Letter No 8h by Mike Allott: back to directory

24 September 2004
Beyond Left and Right
Jackie Ashley's left-right comparisons between Labour and the Lib Dems only serve to confuse even more (You don't fool me, September 23).
First, the Labour party has made a clear promise that it is no longer a sectarian party. In the 1997 manifesto we said: "In each area of policy a new and distinctive approach has been mapped out, one that differs from the old left and the Conservative right. This is why New Labour is new."
Second, the Lib Dems are themselves going through a process of reform. The current coalition of traditional liberalism and Roy Jenkins's social democracy will become more tenuous when the real prospect of political power increases. We are already starting to see these divisions arising out of the Orange Book, signalling the possibility of a shift to the centre, similar to New Labour.
Third, as we are seeing in Germany - and in other mature economies - there are few prospects for left-liberal or left-social democratic politics without the discipline of the type of economic prudence demonstrated by New Labour.
So, whether liberals and social democrats present their appeal to the left or to the centre, social justice can now only be delivered by the economically competent.
Mike Allott
Eastleigh, Hants