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The Darkest day in English History.

Can England recover after a decade of misrule by the EU Subservient McLabour Regime?.

Its touch and go isnt it!.

Darkest Day is right!! Even after this time I can't bring myself to watch it!

Sally - its worth watching to understand why we got to where we were two years ago. Kellner made a telling point late in the programme that we had become a party of the shires due to our losses in local Government and the loss of our activist base. This and last years local elections have taken us back into contention across this country includiong the urban areas - still not enough but getting back.
Why did it take us 8 years to begin to reform?

I was only 15 when that happened, and I was devastated even then.

I think I stayed up long enough to see our first seat being won. Unfortunately Labour had about 98 by that stage.

I'm watching now. Alan Clark is on - hoping that Major doesn't resign too quickly so to allow the party to carefully consider the way forward with no precipitate actions. If Major hadn't rushed to resign and to The Oval I wonder how different things might have been?

It's absolutely captivating to watch. It still hurts watching the Conservative meltdown but I feel angry this time. Labour promised a new dawn and we all know what we got.

One thing I most remember from that dreadful night in 1997 was how all of the Tory politicians looked so grey and exhausted. We really had run out of steam. Brown looks as grey and exhausted today!

"we had become a party of the shires"[email protected]

Thatcher courted Mondeo/Essex man and we need a contemporary version of that move. We need to show that we would make a difference by controlling immigration and tackling crime in a way that protects those whose lives are being directly blighted by them, not some long term indirect route to a solution.

"Why did it take us 8 years to begin to reform"?

The answer is simple and has very litte to do with Cameron: it took eight years for the media to fall out of love with Blair. Before then the Conservatives could have "reformed" as much as it liked - it would have made no difference. It took eight years for Blair's chickens to become egg bound.

And they only fell out of love with Blair because of the Iraq war - the BBC class still loves the high tax, high spending, social liberalism of the Labour, LibDem, Cameroon project.

Too true, I wonder where Blair and Labour would have been today if there had been no Iraq.

It took 8 years because the minds of the people were fogged up by some great Neptunian delusion, ie smoke and mirrors. It's clearing now, and we can all see only too clearly what they have been up to.

The coverage reminds me of the etent of tactical voting that undid us in 97. Peter Snow has just said that Labour should 'only' have won a majority of 100 if the swing had been uniform but it was nearly twice as much because of swing voters' determination to vote for anyone to get the Tory out. That's one very big thing that David Cameron has been so effective at changing.

It was bound to take 8 years if we are honest. We had become tired and our record of economic competence badly dented by the ERM debacle. Blair swept into power on a tide of voter hope, including sadly, many ex-tories. The fact is that Blair/Brown and New Labour have let people down and that is why people have become so disillusioned. At the time people felt Labour were right for the country. Psychologically they were not going to quickly except that they were wrong and they had made the wrong decision. The more we told them they were wrong at that time the more they felt we were out of touch and attacking them. Thankfully that phase has ended and people have seen through New Labour/Blair/Brown. We have begun to re-build and win again but we laso have to convey clearly and practically what we stand for and where we will take the country. In my view Cameron has touched on the right approach re social responsibility but it needs more work to put meat on it and enthuse people more to ensure a clear majority in the next GE,

Matt

And they only fell out of love with Blair because of the Iraq war

I agree. I think had he had the sense to stay out of that, he would have won in 2005 with a third landslide. Remember a lot of Conservative gains in 2005 were a result of Labour voters staying at home or voting LibDem.

swing voters' determination to vote for anyone to get the Tory out. That's one very big thing that David Cameron has been so effective at changing.

Hmm if you are basing that on local elections , I think there are still a lot of people who do not wish to see a conservative government nationally, and when the prospect of one appears, they will vote to prevent it, holding their noses if required.

I'm realistic enough to realise you will win an election someday but what I don't feel yet is the same feeling one got between 1993 and 1997, where literally every problem, every national woe was being blamed on the government, and where everyone from rock singers to the Catholic church was saying "this government must go".

So I think you might have to wait a while yet.

The Tories got exactly what they deserved in '97. They were split, tired and arrogant. Their internal arguments never took the electorate into consideration. The general public saw how the party had savaged the best prime minister this country had seen since the war. They were replaced by a party who offered a change, and the public bought it wholesale. As it turns out, the party that offered that change has been an unqualified disaster for this country. So what does the new Conservative party offer, a change? No, more of the same. When you have a discredited Government, as this Government surely is, people want a break from the status quo, but what Cameron (Blair's mini-me), offers is a continuation of New Labour's policies. When Britain rejected Labour in '79 and when they rejected us in '97 there was the chance of a change of direction, no more. I think the Conservative party could learn from what has happened in France. Give the voters a choice.

I felt deeply unsettled watching all that unfold in 97 - and I was only 13 then!

Everyone was on the tv with smiles bt I couldn't help but feel something omnous was on the horizon.

Certainly in my Tory household, it was fear more than anything else, not hope that day.

I wonder where Blair and Labour would have been today if there had been no Iraq.
The Ba'athist regime would have been a continuing problem, ultimately a conflict was inevitable - the regime would have gone on playing games with weapons inspectors while developing new missiles, ultimately international attention at some point might have shifted away and at that point Iraq would resume it's nuclear programme. If at some point Iraq used nuclear weapons against neighbouring countries or even in an internal struggle for example against the Kurds or Marsh Arabs then people would have asked how such a thing could have been allowed to happen and Labour would have ended up in trouble. It may never be known for sure if at the time of the war Iraq actually had Chemical weapons stocks hidden, if they are hidden in the desert somewhere in a forgotten bunker then they might not turn up for thousands of years, or the Ba'athists could be moving them around preparing for a day when coalition forces are out of Iraq and a less watchful administration is in the White House in order to strike. I am sure that it is only a matter of time before nuclear weapons are used somewhere in a Civil War.

I doubt that Conservative support was much affected by the War in Iraq - it probably would have edged slightly forward anyway. No doubt the Liberal Democrats and Respect (who probably would have been formed anyway) would not have gained as much support, there would still have been the 13 seat reduction in number of Scottish seats - Labour's vote would have been closer to 40% with a majority more like 100, but the War in Iraq wasn't the only issue as there were grumblings over PFI and reforms of public services generally, the War in Iraq probably distracted from this to some extent, in addition you can't run a country by only taking easy decisions - in the longer term this stores up trouble as a government avoids doing neccessary things because of short term consequences for popularity - the war strategy and strategy of the aftermath and the actual reasons given for the war were flawed, but if Iraq ends up with a successful economy and the new Iraqi state establishes strong control over Iraq then it could end up in the longer term with public opinion thinking that it had merit after all.

Watching the program yesterday it reminded me of the worst attribute of 'New' Labour. That they actively fanned irrational hatred of the Conservative Party, which was deeply irresponsbible and will return to haunt them. Clearly the Conservative Party of the mid-90's was not an attractive crowd however I think that the way Labour set about deliberately trashing an already damaged commodity was terribly unbecoming.

That within Labour it is still acceptable to have an irrational prejudice against Conservatives is incredibly instructive. I do not hate Labour, I disagree with them profoundly and believe that they have the wrong policies. I do not hate them. From watching the re-run of the '97 results it is clear that a generation of Labour has been bought up to viscerally hate the Conservative Party with a passion bordering on mania and that they in a large part still have that pathological outlook.

Rewatching this, peoples sheer hatred of the Tories in 1997 is something that shocked me too.

Looking at the newsreel shots of Major leaving the palace in his car, following his resignation, I saw a sea of middle fingers raised at him from the crowd, plus a very audible; "F**k off Major, you W**KER!", which was rather uncomfortable to watch to say the least.

Why they couldn't just behave with some decency, I don't know.

Totally unecessarily vulgar behaviour and rather "un-British", I might add, too.

Peter, I'm not defending peoples "Totally unecessarily vulgar behaviour " in 1997, but to understand it, you need to realise just how strongly people felt.

The Conservative government had been deeply unpopular since the late 80s poll tax fiasco, but as you know a divided opposition and a smear campaign against Kinnock let them sneak back in in 1992. So many people had been wanting a change of government for the better part of a decade.

For people who had lost their homes in the recession, people feeling the brunt of public sector spending cuts, people on low incomes, this wasn't just a question of which 'team' won tonights 'game', it was much, much more important than that.....people felt strongly and strong langauge was used.

The Tories did themselves no favours either by extending that term to the full five years. They must have realised by 1996 they stood no chance of winning another election.

To many of us, that last year felt like an eternity and peoples pent up frustrations simply came flooding out on that election night.

Fair play to the boy Blair: he promised to govern "as New Labour", and by God he has....

Not quite sure what you mean by that, William. If you mean he has stuck to the middle ground and hasn't gone back to old Labour ideals, you are correct. I only wish he had!

Watching the final part of the coverage - Blair going to Buckingham Palace etc - my predominant feeling last night was the same as at the time. Isn't our system for peaceful, orderly and almost instantaneous changes of power hugely impressive?

This time though there were two further thoughts that I did not have that day:
1. What do those smiling faces in the (specially selected Party loyalist) crowd in Downing St think now? Are they embarrassed with their enthusiasm? and
2. Isn't it a nice thought that it is no longer fanciful to ponder a similarly impressive transfer of power in the opposite direction in 2 or 3 years' time? And even nicer to ponder whether Brown will be as graceful about it as Major was.

It was also amusing to see not only how much Blair has aged, because we are often reminded of that, but how much all the pundits have. Oh, and will Paxman, when asked to sum up in 2009 or 2010, if the Tories have won say "it's been fun" as his young self did on 2 May 1997?

09:07 Comstock

Sure. But this episode took place on the morning after, just after he'd left the Palace in front of tourists, families and children.

I understand people's anger, but this doesn't excuse downright rudeness, aggression and vulgarity.

As a nation, we are supposed to behave with dignity.

I understand people's anger, but this doesn't excuse downright rudeness, aggression and vulgarity.

Fair point. It doesn't, and I accept a lot of people out there find the F and W words in particular offensive. However I would temper my agreement with you with one thought.

In a country where election turnout struggles to reach 60%, where apathy is everywhere, I kinda wish more people still felt this passionately about politics (even if we can agree they went about it in the wrong way on this occasion).

Personally I never felt any hate for Major at all, unlike his predecessor (but lets not go there!)

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