I’m finding this quite spooky. I wrote this column 10 years ago today, just before the general election, when Tony Blair was getting all hot under the collar about engaging with entrepreneurs. Today, David Cameron is getting all hot under the collar about engaging with entrepreneurs. A change of government but little other change there then. One day, someone in politics will actually listen to entrepreneurs and then do something tangible as a result. One day …

I DON’T often write about politics or politicians. In fact, I usually avoid it like the plague. Politics is probably the most boring topic of conversation around. Need I say more about politicians themselves?

But I am making an exception in this case. This case being the recent dictat laid down by Tony Blair to ministers to wage a charm offensive on entrepreneurs. Apparently, Mr Blair thinks that Labour is perceived as a “soft touch” for big business interests. And in the run-up to the general election he has demanded that colleagues make official visits to offices, factories and chambers of commerce around the country as a top priority for the next two months.

In other words, “sook up to them and we’ll get their votes”. Not a chance, boy. While in Opposition your Party went to great lengths to convince us that we had nothing to fear from a change of government. You told us that your policies would be better for business than the Tories. You got your chance. We’re still waiting to be convinced.

You and your Cabinet will need to do a lot more than show your faces, smile for the cameras and display a vague interest in business if you want the support of the entrepreneurial community this time around.

Please don’t think it’s personal. It’s not even political. It wouldn’t matter if it were Labour, Conservative, SNP, Liberal or Monster Raving Loony Party in power right now. What does matter is putting your money where your mouth is. Walk the talk. Remove the legal and financial constraints on business. Change cumbersome and expensive employment law. Make it easier to start up and harder to fail. Dedicate more money to home grown businesses. Tackle the skills shortage. Listen to us when we tell you what we need.

Do that and you might, just might, get the entrepreneurial vote.

You see from where I’m standing, it’s like this: the economic climate does not currently favour entrepreneurship. The much-lauded business birthrate has fallen by a third since 1997. The number of firms calling in the receivers rose by 67% last year. More than 200 Scottish companies went down the pan in the last three months of the year. As a result, and not surprisingly, there are considerable fears for the Scottish economy. So what has government actually done for the entrepreneurial community and the wider economy?

As usual, too little too late.  Wendy Alexander recently revealed a series of new targets aimed at turning Scotland into a “fast learning, high earning nation”. The details of her strategy document “A Smart Successful Scotland” will be announced in July – after the general election is expected to have taken place. Coincidence? Not.

The strategy has three focus areas for the enterprise network to deliver: improving the country’s global connections; enhancing skill levels in the workforce; and helping businesses grow. There will be four targets set in each of these areas.

In addition, a joint performance team will be set up to ensure that Scottish Enterprise’s annual £600m budget is spent on projects that work. Just as a quick aside, the team will comprise independent economists, civil servants and SE representatives; not an entrepreneur or business leader amongst them. Hmm. I would have thought this a perfect opportunity to “sook up to” the business community. It would certainly add more value than rolling out the red carpet for an official ministerial visit.

Wendy Alexander believes that the strategy – if it works – will bring full employment

I hope so too, although I must admit to a little giggle when I read Robert Crawford’s comments. The SE Chief Executive apparently told the media: “Our areas of focus are now clear.” And here was me thinking that you guys knew what you were doing all along.

Don’t get me wrong. I genuinely hope the new strategy works. God help us if it doesn’t. But I suspect it’s just the latest in a long line of new strategies that are changed before they have enough time to make an impact. Call me cynical if you like (it’s certainly not the worst I’ve experienced) but I also suspect it’s a calculated attempt to win votes.

Entrepreneurs are probably the most dynamic, ambitious and fiercely driven people around. Get them on your side and you’re on to a sure fire winner. Piss them off, and you can kiss goodbye to the necessary X in your box come summer.