New Labour, once the party of working people when it was plain old Labour, now represents the interests of corporations not workers, employers not employees, religious nutcases not secular society, the rich not the poor, the private sector not the public sector, war not peace, management not unions, the powerful not the vulnerable.
There are those on the Left who choose to ignore this. We're in power, they say, what's the problem? Would you prefer to see the Tories back? Frankly, I wouldn't care a great deal. 'We' aren't in power at all. The left and Labour parted company a long time ago, and there is just one game in town now. What difference would there really be if Cameron and chums won?
Instead of a New Labour government favouring the rich corporations over badly paid workers, offering bribes and tax cuts to the wealthy while punishing the poor, mentally ill, disabled and disadvantaged for having the temerity to want to claim benefits, raping the public sector, clamping down on any kind of dissent, taking 58 minutes to decide it can remove the right to strike from a whole group of workers without bothering to discuss it with them or adjusting their pay accordingly, reacting wildly to a 'terrorist threat' of its own making by introducing thought crime legislation and putting people in prison for reading books and downloading pamphlets, detaining its own citizens without charge for longer than almost any other civilised country, forcing people who have done nothing wrong to stay indoors under 'control orders', introducing costly and pointless ID cards that will do nothing to combat terrorism but will be an enormous carve-up for New Labour's friends in the corporate privatisation world, backing an illegal occupation in two middle eastern countries while doing nothing about an illegal concentration camp holding British citizens, refusing to alter the unfair 'first-past-the-post' voting system that makes millions of votes worthless, continuing to allow inherited wealth and religious groups to monopolise a practically pointless anachronistic second chamber, destroying the NHS and gradually privatising healthcare, bailing out a private corporation with public money... we'd have what? Something worse? Really? How?
However, I do take Obsolete's point that, compared even to Gordon Brown and Tony Blair's New Labour, David Cameron's Tories are even more aggressive against the most vulnerable in society, coming out with reprehensible tokenist policies to get the more rabid elements of the Sun readership on side. For the sheer hatred towards the poor, coupled with total lies about 'being green' while denying climate change and promising to build more roads at the expense of public transport, having vile pig John Redwood in its party and not thinking it's anything wrong, it's hard to match the Tories.
So where does that leave the Left? Is it worth bothering with New Labour any more? There were those who thought, way back in 1997 (do you remember that optimism, by the way? Do you remember thinking that things might change? I did. How fucking wrong was I?) that the best way for anyone of a liberal-left persuasion to shape the future would be from within New Labour. They aren't so far away from us, ideologically, they'd say. Amazingly and bizarrely, trade unions still continue to fund a political party which hates them, is determined to crush them, does not listen to them and which would much rather borrow itself into financial trouble or accept dodgy loans which happily coincide with peerages than taint itself with honest working people's money. Surely, it's time for them to stop. Does sending a percentage of your union subs off to New Labour really help working people at all?
So now we have the scramble for the Right. Essentially, the scramble for the policies that might get that all important backing of The Sun, the Daily Mail and those other rabid right-wingers, rather than policies that might actually do some good for the country. Cameron and Brown are trying to outmanoeuvre each other. One comes up with an appallingly right-wing piece of policy; the other tries to claim it was his idea in the first place! These are people who claim to be at the centre. They aren't. And unless the left wants to stop pretending that Labour is their party and does something about it, the arguments will have been and gone. Are we on the left so stupid that we think Labour is still listening? They're too busy chasing Rupert Murdoch to care about the voters. And the sad thing is, in Labour clubs up and down the country, people will still think that things might change - the same people who thought things would change with Blair, or Brown. How many more years of this do the left need before they realise Labour isn't Labour any more? How much longer will they be fooled?