15 NOVEMBER 1997, Page 30

That man again!

Sir: Many a New Labour fellow-traveller or apparatchik is a Widmerpool (Letters, 8 November), but, because the law has not been clarified, it might be libellous to name them. There were some, if fewer, amongst Harold Wilson's lot a generation ago, but only Lord Longford claimed the distinc- tion; wrongly, it appears.

Widmerpools have always believed (if that is not to glorify to excess their emo- tional intelligence) in corporatism, and they have flourished when corporatism has flourished. For that reason, most Widmer- pools now favour a federal Europe and it is probably fair to assume that those who look forward to a common currency are proba- bly Widmerpoolish, at minimum, and should be treated as such.

Henry Hobhouse

Bottom Barn Farmhouse, Castle Cary, Somerset