Reader’s letters - Wednesday May 20, 2015
Time to tear up vote rules
Well all the General Election razzamatazz has ended for hopefully the next five years and all the seats have been won or lost fairly and squarely – or have they?
I am far from being a political animal, although I do have my own views. However, I do believe in fair play and when I analysed the statistics of the election I was left with some rather uncomfortable conclusions.
Of the 46.4 m votes cast, 36.9 per cent went to the Tories, 30.4 per cent to Labour, UKIP took 12.6 per cent, Lib Dem 7.9 per cent, SNP 4.7 per cent, Greens 3.8 per cent, Plaid Cymru 0.6 per cent and others 3.1 per cent.
So with our current ‘first past the post’ system how did this work out in seats gained for the respective parties?
Tories got 331, Labour 232, SNP 56, others 18, Lib Dem eight, Plaid Cymru three and UKIP one. Now it’s at this point I believe the unfairness factor kicks in.
Perhaps someone with greater political acumen than me can explain why UKIP is rewarded with one measly seat while the SNP walks away with 56 seats?
I believe the time has come to take a long hard look at our current voting system which in its present form can throw up such anomalies. Could Proportional Representation be the answer? You may be surprised to know that countries such as Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland all operate some form of PR voting.
You may ask as to what the benefits of such a system are likely to be? Well as a rule, PR voting systems provide more accurate representation of parties, better representation for political and racial minorities, fewer wasted votes and higher levels of voter turnout as individuals would realise that if they were Labour supporters their vote would count, even if they lived in a Tory or other party stronghold, better representation of women and a greater likelihood of majority rule.
I understand that during the next parliament the Tories do intend some reform by redefining constituency boundaries. This will go some way to making the current system fairer but don’t be surprised to learn the party most likely to gain from such an act will be – yes, you’ve guessed it – the Tories.
I believe that rather than tinkering around at the edges of the current system we should be bold and certainly look closer at the PR system. If this had been in operation at the latest election, the division of the seats between the two parties quoted earlier would have been thus; UKIP 82, SNP 30, which would equate to a much more accurate reflection of the individual voter’s preference.
Derek Rogerson, Bamber Bridge
Fun and games at voting booth
Being one who regularly grazes the letters page, I have become aware of Alan Fazackerley’s grief at the return to power of the Conservative party. More so it seems, his inability to single-handedly return the Labour Party to power. I suspect questions might have been asked Alan. I have to admit, though I am no fan of either left or right wing policies, the party voted into power by the masses is the party I must be content with for the duration, and no amount of soul-searching will alter that - until the next time, that is.
Yet only a few weeks ago, a correspondent was making light of the Green Party, claiming the perceived idea of the average Green - beard, sandals, lentils, etc. was a rare cause for levity whilst all the main parties were playing with a straight bat.
The Green Party faithful, it was claimed, were always worth a laugh; it takes all sorts I guess. Which got me thinking, for those in total despair at the outcome of the election, perhaps next time you should vote for the Green Party. That way we would all be laughing.
Martin Sutcliffe, Grimsargh.
Life among the cockroaches
Recent memories of the old Preston Royal Infirmary have prompted a few of mine.
I worked at PRI from 1973 until our transfer to the new RPH in the early 1980s. We were a team of 10 ladies employed on a rota system in the medical records department covering the evening and weekend hours.
Our main task was to gather and prepare patient’s health records in advance of their attendance at an out-patient clinic. We also filed away records which were no longer required in the clinical and ward areas.
The departmental manager was Miss Topham, a very dedicated and knowledgeable lady. She was almost always there to supervise our team and woe betide anyone who was time wasting and not working fast enough – “time is money!” she would quote , she was a strict task master. The filing area adjacent to our working area was inadequate for the volume of records in use, therefore many were stored in rooms beneath the hospital, cellar rooms in other words.
We were frequently required to visit these areas to retrieve records. It was never lonely down in these cellars with an abundance of cockroaches, resident feral cats, and the occasional tramp asleep down there. What fun!
Name and address supplied
Focus for town needs a rethink
I was speechless to read about the £10m proposals for Market Walk. We must be the richest town in Lancashire, or indeed Britain! I know we have to speculate to accumulate we cannot stand still and go under, but first we are a “market town” and let’s not forget that we cannot compete with the big towns as even they are struggling.
I am staggered by a number of things. First, relocate the Chorley Pals statue and the landscaping as we have just spent a fortune on that and we are very proud of it. Second, the Flat Iron has been resurfaced and it’s a good job, but what for - to be dug up or altered? Third, the council offices, one of the nicest buildings in Chorley... come on, I think you are in cloud cuckoo land. One of the main things needed in Chorley is get a roof on Market Walk. And that can be complemented by good parking facilities and keeping our existing markets at full strength. This is not a political letter, it is just common sense.
Mrs Dewhurst, Adlington