Letter: Voters vs parties

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Tim Knight (letter, 22 June) supports voting for parties rather than individual candidates. Under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) and closed list (CL) systems it is the party activists who decide who gets candidature and, thus, who is elected, because most voters vote on party lines.

However, there are systems which give the final choice between several candidates of each party to the electors: open lists (OL) , like the system used for the recent Euro-elections except that the voter votes for individual candidates on the party lists, who are then elected in order of the votes they have received; and the single transferable vote (STV), which has the added advantage that voters can vote across party if they wish to follow their own non-party priorities - feminist, pro/anti-Europe, anti- racist, green and so on

In such systems it becomes really necessary for individual candidates to campaign to get their own message over and tell the electorate where they stand. Under FPTP that is a charade in all but marginal seats. With CL individual campaigns become redundant, as we saw in the Euro-elections.

The huge advance under STV or OL is that the electorate get a real influence in the way parties develop by choosing which views within them get represented in Parliament.

Why does Westminster seek to reinvent the wheel? Why would turkeys not vote for Christmas? Self-interest, otherwise known as sleaze.


Ramsgate, Kent