Letter: Too complex for English voters?

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The Independent Online
Sir: The news that the rest of the UK will again in 1994 be prevented from enjoying the benefit of a proportional system of election to the European Parliament ('Public wants new voting system, Labour peer says', 21 January) is further evidence of the virtually anti-democratic conspiracy in the British political establishment to maintain a system that produces results which are not representative of the voters.

That is depressing enough, but it becomes ludicrous when it is suggested that the single transferable vote (STV) is 'too complex' for voters to understand the relationship between the casting of votes and the result. I hope that it will at least be allowed that there is a relationship (proportionality) as opposed to the first-past-the- post system in which a clear minority of voters have now for many years 'elected' a government.

The counting system takes longer to complete. This is hardly surprising for one that is more representative and sophisticated. The suggestion that it is 'chaotic' is simply pathetic.

Lord Plant may be joking when he says STV is 'too complex', but if he is not, then it would at least be helpful if he explained that he thinks it might be too complex for the English. We have no such difficulty in Ireland, north or south.

Yours sincerely,

DAVID S. COOK

Gilford, County Down

22 January

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