LETTER: Democracy is on life support

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Peter Grace’s 6 March letter and your recent leader ‘The day democracy died’ admirably outline the troubles in the Conservative Party, and the dilemma facing West Sussex voters. However, the death of democracy is an exaggeration (to misquote Mark Twain).

As Mr Grace rightly suggests, the electorate ‘sleepwalks’ into voting for the same party, largely because most voters fail to turn out. When billions around the world envy, and even die for, the democratic freedoms we take for granted, those who squander their precious vote, whether by absenting themselves from voting or casting protest votes, should think again.

Fortunately democracy is still alive in the UK, albeit arguably on life support, because there are still alternatives. I doubt though whether many in West Sussex would regard Labour as a viable option, given the mess in which they left the economy in 2010. So what about UKIP which has done well electorally for more than a decade?

Recently a UKIP South-East MEP candidate said business owners should have the right to turn away customers based on their gender or sexual orientation. Although Ms Edmunds defended her argument as ‘libertarian’, and subsequently withdrew her remarks, UKIP representatives regularly make similar outrageous statements.

Do we really want to elect a party whose representatives blame the recent floods on gay marriage equality legislation; suggest half the population should protect their virtue by cleaning under fridges; advocate the loosening of gun control laws, and scare-monger about waves of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants who have not come?

Furthermore, UKIP’s record of attendance is amongst the worst in the European Parliament. Clearly prioritising appearances in UK media studios and misleading the UK public about the European Union is their idea of standing up for us.

The Americans revolted about taxation without representation. If the majority of us are concerned by jobs, economic recovery, the NHS and education, all areas for which Westminster is responsible, then why is UKIP not highlighting these issues and not proposing sensible solutions?

The decent majority of the British public deserves better than these three political parties which all in their different ways have let us down.

If the silent majority want the continuation of a decent, successful and prosperous UK, they should make their voice heard in the 22 May elections and in next year’s General Election.

The debates between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage on LBC Radio on Wednesday 26 March and on BBC 2 on Wednesday 2 April should show the death of democracy is indeed exaggerated.

NICK HOPKINSON

Goring Road, Steyning