For once I agree with David Cameron who summarised the result of the Crewe and Nantwich by-election as being the end of New Labour. We can only hope he is right.
For me, New Labour was always the very last thing this country needed. We had one very successful Conservative Party and the last thing we needed was a second one. New Labour in many ways was all about the Emperor's new clothes. Seemingly shiny, new, different, but was actually very very conservative, very "safe", indeed very much about centralising. Ahh, I hear Torie's cry, that's not what we're about, but in reality the last Tory government was as centralising as any government in history. preferring Government QUANGO's to democratically elected officials, preferring to take powers from local authorities rather than devolving them.
But just like the Emperor's new clothes, suddenly a boy from the crowd suddenly shouts out "he's got no clothes on", or in this case "this lot haven't got a clue", and suddenly everyone sees new Labour for what they are. A bunch of Charlatans who build their "economic miracle" on the back debt, cheap consumer credit and PFI projects that have saddled this country with debt for decades to come.
As for the Crewe result itself, I doubt many Tories could have really expected such a good result, and lets make no bones about it, it was a really good result for them. But more than that, it was absolutely dreadful for Labour.
One thing that did occur, and it is something that Conservative's will see as an excuse, but is a point I have observed and believe to be true. Despite the Lib Dems slight slip, 14% was not dreadful and shows a core base of support that will come out and vote Lib Dem even when they were clearly in third place to start with. But more than that, it still speaks of a slight hesitancy, a slight concern from those with long memories about the Conservatives. Some people who are absolutely sick of labour didn't want to support them but still cannot bring themselves to vote Tory. Don't get me wrong, of course the Tories won over new supporters in droves, but in the 1992-1997 years, in seats where Labour were a clear and distant third like the Lib Dems were in Crewe, saw Labour's third place vote fall to less than 5% (Newbury and Christchirch come to mind) as non Tory voters got behind anyone who was best placed to defeat the then Conservative government. It seems that despite the great success for the Tories, they have not quite got this groundswell yet. I think David Cameron knows this which is why he has dampened down expectations today and said there is still work to do.
Whatever, there is little doubt that people want a change of government and I think politics in this country needs to be freshened up. I am not keen on a Tory government under David Cameron (I know too many people who have met him, know him, have dealt with him and have little time for him, and that includes some Tories), but whatever colour the next government is, it will not be a Labour government, and we should all be pleased for that.