Our mutual friends

How right Tristram Hunt is (Essay, 27 August) when he writes that "we need to hear about the mutualism of the co-operative movement". We need to know more, because not only the co-operative movement is under threat of demutualisation; so are all the other mutualised organisations, such as the Nationwide. Even the very successful Friends Provident, with its tradition of moral values, has been unable to withstand the onslaught of demutualisation, after which its ideals can be sold to the highest bidder.

Why, I want to know, can't a Labour government actively encourage mutual organisations, in accordance with Labour ideals, as an alternative to the free-market economy based on short-term gain for the "carpet-baggers" at the expense of the long-term good of the country?

Ted Dunn
Manningtree, Essex

This article first appeared in the 10 September 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The New Statesman Essay - The love of a robot