Letter No 43  by Mike Allott: back to directory

Labour party policy-making: the way forward

Of course "sometimes it's good to disagree" (Leader, September 22). But equally, it's bad never to have properly resolved an ideological argument that has festered within our party since New Labour's reforms.

In Tony Blair's introduction to the 2005 party manifesto he concluded: "On the firm foundations we have laid since 1997, our programme will embed a new, progressive consensus in our country." Gordon Brown is now delivering on this election commitment. It is first and foremost a consensus around liberal economics (see also the bold headline on page 16 of the same manifesto): "We are winning the argument that economic dynamism and social justice must go hand in hand".

However, there are still many socialists within Labour who refuse to rely on such neoliberal solutions, and so fundamental is this disagreement that proper party unity will always be superficial.

Therefore Brown is right to begin to marshal this consensus. He is also right to impose a commonsense party discipline that secures Labour's long-term position at its heart.

Mike Allott
Eastleigh, Hampshire