Letter: Isaiah Berlin on democracy

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Sir: Stephen Rigby (Letters, 19 October), by an odd misreading of an article in The Tablet, attributes to Sir Isaiah Berlin a passage from a speech by Chris Patten that Berlin could not conceivably have written (though he does not disagree with it, he tells me).

Mr Patten did indeed quote Berlin, but the passage in question is his description of democracy, at the end of his essay on Roosevelt, as:

the view that the promotion of social justice and individual liberty does not necessarily mean the end of all efficient government; that power and order are not identical with a strait- jacket of doctrine, whether economic or political; that it is possible to reconcile individual liberty - a loose texture of society - with the indispensable minimum of organising and authority . . .

The passage Mr Rigby quotes, about business confidence and investment, is Mr Patten's own.

Yours faithfully,

HENRY HARDY

Oxford

21 October

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