Letter: Advice to Blair

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The article purportedly written by the Prime Minister ("If control freakery means strong leadership, then I plead guilty", 20 November) is dismaying. It is extraordinary how Mr Blair seems unaware and dismissive of the widespread and rising revolt, or even revulsion, against much of the style and substance of new Labour.

Many of us who have never voted other than Labour, who applauded the modernisation of the party to render it electable, and who rejoiced when our party finally returned to government last year, are now profoundly disillusioned.

Jettisoning socialism is fine by me, but what I can't abide is how illiberal new Labour is. Did anyone really vote for more macho leadership in May 1997? We voted for change. And what did we get?

Just another bunch of elitists who know what is best for us - and who, when the plebs venture to disagree, resort to nasty Leninist tricks to fix the outcome so that only their obedient little clones get elected. My notion of a modern Labour Party is one in which variety of opinion and robust debate would be viewed as a strength, not a thought-crime.

Never did I expect to support either the House of Lords or Ken Livingstone. But at the moment, both are defending liberty against the intolerable conceit and potential danger represented by the Millbank and Downing Street cabals. Mr Blair should ignore these evidently incompetent spin-doctors, and try a different tack: more relaxed, tolerant, listening, compassionate - dare I even say, humble? Otherwise, lots of us can see no good reason to vote Labour ever again.


Shipley, West Yorkshire