Letter: Plot against PR?

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As a long-time campaigner for electoral reform, I almost think the system used for the European election may have been a Machiavellian attempt by the Labour Party to discredit all forms of PR by introducing the British public to it using the closed list, the only PR system (or any other sort of electoral procedure) which is worse than first-past-the-post.

In Europe political power is now largely in the hands of the non-elected, the Parliament having democratic credentials little better than the Commission.

The Irish use STV, the only system which allows the voter to vote across party on issues dear to them, and their MEPs are clearly elected as individuals. Most countries use party list systems.

Austrian, Benelux, Italian and Scandinavian MEPs are elected on open lists with votes cast for candidates, so they may also be described as elected. But British, French, German and Greek MEPs rely on closed lists where the vote is for party only. It is inaccurate to describe those allocated seats by their party under such systems as "elected". They are party political appointees. All the so-called electoral system does is to determine how many members of the Parliament each party may appoint.

No wonder voters feel they have no connection with their MEPs and stay at home in droves. I suggest the media distinguish in all appropriate reports between MEPs who are elected representatives and those who are party appointees.

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