LettersNyeBevan,forgottenpoliticalsiblingsand Winston Churchill’s shoes were all in our postbag this month
Letter of the month wins a copy of Deborah Mattinson’s new book TalkingtoaBrickWall
More policy, please I read with great interest Amber Elliott’s piece on the future of the Labour Party (TP, July). Amber rightfully points out that, essentially, what is important is that each candidate is attempting to make the debate about policy.
It’s all very well for the outside world to joke about the Sophocles Greek tragedy-esque battle unfolding before our eyes. However, for most Labour members, we’re a tired bunch. We’ve barely recovered from endless hours of campaigning and the sheer humiliation of losing to the Con-Dems.
Right now we just want clear answers about who’s going to deliver real change within our party and, eventually, in Britain. Ed Miliband’s campaign for a living wage of more than £7 an hour is a promising start. For me this is a pledge that promises tangible change.
Come on candidates – we want to hear more initiatives like this before we cast our precious vote for you! Cllr Tulip Siddiq London Borough of Camden Council more pragmatism and flexibility than he is usually credited with. My predecessors in 1948 were happy for Bevan to take much of the credit for the fulfilment of the ambition for which they more pragmatism and flexibility than he is usually credited with. My predecessors in 1948 were happy for Bevan to take much of the credit for the fulfilment of the ambition for which they had been working for 18 years.
As a hero, Bevan, more than most politicians, has left a tangible memorial – a National Health Service of which the fundamental principles are now unchallenged by any other than the most extreme libertarians. Whether any of Labour’s aspiring leaders will be able to say the same in 50 years time remains to be seen. Martin Rathfelder Director, Socialist Health Association
Family politics Your feature on political siblings (TP, July) omits one of the most interesting examples of all. The Earl of Listowel briefly served as secretary of state for India in Attlee’s post-war Labour cabinet. His brother John Hare was a Conservative cabinet minister under Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan. Michael Crick Political editor, BBC Newsnight
In defence of Bevan Responding to your article on Nye Bevan (TP, July), symbolism is very important in the Labour Party. The battle over prescription charges in 1951 is a good example – a situation engineered by Gaitskill to provoke Bevan’s resignation. An argument over £13m, even then a small proportion of a very large budget, and the imposition of prescription charges which were not, in the end, imposed. Bevan’s role in the founding of the NHS demonstrates much
Coalition cuts Before the general election, Labour pledged to not begin necessary public expenditure cuts until the economic recovery was secure so the pain would be reduced. The Conservatives disagreed. On 10 January, David Cameron told the BBC that Conservatives would “start early” and “go further” than Labour.
On 13 March, the Liberal Democrats said they would not support any plan to cut public spending too early in the next Parliament. Nick Clegg said: “We think that merrily slashing now is an act of economic masochism. If anyone had to rely on our support, and we were involved in government, of course we would say no.”
Yet on 10 June, the Lib Dems nationally gave ground to their Conservative coalition partners and announced £2.8m of savings for City of York Council this financial year. This is on top of the £7m of cuts the local Lib Dems in charge of the council are already making. The cuts announced the other day included almost a £1m cut in York education and almost another £1m cut in York transport. People in York were told to vote Lib Dem to stop the Tories. Those that did must feel very let down. Cllr James Alexander Leader of City of York Council Labour group
Total Politics is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the play Danton’s Death at the National Theatre, London. Winning tickets will be valid for Monday to Friday evening performances until the end of August, subject to see the play Danton’s Death at the National Theatre, London. Winning tickets will be valid for Monday to Friday evening performances until the end of August, subject to availability.
How to enter Simply email your caption to competition@totalpolitics. com with your name and address before 09/08/2010.
Entries submitted after the closing date will not count.
Last month’s winner “If I knew Nick was going to follow me everywhere I would never have talked to him in the first place.” Michael Webster
A pair of tickets to see WelcometoThebes are on their way to you.
4 | Total Politics | August 2010