Letter: Mandelson's project

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Labour ministers attempting to make capital out of Peter Mandelson's resignation should think again ("MPs back Prescott over `old values' ", 31 December). The electorate voted for new Labour and new Labour is what they expect in government.

Labour's "old values" - statist, parternalist, macho, bureaucratic and class-ridden - are deeply unattractive and unwanted. Tony Blair's project of modernising British society must be deepened in the coming year. Peter Mandelson's contribution to it should not be rubbished for one error of judgement.

New Labour's supporters must work with Tony Blair to complete four basic policies: democratising Britain through constitutional and electoral reform; strengthening the balance between enterprise and equality in the economy; a real ethical foreign policy (no more colonialist talk about cages, and stop tailing the US) and completing the revolution in new Labour by breaking the links with the trade unions and cementing a radical alliance with the Liberal Democrats.

Prescott and Co should remember that without new Labour they would not now be in government. The British people deserve the new politics which Peter Mandelson espoused: a free-enterprise, fair, democratic and inclusive society.

JOHN STRAWSON

London N19

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