Austerity myth

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David Maddox (Inside Westminster, 25 August) appears to believe that Labour can only win when it turns rightwards.

Leaving aside 1997 when people were so sick of the Tories they contrived in seats all around the country to support whoever was in the best position to defeat the Tory candidate, and if John Smith had lived he would have led Labour to success despite failing to pursue New Labour notions, Mr Maddox should take a closer look at history.

The very existence of the Labour Party shows that attitudes can change.

Keir Hardie took up issues that had not before had any hearing in Parliament, and began the fight for reforms that otherwise were not going to happen.

And the centrist Liberals were pushed aside for so long they were desperate to be a part of government when they joined the coalition in 2010.

Indeed, it can be argued that Nicola Sturgeon played her hand cleverly in the general election, emphasising opposition to austerity (although not actually delivering it in practice) and scarcely mentioning the purpose of her party’s existence.

What is happening today is that Jeremy Corbyn rallies attract huge numbers even in Middle England.

It is because more and more people are realising that austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity.

When child poverty is so widespread because the government is run on neoliberal principles, enough is enough. When the richest amongst us get richer still, while in-work poverty is widespread, do we meet neoliberalism halfway, frightened to upset the right-wing press? More and more are saying No.

As that fellow “hard leftist” Harold Wilson said, “The Labour Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing.”

Maria Fyfe

Ascot Avenue