First, credit where credit is due. Not everyone is worse off after 12 years of Labour. Some have done quite nicely, thank you. All that effort has paid handsome dividends. For them, success is measured in pounds, and things can only get better. They are progressive – progressively richer.
Tony Blair has the millionaire's property portfolio and the bank balance to prove it. Gordon Brown earns far more than he needs to pay his cleaner. Dozens of former ministers are even now in the revolving door that takes them effortlessly from government to corporate directorship.
Quangocrats stroke their gold-plated public sector pensions. The bankers you and I now pay for are once again earning fat bonuses. And Peter Mandelson boasts that he has no mortgage on his £2.2 million Regent's Park townhouse.
If Labour fails to pull out of its death spiral in the polls, and does indeed crash in flames some time next spring, a lucky few at the top will be able to walk away from the wreckage with a smile and, like the man in the Charles Addams cartoon, murmur "back to the old drawing board".
But the many Labour was supposed to look after are not escaping so lightly. On every measure that is dear to our current political leadership, the numbers point to a record of failure that vitiates everything that New Labour supposedly stands for.
Thousands of teenagers leave school barely able to read. Grinding child poverty is on the increase. Hospitals weighed down by bureaucracy struggle to make us healthier. Six million now rely on out of work benefits. One in six young people is neither in work nor in education. Entire neighbourhoods are blighted by feral children from households that bear no resemblance to what the rest of us understand as families.
Wherever Labour turns its eye it is confronted by the reality of its record in office, of promises that were not kept, and grand ambitions that have not been fulfilled. Already on the Left you can hear the wailings of those who ask why all those good intentions and billions spent have amounted to so little. The charge sheet lengthens by the day.
It is the poor who are most likely to be the victims of crime, yet violent offences are up by nearly 70 per cent since 1998, while robbery has risen by 20 per cent. It is the poorest areas where anti-social behaviour has the most debilitating effects, yet the number of recorded incidences has reached nearly 10,000 a day.
Reducing child poverty was supposed to be one of the big breakthroughs delivered by this Government, yet in the teeth of a recession it has risen for the third year in a row, with four million now living below the poverty line.
On most accepted measures, the gap between the richest and poorest continues to grow. The poorest 10 per cent of households have seen their weekly income fall for the past four years. It is now £9 lower than in 2002, and at the same level it was in 1999. Over the same period the richest 10 per cent of homes have seen their incomes rise by £37 a week. To Labour's shame, inequality is higher than when Mr Blair came to power, and at its highest level since 1961.
Those who relied on Labour to protect their interests have nothing to show for their votes, save a bleak existence dulled by ever greater doses of welfare sedative. Labour has failed its heartland supporters, and is now resorting to a "soak the rich" posturing that is destroying the winning coalition assembled by Mr Blair in 1997.
David Cameron spotted the opportunity at the turn of the year when he said it was time to talk about "progressive conservatism". While there was philosophical merit in reminding us that, from Disraeli to Thatcher, the Right has traditionally been the forcing house of great social advances, it was the politics that caught the attention of Westminster: here was a Tory leader taking the debate deep into the Labour heartland and casting himself as the saviour of the poor.
George Osborne used the dull days of August last week to develop the theme. The torch had been passed, he declared, and the Tories were now the "dominant force in progressive politics". It was a well-judged piece of summer mischief that reinforced an underlying truth. A withering riposte from Peter Mandelson about the Tories finally signing up to the liberal consensus could not disguise the Left's unease: it can see the liberal, reformist Cameron quietly stealing its clothes.
There is more to come. Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary who is in charge next week while the leadership triumvirate of Cameron-Osborne-Hague finishes its holidays, will return to the fray. The grid has been scrapped in favour of a renewed push on progressive conservatism that will hammer away at the idea that Labour has betrayed the poor and only Tory reforms can help them now. Expect to hear more about rebuilding Britain's broken society and the effects of long-term worklessness, alongside a concerted effort to nail Labour's "progressive failures".
To some, all this talk of progressive politics is a far cry from the red meat of traditional Tory discourse. The Conservative Right of the No Turning Back group is quietly steaming at the positions taken by Mr Cameron. Some even wonder whether the slog of Opposition and the odium of the voters after the expenses scandal is worth it. If all you end up with is a government that is "Conservative, Margaret, but not as we know it", what is the point? Only the prospect of power keeps them silent.
A poll for the PoliticsHome website this week found that voters of all stripes no longer associate "progressive" with "Left-wing" or even "liberal". Instead it is taken to mean "reforming", "modernising" and "enterprising", by a happy coincidence all values by which Mr Cameron wants to define his leadership.
The progressive label adopted by the leader is as much about posture as it is about principles of fairness, opportunity, greenery and security. It defines a new culture of openness and inclusivity that ranges from open primaries for candidate selections to his eye-catching public conversation about "Black Swan" threats this week with the thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Mr Cameron's fire is trained on Gordon Brown and the failures of a Labour Party that is neither caring nor competent. But he is also challenging those on his side who complain that the voters owe them more than rations, or whose Right-wing principles make them blind to the fears of the poorest, to think about how the party presents itself to an unsettled electorate.
I think I agree with every word!