Letter: Beyond Us and Them

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The Independent Online
Sir: Community politics is not about coercing the individual to 'conform to the values of the community' ('Creating a sense of Us and Them', 8 August). It is about giving individuals power in and through their communities to control their own lives. It is about moving power from the centralised state to smaller communities with which individuals can relate and over which they can exercise real control.

There may no longer be a single homogenous community (if there ever was), but we all recognise that we are part of numerous different communities of people having something significant in common, whether it be a local area, a work group or a racial or religious group.

The task for politicians is how to resolve the inevitable conflicts between communities in a way that does not create a tyranny of the majority, and how to give rights to communities without allowing one either to dominate others or oppress the individual.

Yours faithfully,


London, NW4

8 August

The writer is chair of the London Region Liberal Democrats.