The most pathetic aspect of Darling’s speech, just reiterated by Patricia Hewitt on the BBC’s coverage, was the recourse to comparisons with the last Tory government. Every administration, especially one that begins its life with an unambiguous landslide, feeds off the public’s desire not to turn back the clock. For years after 1997, Tony Blair was able to say: No Turning Back to the Tories (or, more specifically, to the dire Major era). But it is almost 11 years since a Conservative last held a red box or sat in a ministerial limousine. The teenagers who will vote for the first time in (say) 2010 were five years old when John Major departed the stage. Older voters no longer care. The exhumation of the corpse of the last Tory Government is a measure of Labour’s panic and its intellectual bankruptcy.