LETTER:Urgent need for electoral reform

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The Independent Online
From Sir Geoffrey Chandler

Sir: Never has the need for a new electoral system been more vividly portrayed than in the shoddy debasement of argument for party advantage that we are seeing on issues fundamental to the happiness of people in this country.

Not only is reason thrown out of the window, but the interests of the young, the sick and the victims of crime are sacrificed to short-term political advantage as the dreary blast and counter-blast of premature electoral battle contend for news time or column inches. At best the winner will form a government with a minority of the popular vote, spurning or caricaturing any move to find consensus.

And yet the issues at stake - health, education, crime - are immensely complex. There are no ready answers to the conundrums they pose in a world of different expectations and possibilities today. The relative failure of the British economy means that we have little margin for error and cannot afford the self-indulgence of politicians who prefer the false certainties of dogma to reasoned analysis and debate.

This is simply a cry of outrage, which must be shared by countless numbers. And, heaven help us, we may have to endure it for months yet.

Yours faithfully,

Geoffrey Chandler

London, SE10

30 January