Basildon, bastion of social concern: Letter

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Sir: As the first and only Labour MP to represent Basildon (thus far) may I compliment you on your local election coverage. However, the description of Basildon as a bastion of Thatcherism ("Alone in Essex as old friends fall out", 4 May) was somewhat misleading. The New Town has never been that.

Ever since the seat was constituted it has been highly marginal, reflecting the varying fortunes of successive governments while the large electorate made it difficult to predict the outcome of any election with any degree of certainty. Indeed, for a number of years I represented an electorate in excess of 100,000 voters.

The issues facing New Town populations throughout the 1960s-1980s were not only the wider, national concerns but also local democracy and decision making between the development corporation and the local councils.

I'm sorry that the media and political commentators too easily rehash stories about Essex man and Basildon man (and woman) and their apparent inability to make individual and sober judgements of local and national needs. Such stories are an insult to the many genuine political and social concerns to be found in Basildon at this time.

Professor Eric Moonman

London N7

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