Letter: Blair's new Labour looks like old Labour

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your editorial (27 April) asks Tony Blair to "tell us who our enemies are". They are ignorance and fear. In attempting to deal with these two phenomena Tony Blair and the Labour government, assuming this comes to pass, will have to address the relationship between labour and capital. Given that these two are dependent each upon the other, there is no inherent reason why they should be in conflict.

History, however, has demonstrated that, with rare exceptions, the private owners of capital have used it mercilessly to exploit labour and the land. This experience drove socialists to the conclusion that only the common ownership of capital and land could end what had become a conflict of interests. This was written into the Labour Party's Clause IV.

The experience of the command economies of the Soviet Union and East European countries and their accompanying political structures has demonstrated that common ownership itself is not without problems. Our own experience of public corporations and local government also demonstrates that there are unresolved problems of responsibility, accountability and efficiency.

How Tony Blair will free us from ignorance and fear only experience of a Labour government and his leadership will reveal, but there can be no doubt that he will try.

Bert Ward