I REFER to the article in the Gazette (March 5) regarding an independent candidate, nicknamed 'Uncle Sam', declaring his bid to stand for Parliament in the new Ealing Central and Acton Constituency.
Sam Akaki apparently has the backing of Martin Bell, himself one of the most well-known independent candidates, following his winning Neil Hamilton's Tatton seat in 1997 due to sleaze allegations against the latter.
Bell's success was largely due to both the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates standing aside for him.
Personally, I wish Sam Akaki well. I can understand the frustrations of many in the public disillusioned by MPs' expenses scandals as well as from being taken for granted by the dominant political parties.
But despite our flawed political system I believe that political parties still have a valuable role to play.
For example, I joined the Liberal Democrats because I found that their values and policies on liberal democracy, social justice and internationalism agree with my own.
I also have access to the research and campaigning expertise from the central party and the local membership base.
It must be extremely lonely and challenging to be an independent candidate, with the exception perhaps of personalities or celebrities who have name recognition and possibly personal funding. However, with 'first past the post' (as opposed to a fairer voting system) the odds are sadly against an independent no matter how well intentioned.
MERLENE EMERSON Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokeswoman for Hammersmith