LETTER:Labour politicians' comprehensive history of selection

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From Mr Ronnie Landau

Sir: Does no one remember that the former leader of the Labour Party (shortly afterwards to be Prime Minister) Harold Wilson, trailblazing pioneer of comprehensive education and head of a party still wedded uncompromisingly to ideological "old" socialism, openly sent his two sons to one of north- west London's leading independent day schools (yes, fee-paying - he even shunned the local grammar schools)?

I do not remember Wilson, or other socialists who did likewise, being roundly condemned by his party, by the media or by holier-than-thou Tory opportunists. On the contrary, it was recognised then - as I believe it should be now - that, while unity of theory and practice may be generally desirable, not every personal decision taken (even by a politician) is necessarily a political one. There are some actions one takes as a parent that can be described as being of a purely "parental" nature.

What has changed in the intervening three decades is the cancerous growth of an increasingly amoral, obsessive and vindictive press - tabloid and broadsheet - which, in its hunger for "celebrity" blood, resembles nothing so closely as it does a lynch mob.

Yours faithfully,

R. S. Landau

London, N12

23 January