After so many people were released from their white coats to comment on my UKIP post yesterday I must be a glutton for punishment to return to the subject of Europe again today. But I have just returned home to find my ballot papers for the rankings of our MEP candidates in the South East. Firstly, and for the record, I despise this system. I am against closed party lists. I think it is totally wrong that the incumbent MEPs have been given a 'pass' to the top places. Yet that is the system and so be it.
In the so-called 'South East Region' we have 4 MEPs that we can rank. And we must vote for all 4. Fair enough I suppose although some may prefer to stop at 2, 3 or even just 1. Then on a separate list we have 6 candidates for the slots below the 4 MEPs. Regardless of the ballot result the 5th place will go to a woman. The accompanying letter assures us that this is for this election only. Each candidate is given 2 pages in a little booklet to tell us about themselves. This is where I have a problem.
As a member I have to rank all the candidates numbered 1 to 6. Yet there are some (and I won't say how many) that I have never heard of before. Yet I am forced to rank ALL of them otherwise my ballot is invalid. Why could members not stop at the number they want to vote for?
Again for the record I am not having a go at anyone on the list, at the party or anyone else. I really just don't like this system. Also I'm not sure it is very fair on the candidates, who I am sure are all excellent, that their chances are determined by the votes of people who do not know them.