LETTER: Electoral reform: rhetoric or 'new' politics?

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From The Rev David Mason

Sir: At a time when the media is full of talk of a new politics and a democratic agenda, mainly generated by Tony Blair, I find it difficult to understand the talk of dropping Labour's commitment to a referendum on giving the British people a say on how we elect our Government.

It will not be the type of new politics I, and many others, hoped for, if all it turns out to be is so much soft soap and John Smith's commitment to give the people a say is replaced by the ad-man's smooth promises. Derek Fatchett and the other first-past-the-posters seem to be arguing that, as they would win it, the referendum is unnecessary. If this is the case, they have nothing to lose by letting the people have their say. Isn't that what referendums are for?

Derek Fatchett, as a part of Labour's front bench, has a responsibility to make the New Labour experiment a success and not to be undermining Tony Blair's commitment to a democratic Britain. The important issue here for him, and others in Labour, is: do they believe in a rebirth in British democracy, or are they simply interested in gaining power for their own self-interest?

Yours sincerely,

David Mason

Chairman

Electoral Reform Society

London, SE1

14 August

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