Paper is 'sign of the party's move to right'

'Our leader's nickname, Tory Blair, is looking less like a joke'
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The Independent Online
The leaked Labour document divided the party's grassroots supporters in the bars and tea rooms at the TUC conference in Brighton.

Reaction ranged from those who thought the contents of the document were shocking to those who considered the whole matter a media hype.

Jim Hancock, from Ogmore constituency Labour Party in South Wales, described the leaked report as "scandalous - this will create a centralist state within our party", he said.

"I believe we must be seen as democratic or all the good work and effort put into new recruitment will be undermined."

Mr Hancock said his own CLP had seen a lot of the union members come into the party under the political levy scheme. "If they now believe they will have no voice, then we must be concerned." On the idea of an elite policy-making hierarchy, he said: "I do not want a Labour Party run by four or five people."

Andrew Wilkie, from Rushcliffe CLP, seemed clear about the meaning of the leaked document, entitled The Unfinished Revolution. "This is Labour trying to divorce its parents. This is a clear move to the right to cultivate new members, but ignores the disenchantment of socialists already in the party."

Pete Smith, of Northwest Leicester CLP, appeared more disappointed than angry. "Our party leader's nickname - Tory Blair - is now looking less like a joke. There is bound to be real worry about this."

However, some party members believe nothing new has been revealed by the leak.

David Norman, from Twickenham CLP in London, said: "This document is seven-months old and is the type of discussion document that continually flies round every political leader's office." Mr Norman said cus in the unions' block votes had already taken place and there was he said "no need for concern because there is nothing startling here".

With the shelving of any real congress debate over the national minimum wage and a clear determination by the TUC not to produce a conference that threatened Labour's electoral prayers, some Labour activists saw the drama of the leak as "the consequence of too much stage management".

John Mason, of Norwich CLP, said: "This is what happens if you try and orchestrate everything: you run the risk of a destabilising story coming out."

But even Tony Blair's detractors thought he could now still salvage something from the political debris flying around Brighton.

Mr Wilkie added: "This might prove to be the real blooding of Tony Blair. Old wounds have been opened - now we'll see how good he really is. Attlee, Wilson and Callaghan all faced the same problem. Now it's Blair's turn."