Will fortune smile on New Labour again?

Oh, how I agree with Anne Newton's comments about a Labour government that believes in state provision (Letters, June 19). The generosity of the government towards the less fortunate needs to be trumpeted from the roof-tops. My wife suffered a stroke in 2003 which left her physically disabled and with severe dysphasia. She now receives a generous disability living allowance, which allows us to lease a Motability car, with free road tax, insurance and servicing. Due to Gordon Brown's generosity, she is exempted from VAT on any items she needs for her personal care or mobility.

In addition, she has been provided by the local primary care trust with a powered wheelchair for indoor use and a folding one for outside, not to mention the life-saving drugs provided free by the NHS. We have also received a grant from the government towards improving the energy efficiency of our home. Our local social services (run by a Tory-controlled council, but largely funded by the Labour government) have also given us wonderful financial and practical support.

For these reasons, I broke the habit of a lifetime in May, when I voted Labour in the local elections. In this Tory area, it may have been regarded as a wasted vote, but I at least wanted to thank Labour for the magnificent support we have received. It's time to stop bashing the government at every turn. Tony Blair or Gordon Brown? It hardly matters, as long as we have government by a party which cares about the disadvantaged, which I don't think we'll get from David Cameron given his Thatcherite legacy.
John Morgan
Reigate, Surrey

Polly Toynbee (Britain is smiling, but it looks daggers at Labour, June 20) seems bemused by the swell of disenchantment with the government, reiterating that we have never had it so good in health, education, and financial and personal security. She should get out out more. Take health. Tony Blair's incoherent hatcheting of the NHS has taken a further major step with reports that private-health insurers are being invited to take over the purchasing of care for NHS patients. This is against the background of a struggling NHS, with hospitals attempting to maximise income by increasing car-parking charges, refusing to treat seriously ill people for whom they have no contract and shedding essential staff, just as money is wasted on private providers.


Yes, the country does hate Tony Blair and his blinkered acolytes. Yes, we are likely to vote Labour out at the next election with the same glee we first voted them in. The Conservatives will continue Labour's policies and introduce a fully private healthcare system, but maybe they will make a better fist of it. The irony is that when they were in power before, the Tories could never have succeeded because they always had Labour to create public disquiet. Sadly, there is no such counterweight today. Britain is not smiling now, nor will it be in four years.
Anton Kruger
Truro, Cornwall

So the Labour party is now credited with achieving hatred for itself while working tirelessly and successfully in creating a progressive government over the past decade. The truth is Britain is an overwhelmingly conservative country dominated by a conservative establishment, with a conservative media that day in day out bleats out an anti-Blair/Labour message. You express surprise that the Lib Dems have moved rightwards (Leaders, June 9), but they are also an anti-labour-movement party. It is journalists and newspapers - even the Guardian - which have consistently let down the working class by ensuring a climate of mistrust has surrounded the most progressive government in the past century. Ordinary people will tell you how successful the Labour government has been in tackling poverty and raising the standard of living for the vast majority. Unfortunately, working-class views are never heard in our media.
Chris Trude

There is no doubt Labour is in deep trouble, but perhaps only those still committed to the party can understand how deep the crisis is. I have just received an email from Hazel Blears, inviting me "as a member of the Labour Supporters Network", to a "Let's Talk" session in Bristol today. This is an entirely spurious exercise. I am not a member of this network. I am a paid-up party member and expect to have the formal structures of the party used to determine party policy. And does anyone seriously believe the prime minister listens to anyone after Iraq and all the other arrogant initiatives he has imposed on us?


Most dangerously, this shows New Labour is still trying to create a virtual party, where the discussion - and outcome - is determined by the leadership. Hazel Blears was not elected party chair, she was chosen by Tony Blair. If there is to be any future for Labour, the old democratic principle that those in power have to be elected has to be reclaimed.
Trevor Fisher

Contrary to what Polly Toynbee seems to suggest, New Labour's record on the economy is not good. Economic growth has been made possible by the British people getting into debt up to their eyeballs in order to carry on consuming.
George Pilard

As a former Labour member I was surprised Hazel Blears (Response, June 21) failed to address the most profound reason people such as myself do not vote Labour any more: namely the Iraq war.
David Murphy

No wonder Gordon Brown is preparing for his first 100 days in No 10 (Jonathan Freedland, June 21). Between Blair's resignation and Cameron's election victory, 100 days is probably all he'll get.
John Butler
Kidderminster, Worcestershire