MR SAMWAYS is right that coalition governments as a result of proportional representation do not necessarily produce “sweetness and light”. That is not the point. What they do have is a better chance of producing a consensus that is more widely acceptable. When the majority are always governed by a party that they have not voted for, it is not surprising that there is a widespread sense of alienation.

If we had the stable and “enlightened” government that Mr Samways insists, pragmatism might be argued to be preferable to principle. As it is, after three of the last four decades have been dominated by one dogmatic ideology, we have large swathes of the country bereft of meaningful employment opportunities; broken health, education, and social care systems; in-work poverty and homelessness; a vindictively applied benefits system that frequently fails in its prime purpose of support; a patchy system of criminal justice for both accused and victim, and a frequently inaccessible civil law regime.

It is surprising that Mr Samways can write “the present system works.” He is adamant that he is “getting it”, but it is clearly not democracy or his claimed pragmatism that he gets.

Barry Tempest

Romulus Close