LETTER: Fresh approach to political problems

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The Independent Online
From Mr Andrew Samuels

Sir: The funny thing about Angela Lambert's piece ("An ideal rainy morning at the people's forum", 4 September) about the St James's Alliance rolling parliament is that just about everything she criticises us for applies in great measure to the "real" parliament, government and business firms. Nobody has perfect answers to today's incredibly complex problems, but most thoughtful people agree that ideas are at a premium and that formal, conventional politics lacks good ideas.

Not everything that was said was new but much was - and consider these facts: 250 people attended and stayed for more than nine hours. Many were activists in the so-called single-issue groups. Twenty-two such groups took stalls in our political fair. Conversations between these individuals and groups took place, often for the first time. The possibility of coalition was in the air. Dozens of feedback forms have been received praising the event.

Most people appreciated the attempt to allow psychological and spiritual perspectives into political discussion. Allowing participants to join the panel had symbolic significance as well as bringing the unexpected into our proceedings.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Samuels

London, N7

4 September

The writer is a member of the St James's Alliance.