Letter: Choices for electoral change

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The Independent Online
Sir: Russell Clarke's call (letter, 8 April) to Conservative voters to prevent change to the British constitution through returning another Tory administration is doubly misguided.

First, it makes the tacit assumption that change would not occur under a new Conservative government. This is not borne out by the evidence of the past 18 years, which has the seen the emasculation of local government, the rise of quangocracy and a vast transfer of sovereignty from Westminster to the markets. Indeed, constitutional change is inherent in a system of government that is predicated on an unwritten constitution.

Second, it makes the explicit assumption that significant constitutional change is, a priori, a bad thing; yet it is clear that constitutional change has been used both poorly and well in the past. Extensions of the franchise are an example of the former, and the early prorogation of Parliament in this election may well be accounted an example of the latter.

We voters do not have the luxury in this election of choosing between change and no change, however much we may regret this. Our choice is, instead, between different types of change; we need to decide which is, on balance, for the better, and which for the worse.

STEPHEN HILL

London NW6

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