Letter: How Labour could widen political choice in Britain

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The Independent Online
Sir: Andrew Marr's reference to Aneurin Bevan in his comment on Gordon Brown's decision not to stand for the Labour leadership ('Key player puts his party first', 2 June) seems somewhat bizarre.

Bevan's strictures on politicians unable to 'influence the course of British politics by as much as a hair's breadth' can also be applied to Gordon Brown and his colleagues. Far from influencing anything, they have themselves been influenced into repositioning their party somewhere in the soft grey centre of British politics.

Would Gordon Brown agree with Bevan that the Tories are 'vermin', or accept his case for nationalising the 'commanding heights of the economy'? Raising Bevan's ghost serves only to point up the sheer narrowness of the policy debates in today's Labour Party.

Bevan influenced British politics as much by his distinctive style as by his policies, some of which changed not just the Westminster circus but the whole of British society. The most surprising aspect of your coverage is that you have taken the contest among these dull, interchangeable nonentities so very seriously. A truly independent approach would have been to question whether any Labour leader could arrest the steady decline of political choice in Britain, and, accordingly, to treat the contenders much as you treat the Royal Family.

Yours faithfully,

PATRICK HEENAN

MONIQUE LAMONTAGNE

London, W2

2 June

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