So, lipstick is power ("The Red Brigade, 28 January). Eat your heart out, Shirley Chisholm. If only she'd had the benefit of Barbara Follett's advice, we might have seen a black woman in the White House. No wonder we have to look to America for signs of life in the women's movement. And it is hardly surprising that feminism is increasingly regarded as a luxury that is confined to the rich and privileged.

As to the advantages to the Labour Party of an image consultant, well, I must grudgingly admit that Robin Cook looks absolutely fabulous in those lovely autumnal hues. But has anybody noticed that he is still a member of the Opposition, and that we are in the 16th year of Conservative government? This kind of thing would be slightly less nauseating if the Labour Party had not lost four elections in a row.

To paraphrase Mrs Follett, as a political historian I find it truly depressing that this is the public face of Labour Party women, who seem to have had all passion groomed out of them and look (and sound) as if they would be more at home in a soap-powdercommercial.

rena valeh London SW10