North-east is not so discontented

I was surprised to read Kevin Maguire's article ("In Blair's backyard, the natives stir", 15 May) on the supposed discontent felt in the north-east over this government's policies. In the north, the swing against Labour in the local elections was the lowest in the country.

In Newcastle (which the Tories controlled in the 1970s), in South Tyneside and in Gateshead, there are still no Tories on the council.

In Hartlepool, which was given as an example of discontent, we lost control because of a bizarre pact between the Liberal Democrats and the Tories - parties with a lust for office, but not a policy in common.

Given that supposedly being unresponsive to north-east issues, ignoring the views on the ground and governing for the interests of all of Britain leaves us with 1,545 councillors out of 2,700, three years into a Labour government, I, for one, am not complaining.

Marilyn Leach
Newton Aycliffe, County Durham

This article first appeared in the 05 June 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Driving back to happiness