Letter: What we can learn from Doncaster

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The Independent Online
Sir: If the alleged excesses of Doncaster Council are to be put down to the effects of municipal one-party rule and the absence of an effective opposition, the Conservative Party must take its share of the blame.

Not only do the Conservatives come a distant third in council elections across most of South Yorkshire, but in whole swathes of the county they are unable even to field a candidate. This is a disaster for everyone who believes in local democracy.

The result of this Tory meltdown is that Labour candidates are now elected unopposed in many South Yorkshire council wards. It was not always thus. In 1968 the Tories took control of Sheffield City Council and throughout the 1970s and much of the 1980s formed a large and vigorous block in the city. They now have a single councillor.

Tory party managers must urgently reflect on the wisdom of an electoral strategy which has sacrificed their party at a local level in the North of England, Scotland and Wales in the hope of hanging on to national power in perpetuity with the votes of suburban, mostly southern, England

Councillor PAUL BOWER

(London Borough of Hounslow, Lab)

Hounslow, Middlesex