Letters - Letter of the week

Clare Short ("A switch to Brown is not enough", 16 May) is obviously keen to keep Gordon Brown on board as the leader of a "vibrant and progressive debate" that should, sooner rather than later, replace Blairism. But Brown, as its co-founder, is every bit as new Labour as Tony Blair and, as Short points out, still supports Blair in the matter of his deceit over Iraq.

A "vibrant and progressive" democracy cannot be achieved in a world in which new Labour principles prevail, a world in which parliament serves the stock market rather than the people, in which the environment is sacrificed to growth and the poor everywhere are rendered destitute in the name of structural adjustment. Brown has no misgivings about Britain's imperial history, and his impassioned rhetoric about the poor of Africa is not to be trusted. We must not be allowed to be deceived into thinking that, under Brown, the "special relationship" with America will become any less special, that oppression and terror will diminish as instruments of power, or that the world will become less dangerous as a result.

We are living on a knife edge and our democracy is proving inadequate to the task. We are disenfranchised. There is no longer a "progressive" party in this country. Blair is not the problem; Blairism is, and Brown is central to that package.

David E Clarke
London N4

This article first appeared in the 23 May 2005 issue of the New Statesman, The nuclear charm offensive