So, I understand New Labour putting forward reactionary proposals; they’ve always been functionaries of a particular form of neoliberalism. What I don’t understand is their basic lack of any political sense. The intriguing thing is that every stupid thing the government does is presented as if it were a canny political move. Owen pointed out New Labour’s increasing delusion that it’s still 1997, which is particularly clear in Peter Mandleson’s bizarre claim that Labour will lose the election if they don’t privatize the Post Office. How could anyone possibly think that? And today I see that Ed Balls has introduced some ludicrous educational centralization measure justified with some faux-populist nonsense about preventing Shakespeare from being removed from the curiculum.
The New Labour project was always based on appealing to some imagined Dail Mail reader. But this fantasy now seems somehow too obvious, too desparate. What has happened to New Labour’s fantasy, to cause this collapse?