New Labour have been obliterated. They're finished. It's over. There's no point thinking they're anything other than destroyed. While many other centre-right Government parties in Europe held their votes despite the economic crisis, New Labour have been taken to the cleaners.
After years of targeting wavering Tory voters to try and fight for the few thousand swing votes needed to take a general election, taking for granted the millions who traditionally voted Labour because they believed it was the right thing to do, New Labour have seen it all come home to them. As soon as the Tories have got their act together and come up with a half-decent presentation - albeit without any actual policies or principles other than making Dave Cameron's extremely rich mates pay even less tax than they do already - those wavering voters have gone back to where their natural instincts probably were.
New Labour moved further and further to the right, and couldn't understand why its vote fell off a cliff. For years they had just assumed that Labour voters had the blind loyalty of football fans and would simply turn out and put an X next to the Labour candidate, regardless of what he or she actually stood for. This treating of real supporters with contempt can be seen in Labour's destruction at the polls. What's a good enough reason to vote Labour? Don't they just want the same things as the Tories - who seem a bit more competent and less tainted by the mistakes of the past 10-11 years?
Why bother voting for Labour? They don't listen. They don't care. They treat you with complete and utter disregard. When they wanted to go to war, they didn't care that it wasn't what the people wanted - in particular, their core voters. They couldn't care less. They wanted war, so voters were ignored, and traditional Labour voters were patted on the head and patronisingly told that this spivvy bunch of pompadoured barristers knew what was best for them, and that they should shut up and let the clever people get on with Government. And now they wonder why those voters didn't turn up when the party really needed them. They shouldn't wonder.
Labour have made the country a worse place. Sure, their die-hard supporters, clinging to the wreckage this morning, will point to things like the minimum wage, but it's not enough. The gap between rich and poor has got wider, under a Labour Government. The country has gone to war against the will of its people, under a Labour Government. The political class has decided to assault the freedoms and liberties of the people as part of its 'war on terror', under a Labour Government. Citizens have been tortured, under a Labour Government. The Minister for immigration has sounded like a hard-right attack dog, under a Labour Government - and yet this morning they will be wondering why so many have voted for the fascists of the BNP and the anti-immigration UKIP.
And that's the other story - that so many people have voted for hatred, prejudice, racism and fear. Look at the figures and it seems that the extreme right vote has merely held up in certain areas of the country while other voters haven't bothered to turn up, but whatever the reason, we woke up this morning to two BNP MEPs. That means more money for the BNP, more momentum they can take into future elections, and more legitimisation for a bunch of thugs whose policies are a sick joke. It means the fight against them has to go on, and get stronger. It's not an argument for first-past-the-post; it's an argument for the other parties giving a shit about the electorate and actually coming up with decent policies. You don't need to pander to the far-right to see them off at the ballot box; there's no way you can make racists suddenly see the error of their ways. What you have to do is try to ensure that the vast majority of the population have somewhere to put an X that they feel happy with. That's what New Labour have failed to do.