From American Daily    http://www.americandaily.com/item/1550 
Labour Resume
 
 
"... the first bruises in the New Labour machine came not through economic misjudgements, as many conservatives thought, but through the one area that New Labour could claim clear blue water between the parties, that of sleaze. The Bernie Ecclestone affair proved to the country that, far from being whiter than white, New Labour had its chinks. Indeed these chinks widened and grew over the period of the first parliament into full blown fissures. The public reaction was not anger, nor electoral punishment through bye-elections, but through utter and destructive cynicism. The 3rd way was supposed to be a new dawn for politics, a shining beacon that pieced and dissipated conservatism. Now the electorate, through Keith Vaz, Peter Mandelson (twice), Ecclestone, the Hinduja brothers, the Dome and Geoffrey Robinson became so utterly and imperviously turned off by politics. Politicians were seen as sleazy, untrustworthy, arrogant and non-representative. Labour had, through its association with sleaze, managed a historic feat, to destroy the sacred trust the state had with its elected leaders.

2001 was fought not on issues, but by personality. Blair, despite the huge failure of his government to modernise and reform the public services as promised in the 1997 Labour manifesto (indeed Labour spent less money on the NHS in its fist term of office than any previous administration in the services history!) still retained a great affection from the British public. William Hague, the Tory challenger, did not. In a historically low turnout, Blair was returned to Number 10, his majority only fractionally dented. Cynicism, it seemed, and apathy won the day in 2001.

Today New Labour is in real trouble. In a frantic attempt to rationalise their agenda, the party that once condemned conservatism has been forced to embrace its militaristic instincts. The old left in the Labour party are getting confident, questioning Blair and his 3rd way in public as well as behind closed doors. The most recent example, the Weapons of Mass Destruction debacle has only served to highlight the incredible divide between the New Labour administration and their old Labour backbenchers.

Even the old strengths of this 3rd way news machine is faltering. The architect of New Labour's prominent tabloid support, Alistair Campbell, is under heavy fire. His 'dodgy dossier' is being seen by many in the media world of New Labour's final descent into apparent arrogance and patronising complacency. Some may venture the argument that what befell John Majors Conservatives is stalking Blair, and a government may be about to fall because of its arrogant belief that no-one can beat them.

It seems in this time of constitutional black water the Conservatives may well be pulling their socks up. In an attempt to recapture the lost millions of 1992 Iain Duncan Smith has pushed his party into new territory. Tory MPs now champion the vulnerable. Compassionate conservatism, so successfully employed by George W. Bush in America is seemingly on its way to these shores. Public services, such as the NHS, have become new Tory battlegrounds. Gone are the days when Labour commanded an absolute authority on the provision of education. The Conservatives, with their commitment to abolish tuition fees and promotion of increasing education expenditure have quite effectively married centralist policy with traditional Tory rhetoric of choice, opportunity for all and a reduction of state interference and bureaucracy.

On asylum they have achieved a notable feat of being seen to be tough with illegal asylum seekers whilst at the same time appealing to those 3rd and 4th generation immigrants with an almost leftist agenda. The flamboyant has been replaced with the measured, opportunism is out and a remarkable form of liberal pragmatism is in. Conservatives are reaching out, Tory-ism is becoming one nation again.

But will all this oratory and pontificating defeat the third way? Indeed how do we express this new Conservative approach on the political spectrum? The answers to both these questions are comparatively simple. IDSs conservatism is neither dogmatic nor is it ideological. It is, essentially, what John Major tried to achieve in his premiership. The old buzzwords of opportunity for all and classless, ideology-less, society are creeping back into Tory thinking.

It is working too. Opinion polls now show Tory support exceeding Labours for the first time in over a decade (minus the small blip during the fuel crisis of 2000). The middle classes, so sought after by New Labour in the 90s are finally being squeezed out by the third way. Blair-ism was all about masking deficiencies and heavily marketing relative success. The British public are starting to see this and, as the middle classes make their inevitable sojourn back to the Tories, IDS may begin to accomplish what Blair achieved in 1997, appealing to the core constituency of their opponent. The black and gay community is welcoming Oliver Letwin; Damien Green has been enthusiastically supported by students and lecturers and Dr Liam Fox has had praise heaped upon him by the health sector unions. Contrast that to the slow hand claps and snubs for seen for Labour Ministers and you have a truly remarkable illustration of a remarkable political re-alignment.

The next Tory government may not come at the next general election, but the end of New Labour and its third way most probably will. A much reduced Labour majority and, perhaps, a lower share of the vote than the Tories could see Blair either resign or be challenged. Should this happen old Labour will seize the leadership. Whether it is Brown, John Reid or Robin Cook; New Labour will disappear.

If this does happen perhaps the re-alignment of politics many have predicted will occur. Perhaps, just perhaps, we may see a return to the old-fashioned ideological and philosophically divisive politics of left versus right. Perhaps this will see the end to the cynicism the electorate feels towards politicians. If this is to be the future than the third way may suffer its ultimate failure, the reintegration of politics with the public and a renewed interest in parliament. Indeed in many years to come the New Labour project may well be exposed for what it certainly appears to be in the eyes of conservative commentators, a fraud glued together by spin doctors and selective accountability.