My lot introduced the NHS, my lot aspire to full employment, my lot wouldn't have sold Royal Mail off to their mates for a song, my lot didn't introduce the poll tax or the bedroom tax, my lot haven't introduced targets at Job Centres where the employees have to knock back so many claimants per week, I could go on. Vile is a mild expletive for this government John.
To be fair though, the last Labour government, especially from 2005-2010, did:
- cut the NHS budgets of unfavoured departments to bolster those that get the headline attention. Thousands of mental health beds were cut across the UK in that time and limits to mental health treatments were introduced for the first time. Competition was introduced across the NHS, as was a widening of the postcode lottery that politicians pretend doesn't exist.
- try to get rid of Royal Mail but it was blocked by the unions. The Blair part of that government really did want shot of it and would have disposed of it if they had a chance. Admittedly they may not have been as openly mercenary as the current Coalition were.
- introduce many taxes for small businesses that were punitive in nature with assumptions of guilt built in making it prohibitively expensive to challenge. IR35 is a prime example but there are many others. They could have easily introduced those rules in a fair way to tackle genuine problems but they implemented them as catch-alls with a view that it's better to catch a few innocents while stopping the guilty rather than other way around. At the same time, they cut large business taxation and refused to close the loopholes the system that allow the big companies to pay relatively little tax on UK earnings.
- introduce target cultures in many public sector organisations, especially the NHS, where focus was changed from delivering clinical needs to meeting artificial targets.
On your last point about unfair and vindictive attacks on jobseekers, remember that the current Labour Work and Pensions shadow minister has promised to be even tougher on benefit claimants than the Tories. Note that she talks about benefit claimants rather than benefit abusers or fraudulent claimants.
Don't get me wrong on this, I'm voting Labour at the next election as the least worst option but they deserve little or no credit for any of the points you mention when comparing them to the current Coalition. Again, being precise about it being a Coalition rather than the Tories.
Labour as it stands now is in the same position as the Democrats in the US. The rational centre and centre-left people vote Democrat not because they see the Democrats as matching their views but because they know the alternative is the Republicans, the very naked truth is that a vote for Labour or the Democrats is a vote for a centre-right party with the aim of stopping a right wing nutjob party getting in. At the last general election, I did try to do it the right way and vote for a party with heavily promoted centre-left policies, the Lib Dems, and all that did was help a Coalition with predominantly right wing actual deliverables come into force. I've learned my lesson and will do my best to get the least worst option into power with my vote.