Letter: Old Labour hits back

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Letter: Old Labour hits back

Sir: Am I to believe from your report "Blair in assault on Old Labour" (22 June) that the mighty party machine with its computerised membership system, loyal volunteers and professional organisers that laid the Tories low in the general election is overnight become a ramshackle confederation of market traders? Some mistake, surely?

Can anyone seriously believe that Old Labour was responsible for our losses in the European election? It is a source of amusement in my constituency (traditional but a gain in the European election) that given the current marginalisation and compliance of the Labour left we can be blamed for anything at all.

The abolition of the General Management Committees would severely erode constituency organisation without improving participation. Reforms can be made without marginalising active members. The progress of the party in engaging directly with local communities may be disappointing, but the solution does not lie in the erosion of the democratic structure. Old Labour are still the workhorses of the party.

It is sometimes a temptation for even a good general to blame his troops after losing a tough battle, but given a little understanding, properly supplied and led from the front the campaign can still be won.

DAVID TAGGART

Vice Chairman, Hampstead and Highgate Constituency Labour Party

London NW1

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