25 JANUARY 1997, Page 22

Local opinion

Sir: How interested I was to catch up, in your pages, with the recent career of my former colleague, Alan Amos (`That night on the Heath', 18 January).

Few, if any, on Enfield Council attained close friendship with Alan. I think we failed to meet his very high standards — it was difficult for us to approach his rectitude, let alone his extreme Rightness, which of course he exercised during his work at Con- servative Central Office developing many of the policies which he now denounces. I don't think any of us could, or wished to, match his contempt for local government officers, and it is a measure of his journey towards the light that he is now working for the local government ombudsman. Nor were we much swayed by his one Big Idea, to convert local school hours to the Conti- nental system (early morning to early after- noon). This was quietly dropped immedi- ately Alan had better things to look to, when he became prospective Parliamentary candidate for Hexham.

After this apotheosis, of course, Alan immediately shed his concerns as a lowly councillor. But I would suggest that his con- version after his 1992 experience on Hamp- stead Heath cannot have been quite as Pauline as your interview represents it, as shortly before the 1994 local elections some of us were sounded out as to whether a seat might be found for him once more on Enfield Council. Alas, a new generation had arisen which knew not Amos — it was after all seven years since he had even been in touch with us. The offer of his services was declined, and I suppose that was just as well, as some weeks after this he came out as a Labour supporter.

Now that I think of it, the new sanctimo- niousness of New Labour is not a surprising refuge for Alan, but I cannot help feeling that from the tenor of your interview he has still not found happiness. I don't really understand in what way the Conservative Party has been 'disloyal' to him, but then, as you report him as saying, 'If you want to deflect attention from yourself you go on the attack.' I do hope that he can find some inner peace which will enable him to deploy successfully and to his own satisfaction his undoubted intelligence and application.

David Conway

London Borough of Enfield, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, Middlesex