Real value

I was saddened to read that the museum dedicated to the life and work of William Morris is under threat (Observations, 5 November).

Growing-up in Walthamstow after the war, I remember when that great prime minister, Clement Attlee, came to open the William Morris Gallery in 1950. In those days, the Labour Party was proud, rather than embarrassed, by its links to the trade unions and their craft traditions.

As the influx of skilled workers from central and eastern Europe reminds us, other countries still value craft. How can Britain hope to compete in the long run if we do not equip young people with the skills they need and that are vital to our economy?

Constance Kelly
Benfleet, Essex

This article first appeared in the 19 November 2007 issue of the New Statesman, New best friends?