The Spectator

Feedback | 4 June 2005

Readers respond to recent articles published in <i>The Spectator</i>

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ID charade

You seem to believe that Conservatives have spent the last four years ‘standing up for local and national democracy, and against the tendency of the government to centralise power’ (Leading article, 28 May). But thanks to the efforts of both main parties there is little now left of local government to defend. The Heath government did its best to wreck the planning system while Margaret Thatcher nationalised the business rate — the greatest seizure of assets since the dissolution of the monastic houses. With their financial independence now lost, Major sought to abolish county councils altogether, but the good judge he appointed refused to play ball, and was sacked. Subsequently, Blair destroyed the committee system, the vital process that sustained debate and accountability.

It would be good news if the Tories have become aware of the merits of local democracy, but I have seen no sign of it. The examples in your article suggest a leadership which is as centralist and interfering as the neo-Marxists in the present government.

John Hunter
Thaxted, Essex

In the unlikely event of the Prime Minister’s being able to bulldoze through his proposals for identity cards before the levers of power are prised from his frenzied grasp, I propose to refuse compliance for as long as is practicable. Should the matter come to court, my defence is ready. If my identity cannot be adequately established without an ID card, then my guilt can hardly be established beyond reasonable doubt, as it will hardly be possible to prove that I am the person guilty of the charge. However, if my identity can be adequately established without an ID card, then the raison d’