Labour must beware falling into the Tory-lite policy trap | Letters

The fundamental changes the country needs must not be sacrificed to appease the right of the party, says Dr Peter Mangan. Plus letters from Alan Gent, John Hackett, Henrietta Cubitt and Brian Ronson

Nesrine Malik’s timely warning about the probability of Labour gaining power without confronting the impulses of the right that run through the party must be a concern shared by many (Labour must be bold and strike the killer blow – or the Tories will rise again, 9 October). The last thing to offer voters is “continuity Labour”, where fundamental change, so clearly necessary after years of Tory desolation, becomes muffled beneath the clamour of appeasing the right.

Putting compassion at the heart of the immigration and asylum system, controlling rents while building houses, protecting public services from further plundering by private finance, and taxing fairly all play to what Labour is meant to stand for. More significantly, many of these values have been shown to increasingly chime with what the public want.

At a time like this, it is worth recalling the words of the late Italian prime minister, Giulio Andreotti, who spent a career being in and out of power, when he said that if you think being in power corrupts, you should see what happens when you’re trying to get into power. Labour is now at a crossroads with its own conscience.
Dr Peter Mangan
Beckenham, Kent

• Nesrine Malik is right to say that Labour needs to be bold, but this has to be tempered – remember all the good things proposed by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell? In the end they were deemed to be barely credible, such is the spell that has been woven by the Tories and their media supporters over the past 12 years.

Labour’s new message must be constantly reinforced to avoid being lost in the inevitable storm of rightwing hysteria that will be whipped up as an election approaches. So yes, state that nationalisation will be considered after the demonstrated failure of private contracts. And please don’t rule out a coalition. More than ever, the population needs to know that every vote will count in ridding us of the Tories – and that’s before proportional representation becomes a possibility.
Alan Gent
Cheadle, Cheshire

• Nesrine Malik is right that every Labour government has had the chance to change the system. People resent New Labour because it chose continuity. People revere Clement Attlee’s government because it opted for change. The electorate, Labour members and the unions are clear about what they want: systemic change with proportional representation, housing as a right not a commodity, public ownership and workers’ rights. Keir Starmer has to decide whether he is with them or not, and whether to represent continuity or change.
John Hackett
Retford, Nottinghamshire

• Everyone should ditch their ideologies and agree that any service that cannot be allowed to fail – water, energy, banks, the NHS etc – should be nationalised. Otherwise, as we have seen, when all goes well, shareholders reap the profits, and when services are collapsing – because profits have come first – the taxpayer bails them out.
Henrietta Cubitt
Cambridge

• Keir Starmer needs to follow the lead of his party and endorse electoral reform while Labour is in a position of strength and can argue from a point of principle, not self-interest. Double-digit leads in the polls don’t come along often.
Brian Ronson
Liverpool

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