LETTER : Split parties and let minds meet

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Sir, The Tory leadership contest has underlined the fact that we have moved conclusively into an era in which the survival of democracy depends upon proportional representation and the likelihood of government by coalition.

The abortive Clarke-Redwood pact demonstrated the impossibility of honestly maintaining large-party coherence (Hague's victory proves nothing). New Labour, a party "disciplined" with gags and prohibitions, sports the pairing of Prescott and Blair. These fantasy couplings are purely promotional: there can be no marriage of true minds in such circumstances. In practice the incumbents have to settle for merely doing things together - it hardly seems to matter what so long as the perquisites of power flow unchallenged.

Public life may recently have been curdled by sleaze; it is certainly now befuddled by humbug. Can we have our divisions back please?


Dartington, Devon