairites, who are more entitled to say ‘I told you so.’