LETTER: Scargill and the tide of history

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Scargill and the tide of historySir: Gone are the days when Arthur Scargill could incite anything more than mild amusement from a Labour audience. His article (2 May) symbolised a career built on historical revisionism and an ostrich-style approach to policy. He argues that new Labour's changes to its constitution and policies have meant an abandonment of socialist values and working-class needs.

The Fabian Society helped draft the old Clause IV, in 1917, not as a timeless definition of socialist values but as a reflection of the political debate of the day. No matter how well written, it can hardly come as a surprise that by 1995 it was badly in need of reform.

But abandoning the needs of working people is a far more serious charge. Yet it is a charge which Arthur would have made of Labour in 1966, 1976 and 1986. So it should come as no surprise that he makes it today, in 1996.

The reality is that on the economy, on employment, on health and on so many other things Labour's policies will radically improve the lot of working people. It is a shame, but no revelation, that Arthur cannot welcome that.

Ian Corfield

Director of Research,

The Fabian Society

London SW1

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