To compare Blair and Bush is a fantasy

Stephen Pollard's claim ("Hail to the new Labour Chief", 18 December) that George Bush's policy proposals reflect the political and policy agenda of the Blair administration is fundamentally flawed. Despite its early reluctance, the Blair government is finally proving to be a traditional social democrat, tax-and-spend government. The simple fact is that the tax burden has increased under this government - quite rightly, in the view of the majority of the Labour Party - as has public spending.

Second, while Bush proposes tax cuts for the rich, this Labour government has proved remarkably redistributive to the less well-off, which is confirmed by the Institute of Fiscal Studies among others. On health, Bush favours the solutions put forward by the private health and insurance industries, while Labour has unreservedly restated that the NHS will be free at the point of use and provision based on need, not the ability to pay.

Finally, while education vouchers may well be introduced in the United States, Pollard must know something the rest of the education profession does not, if he is right in asserting that Labour will introduce vouchers in the second term. Labour has rejected education vouchers before, because of the gross inequality they precipitate, and any minister who believes in equality of opportunity will do so again. I think the real problem with Pollard's thesis is not the false premise upon which it is based, but the obvious difficulty that those who have moved away from the centre left have in accepting their decreasing influence in shaping the agenda of the Blair government.

Christopher Wainwright
Hove, East Sussex