Letter: Let's be truculent about Howarth

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The Independent Online
Sir: Politics, according to Polly Toynbee ("Defectors have only a walk-on part", 16 September) is now so value-free that Labour constituencies should jump to acquire the services of Alan Howarth. This is an argument for a political aristocracy - an aristocracy being defined as a group who expect to exercise power however they may act.

We are moving towards an Americanised political system - less ideology on the left, fewer people voting, more volatility, leaders personalised, parties run top-down, conferences replaced by media-event rallies. Plus, of course, a new political aristocracy, overlapping the aristocracy of wealth, relying on rich backers, and able to pay a dividend in patronage.

Slipping Mr Howarth into a good seat because he is a new-found chum of "Blair's people" would be a clear example of the new patronage. If Polly Toynbee wants us to have a real democracy, she should be cheering on the truculence of those red-necked "lesser" people who oppose it.

C A BANKS

London SE6

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