Letter: The Seventies were sordid

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The Independent Online
WOULD Neal Ascherson please spare us the crocodile tears for the golden age of the Seventies ('The British problem: how to get rid of a gang of narrow-minded fanatics', 3 April).

Many of us felt at the time (and still do) that Harold Wilson was one of the worst prime ministers this century; his governments combined moral cowardice, incompetence and cronyism in equal measure. Has Mr Ascherson forgotten about T Dan Smith, John Poulson, the appalling fudges over Rhodesia or immigration law? Jim Callaghan did nothing to improve things; the idea that his administration was taking a serious interest in a radical agenda is simply not supported by the evidence.

The winter of discontent was not got up by the media: it was perceived as the final proof that the trade union movement and its friends in the Labour Party didn't care about brotherhood, morality or indeed anything apart from their own arrogant, greedy bullying. If you didn't belong to a powerful union you could forget about a fair deal, politically or economically.

We certainly do need to get rid of this Conservative government, but what we do not need is a simple return to what went before.

Dr Roger A Fisken

Bedale, North Yorks