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Letter: New Liberal Blair?

Sir: Donald Macintyre ("An impatient leader fast outgrowing his party", 1 October) believes that Tony Blair's aim is to reunite his party with British Liberalism.

The trouble is that the territory into which he has taken New Labour is every bit as alien to Liberals as it is to Socialists. Beveridge, Keynes and Lloyd George, for instance, supported a form of pragmatic interventionism in the economy that contrasts starkly with the gung-ho approach to the free market which the current Chancellor espouses.

Similarly, Labour's social policy, with its curfews and compulsory home- school contracts, suggests that they regard the people as a recalcitrant bunch in need of discipline from the professional elite which they now represent. This dismal view could hardly be further from the libertarian and egalitarian spirit with which the best of British Liberalism has always been infused.

If Mr Blair wishes to gain Liberal support, he should begin by behaving more like a Liberal himself.


Market Harborough, Leicestershire