Visionary Clarke

Thank goodness for Charles Clarke ("Labour's fault lines open up", 4 September). Now that he is out of office he has articulated, accurately and eloquently, many of the concerns shared by those of us who believe strongly in the value of Labour, and Labour governments. The prescription is spot on.

The difficulty facing Labour is whether the party, in its current state, has the capacity to deliver the detailed programme of policy outlined. Strong governments need strong and vibrant parties capable of promoting debate and ideas. Labour needs members who are made to feel that they are stakeholders in the future, rather than simply cogs on an ever-turning election campaign wheel, forced to take the three-line whip in all they say and do.

Clarke is right to address the alienation of employees and the business community. We also need to address the alienation of those of us who remain committed Labour members ready to play a voluntary role in developing a programme for the future. Now is the time to put an end to the "yes" culture that has dominated the party's history in recent years.

Kathy Sutton
London WC1

This article first appeared in the 11 September 2006 issue of the New Statesman, It must be Gordon, Gordon, Gordon