LETTER : People want real reform

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From Ms Helena Kennedy, QC

Sir: Your editorial "Why consumers are today's great reformers" (10 February) is at best irritating, at worst defeatist.

The media is, in large part, the cause of disenchantment with our political processes because, apart from the occasional revelation from the so-called watchdog of the people, it has become equally negative, infected and dejected by the archaic and arcane system it reports.

You speak of the power of the demanding purchaser, but consumer power has been provoked in a reactive rather than a proactive way. Did shopping malls on the outskirts of towns come into being because consumers wanted them or because hypermarkets are profitable? Did we get motorways slashing through the countryside because consumers wanted them or because governments, under duress from the roads lobby, failed to provide a realistic transport alternative?

One thousand people a month are joining Charter 88 because they know there is something inherently wrong at the heart of our society, and it is their appetite for change that you should feed instead of undermining. We are far more than a country of militant shoppers.

Yours faithfully,

Helena Kennedy

Chair of Council

Charter 88

London, EC1

12 February