OWEN Kelly (Letters, February 18) invites us to be very apprehensive with regard to decisions in government being made by unelected officials and advisers. I wonder whether or not there was the same level of outrage and concern during the period of the Blair Government (1997-2007) when Alastair Campbell, the former journalist, was acting as press officer.

Here was a man, unelected, who exercised considerable influence. He had no hesitation in using his talents in a tribal fashion to defend, at all times against all others, the actions of the Labour Party. He was very free with his opinions within government. One can go back a bit further and find yet another example of the profound influence exercised on government by the unelected. During the administrations of Harold Wilson (1964-1970 and 1974-1976) he had a Political Secretary, Marcia Williams. An aide at 10 Downing Street once observed her power "was not only exercised through her bewitching domination of the Prime Minister himself. Once launched against any human obstacle or perceived personal enemy, her frenzied tirades were very impressive and virtually ungovernable". For her services, to the surprise of many, she was eventually made a peeress, Lady Falkender.

I believe that it is entirely reasonable, in a democratic state, to continue to monitor the behaviour and influence of the unelected and to make criticisms as appropriate. However, one should not get too carried away with any excitement generated over the subject. At the end of the day, the Prime Minister and the Government which he heads will be answerable to the electorate for their policies and how they are implemented. It is clear that the recent ending of the career of the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer had the ultimate sanction of Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister is, therefore, accountable for that decision and its implications.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.