Letter to the New Statesman in reply to an article by Alan Ryan, Professor of Politics at Oxford

    Alan Ryan (NS, 7 February 2000) tells us the Labour Party has been ‘always opposed’ to capital punishment, that it is the ‘party of abortion law reform’ and that it ‘decriminalised’ homosexuality.

    The Attlee government – despite five years with a massive majority – failed to abolish capital punishment. The 1967 Abortion Act was a private members’ bill promoted by a Liberal, David Steel, to which the government declared an attitude of ‘benevolent neutrality’. The decriminalisation of homosexuality resulted from a private members’ bill initiated by a Tory, Humphry Berkeley.

    How does one get to be professor of politics at Oxford University? Should Ofsted investigate declining standards?