Death of the political class

Peregrine Worsthorne has put his finger on it. We lack "a political class" ("Flip side of decency", Books, 11 December).

Our original political class was the landed interest. It was replaced in the 19th century by free-traders/imperialists and all they have had, by way of succession, has been Fabians and latter-day neo-Benthamites such as Margaret Thatcher. What we have, today, is not so much a political class as a political morass.

This prompts me to recall the "Dialectics of Liberation" conference called in 1966 at the Roundhouse, by Ronnie Laing. There was a memorable moment on the subject of the next political class. The American sociologist Paul Goodman said: "The constituency of the future will be an alliance of the professionals, the volunteers and the deprived." My whole political attitude changed course. The last vestige of Marxism vanished. He went on to define professionals as "people who know goals" and dismissed professionals sold on self-interest as "personnel".

It seems that we have, at last, located the question - always the best beginning!

Peter Cadogan
London NW6