It may well be right to describe the billions of pounds a year that we pay out on unemployment as economic insanity but no more so than Mr Scargill's demandism. His accusation that new Labour is in the process of abandoning the principle of universal pension provision is not true but we do have to recognise that many people at work pay into pension schemes, public or private, as I did when I worked in the coal-mining industry.
Mr Scargill and anybody who becomes one of his groupies will have to recognise that they are doing as much of a service to the Conservative Party as many other leaders of factions have done throughout the years by splitting the left-of-centre votes. However, I have to say his defection has pleased far more people in the Labour Party than it has disappointed.
I doubt very much whether Mr Scargill's political platform would be accepted anywhere in the world. His defence of his candidate's poor showing in the Hemsworth by-election is that her vote was only 1 per cent behind the Liberal Democrat's vote. What Mr Scargill failed to recognise was that it was 67 per cent behind new Labour's candidate, and long may it remain so.
Kevin Barron MP
(Rother Valley, Lab)
House of Commons