Political Parties Real Enemy of Democracy

Article excerpt

Roads rage: Cyclists protest over traffic volumes at Paradise Circus. See Help us stop this roads disaster.

Sir, - One cannot expect the supporters of the British "first past the post" voting system to point out its failings as they usually belong to the two political parties which have done very well out of it and fear losing their dominant positions.

The claim that the system produces a stable government is partially true but it is a reactionary, secretive, and arrogant government with few ideas on how to solve current problems.

Just look at how Britain's standing in the world has slipped since 1945.

If there are more than two parties it produces a government that is not supported by the majority of the electorate. That is not democracy.

And don't forget that Mrs Margaret Thatcher was not removed from power by the electorate but by a "palace coup" and that is not democratic either.

The fact that the Knesset is held hostage by a handful of "intransigent bigots" is not the fault of PR but the fault of Mr Netenyahu.

He chose them to be his running partners - he could have chosen any of the other parties in the Knesset.

Similarly, the large number of Italian governments highlights the inability of their politicians to agree, which is not the fault of the system that elected them.

Both cases demonstrate failures of the political party system in which the elected representatives are not free to express the wishes of their electorate as a whole.

Political parties are medieval, almost tribal, in their organisation; too much power rests in the cabal of unelected, often unknown, advisors and backers. That is why I believe that the real enemy of democracy is the political party system.

If political parties cannot be banned let us have so many of them that no one party can ever have power on its own.




Big Issue sellers

need our love

Sir, - As a regular purchaser of the Big Issue I was most upset by the comments from two "gentlemen" letter writers.

I have been purchasing the Big Issue for the last two years or so, and have never seen a Big Issue vendor with a mobile phone. As for their dogs, I love to see them, lying or sitting, wrapped in a blanket by the side of their owner. Admittedly they are n ot all 'prettied' up; for goodness sake, they are dogs.

I have never seen one that looks underfed and generally these animals look quite happy with their lot. I think it is the sort of life a dog would enjoy, all a dog needs is food, warmth and love and that applies to humans too.

There are some very interesting Big Issue sellers and they are all remarkably cheerful. The Big Issue is worth reading too - perhaps it should be compulsory for the "I'm Alright Jacks" that can't cope with reality! Big Issue sellers need our support and love, not criticism.

To the two gentlemen - come down from your ivory tower; you are no better than anyone else!


Sutton Coldfield.

Big Issue sellers do

care for their dogs

Sir, - I am writing in reply to the two gentlemen who wrote in complaining about the state of Birmingham compared to Paris and about Big Issue vendors. What a pair of hypocrites.

How can they compare Birmingham with Paris? We are very much bigger and better and cleaner than Paris is. But what I really have a problem with is over their comments about Big Issue vendors. Being a Big Issue vendor mysel all I can say is they are pig-h eaded and arrogant.

I have been selling this magazine for over two and a half years now and I know nearly all the other vendors, and believe me, we certainly wouldn't be able to afford a mobile phone, so these letter writers couldn't be further from the truth.

Also the statement that "all the vendors have pet dogs" - how can they say these animals aren't looked after? …