Sir: As a member of the Barnsley Labour Party, I am surprised by the views attributed to activists in Simon Garfield's article, "They're not bitter, they're for Blair" (9 May). Statements such as
the present leadership is so terrified of activists saying or doing the wrong things that they are exercising a degree of Stalinism that limits open debate
are totally unrepresentative of ordinary Labour Party members in Barnsley and manifestly wrong. As we have just completed the biggest consultation exercise in our history, where all sides of the debate were given a fair hearing, this comment is not only misleading but also offensive to members.
If Mr Garfield had set aside his view of Barnsley as a town of whippets, he would find that the Labour Party in Barnsley is as vibrant as the town. In Barnsley, the Labour party is neither Liberal nor dead: we are a modern democratic socialist party, reborn and ready for government.
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