Letter: PR: some pointers for the puzzled

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The Independent Online
Sir: The problem with discussion on proportional representation is that most people do not carry in their minds what the various possibilities are. Hence, potentially unnecessary fears may exist.

For my part, while I would like to see a distribution of seats more in line with the proportion of votes cast, I do not wish to see what I have experienced in another European country: the impossibility of having contact with one's MP other than through the ballot box. On a number of occasions I have been able to represent minority interest matters directly to my MP of the time, usually getting a sympathetic response, and sometimes feeling that I have managed to influence events.

My continental friends find it a novel idea, and many of them would like a comparable facility. There is a sense that under their current system, MPs are just an abstraction - un-get-at-able. Neither is there room at elections for the colourful or innovative independents we have here: just the grey dullness of party lists, to be picked up outside the polling station, carried in, and dumped into the ballot box. So, what system is it that approximates to the best of both worlds?


Spalding, Lincolnshire