Tessa Jowell Ken Livingstone Olympics
Tessa Jowell was the driving force behind New Labour's Olympics bid Reuters

I know I am not alone when I say that the thought of New Labour now makes me feel slightly nauseous.

Three election victories with huge (1997) very big (2001) and substantial (2005) majorities and 11 years of power were wasted by Blair, Brown, Campbell, Mandelson et al. The historic oppportunity to reinvent Britain for social democracy was lost.

Instead, today we are reaping the whirlwind of how Blair and Brown were bedazzled, bamboozled and browbeaten by the "banksters".

Spivvy hedge fund guys and dodgy financiers formed queues at the doors of No 10 and 11 Downing Street, hawking the snake-oil of the "debt revolution" that promised to defy economic physics with a catch-all cure to boom and bust. How New Labour guzzled it up, turning their backs on the party's hisotrics roots in manufacturing in favour of a consumerist paradise lost where we would all either work at Homebase or (mis) sell financial services.

Indeed, one could argue that the only brand of socialism New Labour ever ascribed to was a mutant "socialism of the rich". When the casino banks finally imploded under the weight of epic greed and monumental incompetence they were rescued by hard- earned taxpayers' billions and the City of London became the greatest state-subsidised industry in history.

Positive landmarks of New Labour

The other horror story was the Iraq War and the Big Lie. Using all the powers of his silky oratory to mind-mangle the British public that Saddam had WMDs and he could use them against the UK, Blair plunged the UK into a political and military disaster that killed and injured thousands of young British soldiers.

But for all the bitter taste, looking back across the panorama of the recent epoch there are a few positive landmarks that bear the New Labour imprimatur.

I believe New Labour rescued the NHS from death-by-a-thousand Tory cuts and the billions Gordon Brown made available made a difference.

In 1998, when a close relative was seriously ill, the hospitals I visited were visions of hell. The walls of the grubby corridors I walked along towards grim, over-heated wards appeared translucent with a toxic patina of filth as I tried not to breathe the dog-food stench of the slop supposed to sustain the ill, condemned to the "care" of medical staff who were too poorly paid and overworked to give a toss about the miserable wretches lying between stained, frayed sheets.

When I repeated the sad rituals of the worried relative in 2010 I witnessed that our health service had risen from the near dead. The infrastructure was shiny and new, the food was edible and the staff (young Poles, Czechs, Irish and Ghanaians) were caring, dedicated and humane.

Olympic vision

And now I'm happy to also pin a gold medal on New Labour for its Olympic vision. The blueprint for these brilliant, joyous, well-organised London 2012 games was drawn up under Blair and bankrolled by Brown (Indeed, the electric atmosphere in London over the last two weeks recalls one sunny day in May 1997 when Britannia was cool and "things could only get better").

London 2012 was planned and its foundations laid (and laurels to the New Labour Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, who was the driving force behind it) long before David Cameron - who has built a narrative on sorting out the mess left by the last government - and Boris Johnson arrived to exploit the glory

New Labour has proved that the state can create and follow through on inspired mega-projects. Indeed, the only real Olympics cock-up involved private enterprise and the profit motive in the shape of the G4S security fiasco that was only resolved by recruiting in an army (the Army) of state employees. I read in the financial press, however, that G4S's share price won't be affected long-term.

Plus ca change.

Julian Kossoff is managing editor of IBTimes UK