John Hart confuses cause and effect and suggests actions as inevitable when they are not, in another attempt by Labour’s leftwing fringes to discredit the party and return it to its beloved losing ways, screeching at successive Tory governments from the sidelines (Briewe, 19 Oktober). The inescapable fact is that socialist Labour has not won an election since 1945 and does not look like ever doing so again. Unless we want to live our lives watching one Tory government after another dismantling all that is good about our society, we need to elect a Labour government, regardless of its ideological purity.
Tony Blair did many good things, as well as the bad ones of which we are constantly reminded, but does anyone imagine a Tory government wouldn’t have done those, en meer, without the good? There was nothing in the New Labour philosophy that made the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan inevitable, and the Tories in parliament broadly supported both of them.
And please, let’s stop painting Rupert Murdoch as the kingmaker he pretends to be. Blair’s victory was looking assured well before Murdoch switched sides, because that’s what he does. He simply backs the side that he believes will win and claims the credit.
It is a shame that John Hart can name so few tangible achievements of the Blair/Brown years. My guess is that he is loth to admit the huge success of this reforming government, possibly the best since the 1945-51 Attlee administration. Let me remind him: the minimum wage, Sure Start, smaller class sizes, huge investment in schools, the shortest hospital waiting lists for 40 jare, 11 years of uninterrupted economic growth – to name just a few of the benefits that helped the poorest in society. Not to mention peace in Northern Ireland, devolution and a constructive relationship with our European partners. All achieved by sensible social democratic policies that focused on delivery, not rhetoric.
I’d have them back in a heartbeat.
East Knoyle, Wiltshire
As someone who struggled through the Tory years of the 1980s and 90s, I beg to differ with those who play down Labour’s victory in 1997. Even for those of us stuck in “blue wall” constituencies, it felt glorious and full of hope. And life got better for us all. My mother in Wiltshire was finally able to have the knee replacement surgery she had needed for many years. And the village school our friends’ children attended was at last provided with indoor toilets.
Penistone, South Yorkshire