Party Spin Doctors Are the Real Leaders of the Commons

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Sir, - I'm not surprised Betty Boothroyd has resigned. This Government has successfully destroyed yet another British tradition by making Alastair Campbell and his team the real Speakers of the House of Commons. Betty's role as supreme head of Parliament has been usurped and Campbell's puppets dance to his tune on New Labour's front benches.

I watched the BBC2 portrayal of how a supposedly democratic government operates and my stomach churned with disgust. Campbell's manipulative success even envelopes some of the hardened political reporters. It was Campbell himself who decided which of his 'pet' reporters should ask a pre-arranged question to get Tony Blair out of a tricky situation during a spin and hype session with the media, this shows how weak our elected Prime Minister really is.

The editor of a popular daily tabloid admitted feeling 'honoured' to have been invited to Blair's inner sanctums of No 10 and Chequers. Now we know why his editorial tones down the facts written by his own political reporters.

The next day we read in the press that in place of a body of learned, patriotic men/women elected by, and working for, the people we have instead a bunch of 'special advisors' in No 10, increased since New Labour came to power, from eight to 25, but in Whitehall the total has gone from 38 to 70 - at a cost to the taxpayer of a further pounds 4.6 million.

After the debacle of the TV programme and its analysis in the press the following day, we get yet another 'leaked memo' from No 10's spinnerama of a poor downtrodden lad let down by his colleagues - who will do better before the next election. We've heard it all before!

Verdict: nice boyish looking young man with an infectious smile, a very good actor who learns his lines well, but of an insincere character and a lousy representative for the British nation.


Symonds Yat,


Vote wisely for

next Speaker

Sir, - Betty Boothroyd has been an outstanding Speaker and we should all wish her well in her retirement.

The next Speaker will need to follow her example of independence for the rule of Parliament.

A number of names have already been suggested as her possible successor. One name which causes me concern is that of Liberal Democrat MP 'Ming' Campbell. Mr Campbell is a pleasant enough man but he is a Scot, representing a seat in Scotland which already has its own Parliament. Worse however is the fact that Mr Campbell is a staunch Europhile who wants to see Britain join a Federal Europe.

The next Speaker must be someone who will stand up for the United Kingdom and Parliament, I fear Mr Campbell is unlikely to stand up for Parliament against the takeover of Britain.

I hope all MPs will use their vote wisely when they elect the next Speaker. Their vote may well determine the very future of the British Parliament.


Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate,

Wolverhampton South West.

Crumpled display

is work of art

Sir, - In my letter of June 12 about the swing-bridge leading to the Tate Modern, I implied that Tracey Emin's artistic prize-winner My Bed - with its dirty knickers, vodka bottles and a used condom - was displayed in that gallery and I dismissed it as junk.

I was wrong on both counts. Tate Modern has just tried to buy it from another Tate, but failed and Charles Saatchi has paid pounds 150,000 for it, so it cannot be junk.

Now, my unmade bed sags a bit where I am in the habit of sitting on it, it has a non-allergenic pillow and a rumpled duvet. I am prepared to consider offers over pounds 10,000. When in Rome. . .



We must applaud

our successes

Sir, - Recently an England cricket XI defeated the West Indies by ten (yes, ten) wickets, a weakened Great Britain athletics team won (yes, won) the Bruno Zauli Cup in Gateshead, Lennox Lewis beat (yes, beat) a South African in the second round. …