Letter: They do it better in Ireland

NEAL Ascherson (''The Tories will fly the nationalist flag, but who will salute it?'', 20 November) contrasts the ''transparency'' of the Dail's debate on the Irish constitutional crisis with the closing of party ranks which would probably occur in similar circumstances at Westminster.

Could it be that Irish politicians are emboldened to follow their consciences by the personal mandate that their electoral system gives to each member. The single transferable vote in multi-member constituencies enables voters to support the candidates according to whatever criteria they wish, and the successful candidates know that votes have been cast for them personally, not just as representatives of their respective parties.

Simon Gazeley

Bath, Avon