Letter: Labour scandals

Sir: Peter Mandelson's resignation is a refreshing development for a Labour Party which is bedevilled and politically corrupted by the myth of modernisation.

Regardless of what degree of financial or political impropriety occurred, or of what further revelations on ensue, the common perception is that it is unlikely that many of Mandelson's Hartlepool Labour-voting constituents could obtain a loan of pounds 340,000; hence his reticence at the time.

However, the main issue is that this transaction and previous scandals such as the Formula One affair all epitomise how the New Labour "election- winning" concept is nothing but a capitulation to the demands of the captains of industry and finance, and to free-market fundamentalism. It reveals that the small clique of business and image conscious New Labour executives who administer the show are unrepresentative of Labour voters and the Labour movement as a whole. As long as they remain at the helm, "misjudgements" like this will be just as endemic in this government as they were in the last.

Tony Blair has given the assurance that although his key modernising ideologue has gone, Mandelson's spectre will remain in New Labour policy. Hopefully though, his departure along with worsening economic problems may start a momentum to reassert Labour on the left of the political spectrum, thus ending this wretched bi-partisian consensus politics which inhibits real arguments and policy alternatives.

NICK VINEHILL

Snettisham, Norfolk

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