Voting systems

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While I would agree with James Gilmour (Letters, 6 March) that the single transferable vote (STV) is a great improvement on the first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system, it is not really a form of proportional representation (PR).

It allows voters’ second choice to have some effect should no candidate get an outright majority at the count of first choices, but this is entirely different from PR, which involves voting for blocks of candidates in enlarged constituencies.

STV may work in Malta but its population is considerably smaller than that of the UK and a general election there is more like one for town council here, where candidates are better known to the electorate.

True PR is used in Israel and the numerous “one-issue” parties standing certainly make forming a government coalition very difficult.

Also, it severs the connection between MPs and the electorate, leaving them at the mercy of party bosses – the antithesis of representative democracy.

In any case, one of the main reasons for voter apathy is the perception that, except in marginal constituencies, their vote has no real effect.

Allowing the option of voting for “None of the Above” at least gives them the chance to make their feelings known.

If my suggestion that, should it attract more votes than any “other” candidate, there would be a penalty to be paid, the “professional politicians” would be more likely really to represent those who elect them.

Martin D Stern

Hanover Gardens

Salford