Letter: Blair's 'odious' cult of leadership

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The Independent Online
Sir: Further to your letters (3 July) "Tony Blair: hardly a dictator", I think the writers are quite wrong. The past two years have seen the building of a "cult of leadership" around Tony Blair that many members of the Party find quite odious.

The internal democracy of the Labour Party that was once the strength (and weakness) of the Party has been turned into little more than a mechanism for rubber stamping the edicts of the leader. While I share the writers' contention that we have suffered under 18 wasted years of Tory rule, I have to say that Tony Blair is viewed by many at every level of the Party as dictatorial, anti-democratic, and entirely cut off.

It is not just on devolution that genuine anger is focused. The reported policy of hitting "dole scroungers" for a hundred million pounds of savings many find nauseating. That those on the lowest rung of society should be scapegoated by the Labour Party is a bridge too far.

This week I heard Party members ask for the first time the question "will a Blair government be any better than the Tories?" A week ago that would have been unthinkable. Members previously loyal are now doubtful, while opponents previously silent are now vocal.

Perhaps this week Tony Blair finally found the straw that broke the camel's back. Certainly for me and many many members enough is enough. We cannot remain silent and still retain self-respect. Mr Blair has gone far in the past two years, perhaps this week he has gone too far.

IAN WHITE

Sheffield

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