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Clear red water looks rather murky; LETTERS.

SIR - Tomos Livingstone suggests that Welsh Labour's "clear red water" agenda is the reason for Labour's recent defeats in Wales (Why Labour isn't working any longer in Wales, June 13), but provides no solid evidence for this.

Labour's heavy defeats of 2007, 2008 and 2009 were primarily a reaction to the conduct of Labour in Westminster: Iraq, loans for lordships, the abolition of the 10p tax band and, most recently, the expenses scandal.

The merits, or otherwise, of "clear red water" did not get a look in.

Livingstone suggests also that Welsh Labour's ills could be cured by an appeal to "aspirational voters". If it means an emulation of New Labour's policies in England, the timing could not be worse, as those policies are now starting to unravel.

In Wales, do we really want the fragmentation and the cherry-picking by the private sector resulting from the NHS internal market, or the distortion to the curriculum and the learning process itself, which results from SATs and league tables? There is no evidence that people in Wales, "aspirational" or otherwise, want city academies, foundation hospitals and all other appurtenances of New Labour's marketisation policies.

Instead, they just want good quality, integrated, free public services, provided and funded by the public sector.

If it received more media credit, was not handicapped by the electoral millstone of New Labour's toxic combination of market fundamentalism and sleaze, and if it were perhaps better at articulating its distinct policy agenda, Welsh Labour might be in better shape.

NICK DAVIES Uplands, Swansea
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 18, 2009
Words:255
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