LETTER : Civil liberties on the slippery slope

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From Ms Anna Coote

Sir: David Aaronovitch cites me in his interview with Jack Straw (Section Two; "Labour's Essex man", 20 December) as a representative of "liberal- minded folk" concerned with the rise of social authoritarianism in the ranks of new Labour. OK, I admit it. Next he accuses me of gut-level allegiance with "filthy, intimidating, obscenity-shouting addicts" and indifference to the fears of "little old ladies going about their lawful business".

Good grief! Can it be true? I thought I was mounting a defence of civil liberties. I thought I was voicing alarm at the exclusive, punitive "communitarian" ideas which have seduced some of our politicians. I had no idea I was on the slippery slope to decadence and disorder. Lock me up, Jack, before I do any more harm.

Yours faithfully,

Anna Coote

Deputy Director

Institute for Public Policy

Research

London, WC2

20 December

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