We cannot stand by as the Tories quietly erase all checks on power | Letters

Readers respond to Jonathan Freedland’s article on how Boris Johnson is rigging the system and trampling over democratic norms

Jonathan Freedland has probably written his most important opinion piece (In plain sight, Boris Johnson is rigging the system to stay in power, 1 October). The Tories are morphing into an explicitly neo-fascist party, encouraged by a sympathetic press and a supine BBC. Boris Johnson has purged more moderate Tories on the anvil of Brexit. Our pseudo-democratic first-past-the-post voting system has gifted Johnson an electoral dictatorship. The norms and values of our antiquated unwritten constitution are about to be butchered.

We cannot wait for Keir Starmer’s long march back to electability. This political emergency requires a radical response. Progressive parties need to form an electoral alliance to reverse this threat to our democracy. All progressives can rally around an agenda to create a modern constitution with regional devolution and proportional representation at its heart, protected by a constitutional court.
Philip Wood
Kidlington, Oxfordshire

• In light of Jonathan Freedland’s article, I wonder if those libertarian Tory MPs, so exercised about what they see as the threat of Covid passports to their civil liberties, will continue to support the spurious introduction of photographic voter ID as a condition for exercising one’s fundamental democratic right? Sadly, I suspect that they won’t be moved to oppose a policy designed to disfranchise and further disempower those already under-represented by our political system. So much for civil liberties, let alone levelling up.

Unfortunately, the lack of a written constitution in this country means that this and other proposed policies outlined in Freedland’s article can all too easily be dressed up in the language of safeguarding the public interest or preventing vexatious behaviour, and passed with a series of votes in the interest of the majority party without the proper scrutiny necessitated by the requirements for a constitutional change. Instead we have a series of conventions, which work only when we have governments who are prepared to respect them.

Too many people still regard Boris Johnson’s unconventional behaviour as a breath of fresh air, when the reality is that there is a rotten stench at No 10.
Ian Fraser
Tregynon, Powys

• Jonathan Freedland is absolutely right to highlight the ways in which the current government is abusing its power to change election rules massively in their favour. In addition to the democracy-suppressing measures that Freedland mentions, the Conservatives also plan to massively increase how much they can spend in general elections. They plan to allow unlimited donations from abroad (if from UK citizens), even if they are tax exiles and haven’t lived here for many decades. They also want to change spending rules to make it easier to target vast sums of money at marginal seats. What price democracy?
Chris Rennard
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords

• Jonathan Freedland sets out all the ways in which the Tories are rigging the system to stay in power. There is only one sure way to defeat this ploy and get them out of power. That is, all anti-Conservative progressive parties should agree that only one of their number should fight each seat which the Tories are in danger of winning at the next general election. This would probably produce enough seats for a progressive coalition to form a government.
Graham Goddard
Felinfoel, Carmarthenshire

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