Letter: All in a spin

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The Independent Culture
All in a spin

Sir: "Peter Millbank" describes how New Labour's general secretary, Margaret McDonagh, has arranged the Millbank open-plan office so that she can keep her heads of department and their colleagues under constant scrutiny ("I've had enough and I'm not going to spin any more", 9 December).

Surely this arrangement must be modelled on Jeremy Bentham's proposed "Panopticon", a prison in which a single guard could keep all the prisoners in view.

It's pleasing that new Labour shows this knowledge of the great 19th- century reformer and utilitarian. No doubt Millbank is also aware that Bentham gave his body to University College London to be put on permanent display, where it can be seen to this day. Do they have any plans in that direction I wonder? Frank Dobson? Ken Livingstone? "Our Mutual Friend"?

ANDREW SPACKMAN

Daventry, Northamptonshire

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