Too tired to vote

Frank Field ("Don't ignore the core, Tony", 16 August) finds that general election turnout since the second world war has been declining, and significantly more so in Labour areas. He notes that the trend in local elections is even more marked. Well, what's new in that? Party workers have always known that Labour voters are lazy and too tired to vote.

That's why new Labour had to turn to Middle England and even the Tories who had had enough of Thatcher or Major. It's not the Tories we hate so much as their policies. And we are hardly more than two years in power before a good MP like Frank Field is warning us about losing the support of the poor, the poor who received their first ever cheque from any government in history to help towards their heating bills.

They may be in a twist about welfare reform, and hospital waiting lists may be still awkwardly long, but even an illiterate, poor pensioner such as myself would prefer Labour to be in control. Come off it, Frank - you are too good for your own good and you know you will have to come off that high horse and back the pensioners.

Eddie Taylor
Birkenhead

This article first appeared in the 30 August 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Gordon Brown, the great feminist