Letter: Difficult Labour

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was surprised by your leading article (29 May) praising Tony Blair's "third way". While recent decisions on economic policy may indeed give the appearance of a principled position, in reality they are the worst sort of unprincipled compromise - first promising policies to please the trade unions, and then implementing them in such a way as to please the CBI.

Robin Cook's vaunted "ethical" foreign policy lies exposed as a sham. The "new" European policy consists in continuing with the previous government's policies, but saying so more politely. At home Jack Straw has embarked on an unprecedented programme of populist authoritarianism. Even constitutional reform has largely been a sham: the new devolved parliaments have few real powers, as all decisions on controversial issues have been reserved to Westminster, while the shambles of electoral reform (was it really necessary to have a different electoral system for every new body created?) shows every sign of being gerrymandered to preserve a Labour majority.

The Northern Ireland peace process is indeed an impressive achievement, but it stands alone.