Letter: Power pulled to the centre by party preaching less government

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NICK COHEN'S article on quangos and patronage ('One- party Britain', 3 April) was interesting and informative. However, despite his opening to the second section: 'A paradox lies at the heart of Conservative rule', he missed the real paradox.

Since the 1970s the Anglo- American 'New Right' has been preaching less government: the quango system, perfected by the New Right Conservative Party, makes an absolute nonsense of this espoused principle, for it is a massive extension of central government control.

It is true that we have seen 'a withering away of the state', but only where this specious precept enables the friends of the government to make more money, or where the government can save money at the expense of the most needy. The retreat of the state on one front and its advance on another is the real paradox.

Royston Jones