GRAHAM TURNER: European election does not suit my voting system

A personal view

A personal view

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When I put my cross on a ballot paper in an election, I always make my selection based on the person rather than the party.

I go for the individual who I think might act or vote according to his or her conscience rather than always simply toe the party line.

This puts me in a rather difficult position when it comes to the forthcoming election for the European Parliament.

In our national parliamentary or council elections, there may be a choice of up to half a dozen candidates and even if you don’t get to meet them personally, it’s fairly straightforward to find out about them and their record (in politics).

However, as you will no doubt have seen on Page 17, the number of candidates standing for election for the seven European seats in the eastern region is 70 – many, if not most, have no ties to this county, let alone the town, so how could anyone possibly decide on which individual to choose.

Well, luckily (or not, depending on your point of view) it’s a decision you’ll not have to make. You only get to select the party. And with 10 parties listing their seven candidates in preferred order, it’s only likely that at most the top two in the list have any chance of victory under the single transferable vote system, so if you’re tempted to vote for a party because of the presence of someone at number three in the list, I’d think again.

Is it really any wonder that so few people turn out for the Euro elections?

n I felt a bit sorry for Clive Dunning, who lifted the BBC Mastermind 2014 title last week.

Each of the finalists got to visit a place linked to their specialist subject to make a short introductory film. Admittedly, a contender from north of the border had to make do with a trip to the seaside to see some Scottish lighthouses, but the life and works of Richard Wagner saw one chap in Germany, another got to see the Italian battle fields of the First World War; it was Paris for the ‘expert’ in French cinema 1895- 1945, while the fellow who chose to be quizzed about the Salem witch trials was whisked off to the US. And Mr Dunning, our winner . . . he got to visit Hull – the home and workplace of his specialist subject, the poet Philip Larkin.

Future contestants take note: The Great Barrier Reef would make a great specialist subject for the final, or perhaps the Monaco Grand Prix.