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EDITIONS
Conference 99 Friday, 1 October, 1999, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Your views on Labour
Conference99
BBC News Online asked for your views on the Labour Party conference. You can read the comments sent in here.

The e-mails were also used in a live half-hour online debate hosted by World at One presenter Nick Clarke on Wednesday - to listen click here.

You can continue to send your general comments on the party and its personalities. Please use the form below - click the Your Views on Labour button.

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The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible, but we cannot guarentee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.


Your Reaction:

I cannot believe now that I voted Labour in 1997. Labour for the many and not for the few ? Well that "many" don't include Students (tuition fees), people who work in the countryside, drivers, smokers, drinkers, those of us who enjoy a good bit of beef-on-the bone, hunters, people who shoot for a sport, single mothers, environmentalists, disabled people, members of the House of Lords or tax payers (have you seen how much the tax burden has gone up ?!?).

Labour are nothing like the Tories. They have sold us out to Europe and are tearing apart our country. Whilst I still respect Mr Blair, I am going back to voting Conservative next time around.
Tony Little, West London

I guess I'm too late for the Labourites. I thought Blair's speech was wonderful, just about the ideal speech I could have dreamed of them making. It showed where he hopes to take us, not so much how we will get there, but that is for us to maker sure that he takes us there.

I was especially taken by the part of the speech that spoke of people's talents, saying that it was in everybody's interest that everybody's talents are developed fully. I don't believe I have ever heard it said quite this way before. This is they why of education and employment policy. But it resonates a great deal with me. Help people to fully develop their natural talents and they will be more productive and happier. The question is how to do this.

I did go to the Labour Party's new website last night and it left a bit to be desired. No streaming audio. The feedback page cut me off without telling me that my output was limited (I am long-winded), it showed a lot of computer gobbledegook about what sort of file I was sending that the people there already know and I don't need to know. Of course, I am an American citizen and can't be a party member, I accept that. But the page entitled What You Can Do or something like that had a message saying that soon there would be a mechanism for party activists to log on with passwords and get special information about local party activities, and this doesn't exactly do much for the party's reputation for openness or help you when people are talking about androids and control freaks etc.

Which reminds me. I hope what I have been reading, that the party will overrule Ken Livingstone as a candidate in the London election for mayor, is wrong. If he is not chosen, I hope that the way in which he is not chosen will be an open one which is acceptable to the majority of Labour voters in London. If not, they may vote for the Lib-Dem candidate I hear nobody knows.

By the way, I also heard and loved the speech by the Lib-Dem leader. I think that he is taking his party in the right direction, too, toward more openness and a more democratic way of running the party.

I am looking forward to hearing what the Tories come up with next week. It will undoubtedly be better than anything any American party has to offer. I am sorry I can't be over there working in a sane country. Oh, by the way. I hope my cat and other cats and dogs will be able to demoinstrate their rabies-free status so that they can accompany their pets to the United Kingdom without having to be put in the Gulag for six months. Remember one year for a dog or cat equals around seven years for a human, so this is a long time for them. I shall close on that frivolous note.
Christopher Hobe Morrison, Middletown, NY, USA

John Prescott's speech makes no mention of our inland waterways, which continue to moulder while those in Europe see continual investment. Even a fraction of the money spent on improving roads AND railways invested in the waterways would go a long way to improving the transport links in this country. Does the Labour party realise that such methods of transport exist?
Stu, UK

I voted for Labour at the last General election as I was fed up with the back handed corruption infested nature of the Tory Party. Being an IT contractor I am obviously a little perturbed by the IR 35 proposals although I admit some measures are probably necessary. I have two problems with its current state. Firstly, the proposals are way over the top. A fellow employee was released last March and did not find work for 5 months.

To expect self-employed people who work under the pressure of a 4 week notice period enforceable at any time, to fall under the same tax laws as those in permanent work is a disgrace. Secondly, and this is the real killer, to put in "loopholes" so the likes of Coopers, Arthur Andersens, Price Waterhouse ..etc partners do not get clobbered by the same rules, is nothing short of total and utter hypocrisy. Its the kind of fat cat sweeteners I would expect from the Tories. If this legislation goes through in its current form, I would rather tear my voting slip up than vote Labour again.
Mark Harvey, London

If new labour really wants to modernise local councils and remove corruption, why dont they let councils use a modern and fairer electoral system ?
Nick Sandford, Peterborough

Dear Sir/Madam, I submitted a question to your conference live, regarding the injustice of men not receiving the state pension at the same age as women. The matter was not raised, it is pity that this injustice, that affects millions of men in this country did not warrant a mention. Shame on you BBC, you are obviously politically strapped. To think my father spent 6 years in the army in the second world war and my father in law spent 6 years (taken at Dunkirk) in a German Stalag just be discriminated when it came to the state pension. What a lousy country this is and what a weak outfit the BBC is. Are you that frightened of controversy? Regards from amodern thinking Brit, pity the BBC does not have more.
Bob Newcombe

The goverment are talking about fineing parents up to 5000.00 if there children are truant from school, if we can't physically handle or smack our children anymore how do we get them from the front door to the school building and make them stay there ? by magic ?
John Hibbert, Derby

Tony Blair and the New Labour Party now represent nothing more than the sneering face of New Thatcherism. How else can one describe a party which embraces privatisation of core public services (through the PFI), cynical pre-election tax cuts ahead of real investment in schools and hospitals (and New Labour is proud of the fact that it spends less on public services than any British government in 40 years), an "ethical" foreign policy which sees British weapons sold to some of the most opressive regimes in the world?

Donald Dewar's appearance at the English New Labour conference was a despicable act of self abasement - here was the supposed leader of the Scottish nation paying homage to his English masters like some 20th century Toom Tabbard to Blair's Longshanks. And he had the utter cheek to use it as a platform from which to attack the only party which stands up for Scotland - the SNP. How low can Dewar and New Labour go?
Philip J Sands, Glaschu, Alba

The Labour government has made some excellent steps in the right direction by putting IT on the agenda and appointing IT ministers of state like Patricia Hewitt. Why then does it try to stop enterprise by small IT companies like my own by introducing rogue legislation like IR35 which stops individuals from investing money in their own companies.

Without supporting little acorns, no longer will we have the sturdy trees of the future that will provide a sound economy for the UK.
David Brougham, Leicester

Ideologically, New Labour & the 'Third Way' is a form of modern liberalism; Blair's emphasis on opportunities for all realised through a positive, interventionist state makes this clear. Conversely, the Tories, ever since Mrs Thatcher's free-market revolution, are best describes as 'classical', laissaiz-faire liberals who want government to do less. Notice that socialism doesn't fit into the equasion: 18 years of Thatcherism have moved the political agenda too far to the right to make that possible. It would thus seem that Britain is now, thankfully, moving in the American direction in which the extension of liberty is the primary political objective for Labour as well as Conservative governments.
Thomas Amraoui

Having worked for 18 years to get Labour in I feel totally betrayed by their lack of support for those who have suffered for so long under the Tories.

I work in a sixth form college that produces some of the best results in the country. Despite having to absorb 30% 'efficiency savings' while growing by 30% at the same time we've seen our pay fall way behind schools. This year I started teaching A levels to sets of 28 students and I'm at breaking point.

And why are we being underpaid? To subsidise low tax rates, that's why. Even if we can't touch the 'war chest' we can at least raise top rates of tax to reward those of us who richly deserve it.
Simon Scarrow, Norwich

If Tony Blair wants a return to 'moral values', why is he allowing the explicit sex education programme that the BBC are planning to take place? It seems more sex education means more young people experimenting earlier with sex. Is that a good thing?
Maureen Corrigan, Jersey

Public transport needs to be improved before the middle classes will use it
Jo Lewis, Wrexham, Wales

This Government is doing some excellent things, but it hangs itself by choosing silly targets. Take the NHS waiting lists: if tomorrow some new treatment similar to hip replacements came along, the waiting lists could increase by 10% overnight with people who want/need that new treatment. Yet that would mean that the NHS is doing better, not worse. As soon as this Government learns to encourage measuring outcomes not outputs their chances of showing the public what they are achieving will treble ! Come on, there must be someone senior in the party who inderstands that ?
Jenny, Brighton

I was inspired by Tony Blair's speech today. At long last we have a leader we can trust. However, I was annoyed with the sniffy response made by the BBC journalists and their sly innuendoes. Poor Show!. Who do they think they are?
J W Spencer, Maldon, Essex

Tony Blair made a joke of being indicted for war crimes. It is worth thinking about.

He would have refused to sign the Rambouillet accord had it been enacted against this country. Yet he was happy to use this flawed treaty to bomb a soveriegn country and thereby cause the escalation of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. He allowed the use of cluster bombs, nothing more than landmines in disguise.

Having learnt the lesson in Kosovo, he first let the terrorism and brutality take place in East Timor before stepping in. When Milosevic stands trial then Blair, Cook and Clinton should be standing next to him.
Paul Davis, Lancs, UK

I should very much like to know exactly when the Government intends to honour its manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on P.R. for parliamentary elections. Will it be before the next General Election?
David McAlonan, London

Why is the Government insisting that the GM foods debate is only about consumer safety? Surely the even more vital questions are:

1) GM seed spreading to neighbouring fields risks de-stabilising natural processes and may undermine organic food production forever.

2) this new science will enable the multinationals to control world food production - isn't their motive to change crops from renewables into consumables and so trap farmers forever.
Frances Hunt, Brighton

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