Letter: Fixing the lists

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It would have helped if Tony Blair ("If control freakery means strong leadership, then I plead guilty", 20 November) had at least acknowledged that democratic elections are, and always have been, about the people choosing individual representatives as well as preferred parties.

For most voters in Britain this century, choosing the right party has had priority. This does not mean that the antecedents, character, personality, opinions and principles of individual candidates are seen as irrelevant. Would Mr Blair have us believe that his own enormous political success owes everything to his new Labour doctrines, and nothing to his personal qualities?

A closed-list PR system fails to strike a balance between the complementary tasks of choosing individuals and choosing parties.

The next step is to turn the searchlight on those shadowy figures who, as members of selection panels, or by other means, choose candidates in the various elections.

Who are these people? How do they get their jobs? What is the nature of their relationship with London-based party bosses?

J WILFRED ATTENBOROUGH

Lincoln

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