Disloyal voters

Michael Jacobs ("Don't just act, talk!", 2 July) argues that the Labour government needs to present the argument for taxes (implicitly, higher taxes). He is wrong. From 1945 until Thatcher came to power, there was two-party consensus for high taxation. The public resented it, but knew that, as both parties agreed, there was no way to vote for a different policy.

Britain is now a consumerist society. I work in retail, and I know - consumers realise their power and use it. They want better products at lower prices, and if they can't get them from one shop, they will go to another. They have no loyalty - just ask Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer.

Now people are applying the same philosophy to political parties as well. If Labour doesn't deliver, they won't say, "Oh, the hospitals are as bad as ever, but at least Labour's heart is in the right place." They will go to the other party.

Martin Phillips
Guildford, Surrey

This article first appeared in the 09 July 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Just you wait until I grow up