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I appreciate that I didn't make myself clear. I should've bolded "hope". It's really what I was getting at. Hope's emotional, not rational, but it's very important. Building a wall, nationalising the trains. They sound nice and you can point to them. You can hope they're done. You can't point to a 1/3 reduction in crime. Most people are bored by statistics and if you feel safer in the streets, you probably aren't going to credit the government for it. Stupid, ungrateful, but that's how politics works. Massive investment in the NHS is good, but not if it can slow down again. When you run off a list of permanent Labour achievements, there’s a noticeable decline in how easy they are to point at. The NHS, mass housing and the modern welfare state, The Open University, Legalised homosexuality, Equal pay for women... the minimum wage and civil partnerships which have now been supplanted by gay marriage. Oh, and parliaments for Scotland and Wales and peace in NI, but who cares about the regions? Take away hope and things get very miserable indeed. It becomes increasingly tempting to vote for anyone who'll promise you something new if the alternative is nothing changing.
(For what it's worth, I left out winter fuel payments, sure start centres, etc because Labour's own achievements list on their website doesn't include those. Maybe this ties in to the point below.)
Blair was also his own worst enemy when it came to making it known he was doing good, not just doing "competence". I’d argue he purposefully crafted the impression of not doing good, because if you're giving money to single mothers and the poor then you're going to look left wing - and we all know what the electorate thinks of left-wing Labour leaders. That exacerbates the tendency not to credit the government with the things they've done - even if they did present it, it was almost inevitably in a textbook, boring way with little emotional appeal. Most people don't give a toss about a 15% reduction in some statistic. You've gotta make the message hit home.
On Blair himself: Credit where it's never given to him personally, he pushed Brown (who now pretends he was some kind of heir to Corbynism ruined by 2008, which I love.) to actually give the NHS more money, yielding the best quote in British politics - "You've stolen my fucking budget!"
Also: It's common to defend Blair with the explanation that compromise is necessary in politics, but Blair didn't really compromise. He made the party compromise with him. It's not like he wants the same world Corbyn does but realises it isn't viable to have it all. He has-and-had a completely different vision, and he could be bloody stubborn in pushing that vision. He said it himself at one point: Even if the old left-wing policies were the route to victory, he wouldn't take that route, because he thinks it's the wrong route for the country to take. Those aren't the words of a serial compromiser.