Letter: Power seekers

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YOUR leader ('The palace of ineptitude', 7 November) points out the extensive powers that can be used under the Child Support Act to set maintenance payments for children - including the power to override settlements already authorised by the courts.

It is odd that a Government so committed to 'rolling back the frontiers of the state', in Margaret Thatcher's words, should have done so much to expand state power. Strategies to establish a national curriculum; to consolidate central government control over the police; to weaken local government and courts; and the possibility of identity cards are other instances of Conservative policy to empower the state.

Gary Slapper

Staffordshire University

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