Letter: Why we didn't vote

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Voting on 10 June was a dispiriting experience. The ballot paper with which I was presented contained the names of some 70 candidates standing for 10 parties, and the only choice available was to place one X in one box.

As a Liberal Democrat, I would have liked the opportunity to choose which of their candidates I preferred to the others and rank all seven accordingly. I would then have liked to offer the Pro-Euro Conservatives some aid and comfort by voting for them. I would also have liked to express my disgust with the British National Party by ranking the candidates for all other parties above theirs.

No doubt other voters would have chosen in ways very different from mine; that is their democratic right and they could not exercise it. If we had had the single transferable vote, as in Northern Ireland, we would all, if we had wished, have chosen exactly those candidates we wished to represent us in Europe. Those who wished only to vote with one X for one party could have had that option. This control-freak government evidently thinks that the people (except, of course, the Northern Irish) are too stupid to be trusted with an effective vote.

Part of the explanation for the abysmal turnout could be that as the candidates knew that their chances of election depended not at all on the voters' perceptions of them, they had no interest in promoting themselves; another could be that the voters were disgusted at the lack of opportunity to choose their man or their woman.

Whatever the explanation may be, it is highly unlikely that a hankering for the ludicrous winner-take-all system is one of them, whatever the anti-PR dinosaurs may say.

SIMON GAZELEY

Bath

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