Letter: German lesson

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The Independent Culture
Sir: What short memories the trade union leaders and Labour MPs who are against changing the electoral system have.

It is only a few years ago that Margaret Thatcher used huge Parliamentary majorities secured with 40 per cent of the vote to neuter the unions and bring in legislation like the poll tax. Presumably those union leaders and MPs do not mind if Mr Hague or his successors use the first-past-the- post system to do something similar in the future.

Before opposing a change to the voting system, apparently on the basis that the status quo has delivered Labour a huge majority, again with a minority of the vote, these electoral flat-earthers ought to consider that the Tories in 2001 or 2002 are certain to be more right-wing, more xenophobic, more English nationalist than even the Thatcher administrations. All they need is 40 per cent of those that choose to vote to revisit the 1980s nightmare on us all.

Mr Blair has the chance to stop it happening. He should take it, so that we can all benefit from a parliament made up to reflect the way we all vote, rather than one determined by the way we don't.

JAMES GIBSON-WATT

Hay-on-Wye, Powys

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