More Labour men of principle
MUCH AS I admire John Pilger's reporting, I feel it was unfair of him to list only six Labour MPs who have held to true principles during the four years of the new Labour administration (28 May).
Alan Simpson, the sitting Nottingham South MP and former secretary to the Socialist Campaign Group, has done sterling work in politically opposing research into and the development of genetically modified organisms, as well as in exposing the dangers to both the poor and the environment of the growth of globalisation; and he campaigned from the left to demon strate the democratic deficit built into the single currency. David Chaytor, the sitting MP for Bury North, has almost single handedly attempted to press the Labour leadership to justify their policy on using plutonium for fuel at the new Sellafield nuclear production plant.
And the MP for whom I do some research, Llew Smith, the sitting MP for Blaenau Gwent, has campaigned from a socialist perspective against the single currency, arms sales and nuclear weapons, and for the increase in pensions and the protection of student grants. He has also fought a campaign to protect the jobs and communities of steelworkers due to be made redundant in Wales by Corus. And all three have been strong supporters of a more expansive Freedom of Information Act.
DR DAVID LOWRY
Darcus Howe insults me
I HAVE long been irritated by the self-opinionated pomposity exhibited in your pages by Darcus Howe. When he turns his attention to my home town of Oldham and its people (21 May), I get positively angry. He com plains about the local leaders accusing him of "meaningless, judgemental assertions", but I would go further than they do. He is positively insulting about the habits of cotton workers in the days when there was some
letter of the week
She cuts a fishy fantasy figure
THE FANTASY POLITICS judges have for the third time given top marks to Yvette Cooper (28 May). If the game is supposed to award marks to the politician/celebrity who gets the most media coverage, then this outcome is puzzling.
In the same edition of the New Statesman, the cover story by Jackie Ashley ("And men shall speak unto men") actually gives a breakdown of the media coverage of politicians during the election campaign. The minister does not feature in either the top ten most mentioned overall or the separate figure for female politicians. Also, a summary of campaign press coverage in the Guardian (28 May) lists her brief for public health as one of the "neglected" issues of the past fortnight. Please reveal the basis for the judges' pro-Yvette Cooper agenda, otherwise accusations of cronyism could be levelled. And we wouldn't want that, would we?
LUCY J GILL
cotton to work with. These are my friends, my family and my roots, and to imply that their favourite sport was Paki-bashing is as wide of the mark as it is possible to get. The warmth, generosity and even-handed friendliness of Lancastrians is as well known as Howe's narrowness of vision.
JAMES BUCHAN describes at some length ("Vote before you turn out the light", 28 May) how the Liberal Democrats are near to taking North Norfolk from the Tories, and then bizarrely goes on to say that this is what the no-hope Labour candidate (with Buchan's help) "has to prevent".
Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
Poverty behind Georgian facades
THE DECISION of the local council to commit about [pound]10m to the Bath Spa project ("A school? No, let's have a spa instead", 28 May) will come as no surprise to a friend of mine who lives in fashionable Milsom Street, in the heart of "affluent" Bath. He rents a three-bedroomed, top-floor flat, although it is really a two-bedroomed, top- floor flat, as the damp-saturated ceiling of one of the rooms has sunk so low that it is impossible to enter it without crouching down on all fours. …