Some more morbid symptoms. 'Gordon Brown tells post office unions 'there is no alternative'', said one of the more (inadvertently) historically droll headlines in the last few days. What is grimly fascinating about New Labour's relentless determination to flog at least 30% of the Post Office at the same time as it takes control of 95% of RBS, is that the vaguely Keynesian rhetoric of the last few months has been playing a strange game of hide-and-seek. When it comes to the truly pathetic attempts to convince the RBS boss to forego his enormous pension, the rhetoric is a populistic one of fat cats, putting 'people before bankers', etc etc (obviously the genuinely 'Keynesian' solution of an appropriately punitive hike in income tax is beyond the pale). Yet when it comes to grappling with the unions and the bulk of the Labour Party, currently at risk of one of its rare moments of backbone, it's 1997 all over again, and amusingly the idea seems to be that vanquishing the left will be some kind of great electoral coup. Look at this story, and note how little has actually changed. The phraseology is so dated you can practically hear the tones of D:REAM in the background, or visualise FBU strikers being sacrificed on the Murdoch altar. In exactly the same news story where you will find Fred Goodwin getting a token bashing and the claim that 'markets alone will not do the job', there is a very familiar New Labour litany: change! Tough Choices! No surrender to the unions! No turning back!