LETTER: Labour's ignorant prince of darkness

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The Independent Online
From Lord Russell

Sir: I'm beginning to wonder whether Peter Mandelson's title, "Prince of Darkness", is an example of what historians call "the inflation of honour". The views attributed to him ("Mandelson denies right-wing agenda", 27 December) show an ignorance of Liberal Democrat policy that would be severely penalised in an A-level candidate. For example, the idea of allying with the Liberal Democrats while attacking local education authorities is not in the real world.

If Mr Mandelson wants to know about the Liberal Democrats, he should not rely on his co-author Roger Liddle who, well before he left it, had become a semi-detached member of our party. He should read Paddy Ashdown's conference speech. He would find there not only the famous penny, without which all improvement in education is impossible; he would find also a commitment to oppose Tory tax cuts (on which we have delivered), a commitment to restore Railtrack to the public sector from whatever limbo it may have reached, and a commitment to control the growing "Frankenstein", which is the British executive, by a programme of restoring power to the people (which our predecessors of 1832 summed up as "election not nomination".

These ideas have considerable appeal to Labour members and voters. Do they have any appeal to their leaders?

Yours sincerely,

Russell

Liberal Democrat

House of Lords

London, SW1

27 December

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