Liberals of the past must be turning in their graves after the entry of today's Liberal Democrats into a coalition with the Conservative Party. The Liberal Party was formed in 1859 to overthrow a minority Conservative government and as such has been fighting Conservatives across the UK ever since. This party they are now propping up at Westminster. The party of Gladstone and Lloyd George had a proud history of radical measures, including laying the foundations of the modern welfare state. It is, however, a legacy that has been blackened by their jumping into bed with the Conservatives for the sake of a few seats in the Cabinet and without guaranteed electoral reform. In agreeing this deal, Liberal Democrats have committed suicide in Scotland.
For Nick Clegg to walk away from a progressive coalition to join a Tory coalition is a betrayal of everything Liberals have ever stood for in favour of naked political opportunism. I urge every Liberal and radical left in the Liberal Democrats to resign to rejoin the Liberal Party.
Liverpool City Cllr Steve Radford
Liberal Party National Executive
The absurdity of the current voting system is illustrated by your paper understandably counting my local constituency as Tory, despite the fact that we haven't actually voted yet ("The battle for fairer votes begins here", 9 May).
Perhaps all people in my disenfranchised position should be allowed to vote in Basildon instead.
If, following an election, a third party can choose between the first and second parties, under PR there would be no point in holding elections: the third party would always have the same choice. If it is wrong for a third party to have this power under PR, it is surely also wrong now.
I was particularly looking forward to The Independent on Sunday last week in case Alan Watkins had written an article on the election. (His column had not appeared for two weeks.) I was horrified to read that he had passed away. His essays were brilliant, funny, thorough and informative. Donald Trelford is right: it is particularly sad that he should die at this pivotal moment, when his comments will be badly missed.
Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear
Now that ID cards and their controlling database are to be abolished, will New Labour – if it still exists – apologise for the utter waste of time and money caused by their obsession with spying on us? And may I thank all those who opposed New Labour's ID card fiasco, especially all at NOID, for their sterling efforts. We won! Had New Labour spent less time minding our business and more time minding their own, they might not be in their current mess.
With Ken Clarke elevated to the post of Secretary of State for Justice, our dysfunctional and underachieving prison service may, at long last, receive the attention that it needs to become fit for purpose. The possibility of Jonathan Aitken being invited into a top job is most exciting. Never in recent history has anyone been available with his inside knowledge. Has there ever been anyone better placed for the task?
Janet Street-Porter and Joan Smith rightly highlighted the shameful absence of women in the election campaign, both as candidates and commentators. This situation is not helped by journalists insisting on describing female politicians in terms of their physical appearances. Unfortunately the headhunter Judi Chadaway, talking to Emily Dugan, did just that, referring to "helmet-haired" Jacqui Smith and "feisty blonde" Joanne Cash ("A rude awakening", 9 May). In what way are their hairstyles relevant to their past or future political careers?
Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) provide a valuable service to insolvent debtors ("In debt? Then steer clear of these rip-off merchants", 9 May). The work of IPs and their staff is regulated, and the advice they give prior to a debtor's entry into an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is monitored. Their fees are limited by, and often paid by, creditors. The amount the debtor has to pay every month is also determined by the demands of creditors who want to recover as much of their money as possible. The IP facilitates the process, and is typically paid only upon payments to creditors. Only a licensed IP can supervise an IVA. Better for a debtor to deal with a firm that can offer this service than a "middle man" who is more likely to charge.
David A Kerr
Insolvency Practitioners Association
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