Healthier study

Donald Hirsch's critique ("Oh so different", 4 December) misses two essential factors that a Brown government must confront.

Hirsch notes Brown's "fervour for getting more working-class children to university", whereas what is needed is to get more working-class parents to university. Ministers have presided over a cut in mature students. Adult education is in decline as full-cost fees are charged.

Hirsch also identifies improvements in the National Health Service as critical - a term that usually refers to treatment of illness. What is needed is long-term investment in the prevention of illness, enabling the NHS to become financially sustainable.

Both factors illustrate Hirsch's contrast between Blair (clever, small solutions) and Brown (larger, long-term solutions). Adult education and health development are closely related; both are in decline and both will be critical in resolving these ingrained issues.

David Browning

Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

This article first appeared in the 11 December 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Trident: not too late