Reader’s letters - Tuesday May 27, 2014

This year's ballot papers were more confusing than ever, according to one correspondent
This year's ballot papers were more confusing than ever, according to one correspondent
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When X makes you cross

Having cast my vote in the European and local government elections, I’m struck by just how much of a sham electoral system we now have in Britain with unreadable ballot papers as long as a baby’s arm and a voting system that’s as mixed up as a straight banana!

In the polling station, I was given two ballot papers to mark – one for the local Preston Council election and one for the European Parliament election.

The Preston Council ballot paper was small and short with only three candidates on it whereas the European ballot paper was like a long piece of toilet paper with endless parties and candidates on it.

The writing on this ballot paper was so small I couldn’t read the names of the candidates. It was as if it had been deliberately made so small that people, like me with a visual impairment, would find it difficult to read it.

Why on earth was this European election ballot paper so badly designed? Why could they not have put it on an A4 sheet of paper in landscape orientation with a size of text that people could easily read? It was like a roll of toilet paper!

If that wasn’t bad enough, the confusing instructions from the polling officials to mark two choices on the small Preston Council ballot paper from a possible three candidates but then make only one choice on the long roll of Andrex from a never-ending list of illegible candidates, made a mockery of our so-called democratic process.

I suspect this election will give a spurious result, with possibly more spoilt ballots than usual, because voters just didn’t understand how to vote.

Was this a traditional British ‘first-past-the-post’ electoral system (mark one X on the ballot paper) or a European-style proportional representation system one (mark first choice, second choice, third choice, etc.)?

Or, was it some sort of alien hybrid that I’ve never experienced before? I still don’t know. The confusing instructions I was given by polling officials at the polling station would seem to indicate that they didn’t know either! The election was therefore a complete sham.

Geoffrey Pickersgill, Preston

Scotland future is not so clear

All the current talk about referenda in Scotland this year and maybe on Europe in the future I got to thinking what a can of worms it could all turn into.

If Scotland decides to go independent from the UK it has stated it will still want to remain a part of the European Union and it actually thinks it will not need to reapply for membership.

However, if the Tories win next year’s general election and proceed to hold their promised referendum on membership of the EU and if the vote went in favour of withdrawal then surely a Scotland riding on our coat tails would then be out of Europe. Just a thought for Alex Salmond.

On further reflection, our EU membership is as the United Kingdom and should Scotland vote for a breakaway then surely the UK would no longer exist as such and our own membership might have to be reapplied for under the name we then chose to adopt for our country, irrespective of any future referendum result? As I said a right can of worms but I’m sure the shysters that run things will weasel a way out of any crisis!

Jeff McCann, via email

Lilywhites had a great season

What a great season we have had at PNE.

In the top five all season and beating that lot down the road, Blackpool. On TV seven times, gates up, some great kids coming through for the future and Joe scoring goals for fun.

‘Tis all ready for next season with North End champs and Sheffield Utd runners-up.

Big Dave, Longridge

Memories of long lost loyals

As part of the St Mary’s project commemorating World War One, I am researching five Preston soldiers who died during the conflict.

They are four members of the Loyal North Lancashire regiment: 20598 William Livesey, 14978 Christopher Jackson, 200829 Richard Miller, 24414 Thomas Woan and one soldier of the Royal Engineers 166712 Thomas Miller.

I am keen to contact any surviving relatives of these men in order to build a picture of their lives up to and including their enlistment.

Photographs of the men would also be an enormous bonus.

I can be contacted on Preston 01772745096 or by e-mail rj.crowe@btinternet.com

Ron Crowe, Penwortham

Thanks for aid after fall

A few weeks ago I tripped and fell near the Garstang Arts Centre. I am now home from hospital. I am so grateful to everyone who came to help that day.

I don’t know who they were but there were so many people who helped and let me know I was not alone.

Someone brought a blanket. A gentleman who was a retired paramedic stayed by my side. A lady called the ambulance.

There were so many little things. I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who came to help.

Since I do not know their names, I am writing here.

Doris Walmsley, Cabus

Cost of day out at the seaside

I would like to make pensioners and all other visitors to our “seaside neighbours” aware that the latest means to help pay for the refurbishment of their miles and miles of promenade are now in place!

There is now nowhere along this refurbished prom you can park without payment. As from April , pensioners holding a LCC “now” bus pass can no longer use it on their new and costly luxury trams. OK you can still use it on their under used ancient buses, why? So the next time you are tempted by a sunny day to visit the Fylde, remember you can park free at Lytham St Annes, Cleveleys and Fleetwood.

The sun is still as bright and the breezes still as bracing.

A F Sowman, Fulwood