28 May 2009

Dear Ms Rantzen

I have just listened to your World at One interview, in which you said that, in spite of Margaret Moran MP's announcement that she will not contest the next election, you will stand as an independent if the people of Luton South want you to.

I am only one of those people, but speaking for myself, I would prefer that you did not.

It is often the case that a parliamentary election is something of a formality, where everyone knows in advance what the result will be. Unusually, that is not likely to be the case here next time; the indications are that Luton South will be very much in play, and we voters will have an opportunity to have a real say in which party will make up the next government.

I am not likely to avail myself of that opportunity, by voting for a leading party, but that is not because I see the need for a "non-partisan" or "non-political" MP. On the contrary, the major parties are not political enough for me. I will use my vote to express my strongly-held political views.

If the circumstances were different — in particular, if Margaret Moran appeared likely to retain a safe Labour seat — then your candidacy, by providing the option of a very strong and visible protest vote, would be about the best thing that could happen. Fortunately, that is not the case.

It is conceivable that your intervention was decisive in persuading the incumbent to step down, in which case you have already achieved something worthwhile. And of course, you have a perfect right to construct a political platform and stand on it, just as I have, or anybody else.

But as for standing as a non-descript "alternative" or "non-partisan" candidate — thanks but no thanks.

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