So how it was is mostly not how it is remembered or described. The Conservative statements on Labour’s record referring to ‘Labour Profligacy’ (many factually wrong) trumped Labour’s poor/defensive statements defending it.
The misrepresentations are of course repeated indefinitely – for example see Mail on Sunday, 9 July, 2017, p12 by Simon Walters: “reckless Labour spending” & “Brown’s profligacy”
This is not meant to suggest that Labour politicians/supporters would not take a similar approach if the situation was reversed.
The trend continued under the Coalition Government. Their manifesto commitment was to get rid of the deficit by the end of the parliament, Labour’s strategy was to reduce the deficit more slowly. I remember a piece by the editor of the financial section of the Mail on Sunday stating the the Conservatives had implemented Labour’s strategy, since they only reduced the deficit by about 50%. They had implemented Labour’s strategy while saying it would be a disaster for the country!
No party is saying that after reducing the deficit to zero in 202x it will take many more years (10?) of austerity + GDP growth to generate the surpluses to pay down the debt to where it was pre-crash unless alternative strategies are found.
Why is paying down the debt important? So that taxes can be used for the benefit of the population and not paying interest on the debt. Are there alternative strategies to austerity?