The sad death of John Smith in 1994 turned out to be a tragedy for the whole nation as it brought to an end the long history of political and democratic choice in the UK.
Whoever was Labour leader come the 1997 general election was going to be prime minister. But what Smith's death did was allow in the 'reformers' who wanted to shift the party sharply to the right, to fight the Tories in their own backyard. Their thinking, it is said, was to make the Tories unelectable by pushing them so far to the right that they would never again win a majority. But what the likes of Blair and Mandelson failed to recognise, as they deliberately disenfranchised millions of tradional Labour voters, was that the UK electorate is fickle and eventually they will vote for a change, no matter what the alternative is.
Despite winning a second victory in 2001, New Labour launched an inquiry into where millions of their votes has vanished to, as if they didn't already know the answer. An that answer was - the people who had waited 18 years for Labour to win only to get a slightly less right wing version of the Tory government they had just ousted were mightily cheesed-off. And so they chose not to vote for anyone, as they no longer had a party that represented their interests. In other words they had become disenfranchised. And what greater evidence can there be for this than this chart, which shows with only one exception, the only times in the past hundred years, the turnout at a general election has fallen below 70% has been every election since the inception of the New Labour government in 1997. Blair's gamble was that the disenfranchised would never vote Tory and he was right - they haven't, but having seen their jobs disappear and quality of life suffer under successive right leaning (and full on right wing) governments, some in the first instance turned to the BNP and in 2015 turned in much greater numbers to UKIP,
So here we are today nearly twenty years on. We have a Tory government who set the whole debt bubble off in 1986, who have now doubled the national debt and taken us out of the EU without a paddle apparently leading Labour by double figures in the polls. And we have a parliamentary Labour Party stacked to the brim with Blairites, the media has labelled 'moderates' and 'rebels' at the same time. Not that the media nor the 'modrebs' ever display such inconsistency in their attacks on Corbyn, in which their unity has only been matched by their ferocity. Anyone who has remembers 'A Very British Coup' can't fail to draw comparisons.
So well done Tony, you wrecked the Labour Party, made them unelectable and destroyed all opposition to the right wing political monopoly, or perhaps that's the been the plan all along.