David Randall: So farewell, then, the New Labour years

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The Independent Online

"Things Can Only Get Better", Cherie in a dressing-gown, and a bright, confident May morning. Bernie Ecclestone. Pretty straight kinda guys. That catch in his voice. The smile. Sincerity. "She was the People's Princess."

Alastair Campbell. Cool Britannia.

Step changes, strategies and stakeholders. Enablement, diversity and outreach. Projects, partnerships and initiatives. Above all, for all those "communities". Frank Field asked to "think the unthinkable"; Roy Jenkins' report on electoral reform. Blairites, Brownites, "Blair Babes" and nom-doms. Euan in Leicester Square;

Ron Davies on Clapham Common; and a slow handclap from the WI.

The Good Friday Agreement. Sure Start. PFI, MMR and CCTV. Asbos, 24-hour drinking, Saturday night in town centres, knives, hoodies, marching yobs off to the nearest cash machine, and "a few eye-catching initiatives". Hate crime, date crime, and a thousand other new crimes. 'Elf 'n' safety. Risk assessments. Inappropriate behaviour. Compensation. Pay-offs. Blue skies thinking. Lord Birt, tsars, envoys, focus groups, special advisers, Jo Moore, and "a good day to bury bad news". Targets. Tick boxes. More targets. "New money."

An ethical foreign policy; 9/11; "We will pay the blood price." Dodgy dossiers, weapons of mass destruction, 45 minutes, David Kelly, a body, and no inquest. Afghanistan, Iraq, death tolls and Wootton Bassett. Hutton, Butler and Chilcot. Helmand, Basra and Baha Mousa. Home-grown terror cells. Tanks at Heathrow, 7/7, weedkiller bombs, terror raids, 42 days, extraordinary rendition. "Yo, Blair!"

Mortgages of up to 125 per cent, property portfolios and opportunities. Trimdon, Bristol, Connaught Square and Buckinghamshire. Location, location, location. Blair in chinos, blue jeans, billionaire's villas, and on the sofa of government. Reshuffles and lost ministers: Alan Milburn, Clare Short, Ruth Kelly, Charles Clarke, and more. Lord Mandelson of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the County of Durham.

Cherie's freebie shopping grab in Melbourne. Gordon and the Arctic Monkeys. "Frank Dobson for London mayor!" The late, lamented Robin Cook. And "the one and only Mo". Gordon's five economic tests. Stealth taxes. Millennium Dome. Tuition fees. Cash for honours. Lord Levy. A-level pass rate. Selling gold reserves at the bottom of the market. Civil partnerships. Immigration. Asylum-seekers. Yarlswood. Sangatte. Carole Caplin. Cherie and Tony at it five times a night. Baby Leo. Foot and mouth.

Walter Wolfgang. Blunkett's bobbies, Blunkett's expenses; Kimberly Quinn, DNA, and a baby. Prescott – croquet and Chevening, nookie in the office, and feeling the tectonic plates move. Blair goes envoying, JP Morganing, speechifying, and money-making. "Let the work of change begin."

A Government of All the Talents. The October 2007 General Election That Never Was. Summer floods. Derek Conway & Co. Mickey Martin, Margaret Moran, Elliot Morley, moats, mortgages, and home flippers. Jacqui Smith and her husband's late-night movies. Light-touch financial regulation, bank bonuses and bull markets. Northern Rock, credit crunch, and bailouts. The 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 leadership plots. David Miliband's banana. Alan Johnson. Swine flu. Hoon for hire, Hewitt for hire. Byers for hire.

An election. "I come from an ordinary middle-class family in an ordinary town." A volcanic eruption. The leaders' debates. That smile, so different from Tony's. Nick Clegg. A three-horse race. Gillian Duffy. "She was just a sort of bigoted woman." Penitence. Blair back campaigning. The deficit. Pretty broke kinda guys.

The end.Or is it?