Letter: Labour must respect liberty

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rom Ms Christine Butterworth

Sir: It is depressingly predictable that Jack Straw (Another View, 4 July) and David Blunkett (letter, 5 July) should argue with Anna Coote's perceptive article (3 July) on Blairite policies. Hers was an accurate conceptual analysis; Labour's takeover of authoritarian Tory positions on crime and education is fundamentally incompatible with a view founded on the state's responsibilities to its citizens.

Mr Blunkett's stated priority of getting rid of "ineffective teachers" and Labour's tolerance towards over-funded selective education is a blow to traditional Labour supporters teaching in schools where expensive, experienced teachers are pushed out for cheaper newcomers. My son moves to his comprehensive in September - the head's welcome to us all was largely an appeal for money in the context of a 10 per cent cut on last year.

I've been teaching and training teachers for nearly 30 years, and I've never known teachers so stressed and demoralised. Labour really can't have their cake and eat it - if they want to woo lost Thatcherite voters back with policies that sound similar enough not to frighten their horses, they can say goodbye to those of us who've been keeping faith (and wasting our votes) - since 1979.

Yours faithfully,

Christine Butterworth

London, N19