Letter: Democracy: just what is it, and where can we get one?

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The Independent Online
Sir: In your issue today Andrew Marr 'watches the latest episodes of the Government's horror story', but the 'atmosphere of murk and division' he writes of surely plunges Britain into a far deeper crisis than can be cured simply by 'political reform'.

How fascinating, then, to read on other pages about two countries similarly beset by corruption which have turned to the past for inspiration, in both cases epitomised by best-selling books: in Japan a book on 'honest poverty' extolling the cultured, modest lifestyles of the Edo era; in Italy by Epicurus's Letter on Happiness, which, argues a classicist, teaches that 'there are more things to be found in the world than the ones offered by the mass media'.

To whom or what might the British look to dispel the mood of widespread disillusion and cynicism?

Yours faithfully,

MARY BENSON

London, NW8

26 June

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