Letter: Backing Benn

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Rarely has your newspaper carried anything so spiteful as Gerald Kaufman' attack on Tony Benn (28 June). Whether one agrees with all of the opinions Mr Benn has expressed over the years or not, he has always had the courage and integrity to argue for them frankly and cogently, in marked contrast to most politicians, in particular those associated with "new Labour".

Does Mr Kaufman's antipathy towards "the workers" imply that the working- class movements of the 19th century for such issues as freedom of the press and political representation have been shoved down the Memory Hole? One might have expected Mr Kaufman to pay at least a grudging tribute to Mr Benn's consistent stand in favour of civil liberties, the accountability of power, and parliamentary democracy against unelected and unaccountable rule from Brussels and Frankfurt. Or are such ideas verboten in new Labour?

DAVID BOTSFORD

London W11

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