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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.