I am pleased that my article about welfare reform has stimulated debate. I can reassure any of your readers worried by Simon Batterbury's curious letter that my teaching and research are as balanced, objective, and scholarly as any.
Robert Page may be correct in identifying a turning-back towards what he calls "the collectivist vision of Titmus, Abel Smith, and Townsend", though I doubt it. But in any case he will need a democratically elected government to implement this nightmare vision. A New Labour administration, were it to win, seems unlikely to oblige. Mr Blair understands the deficiencies of state welfare, even if your correspondents do not.
David Marsland Chelsea, London