Votes of no confidence
Sir: Charles Moore (The Spectator’s Notes, 27 October) rightly drew attention to the importance of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections and the arrogance of Lord Blair in suggesting they should be boycotted. However, he did not comment upon the fact that none of the literature admits which voting system is being used. After some research I find that it is in fact the Supplementary Vote system. This is a shortened version of the Alternative Vote (AV) system recently rejected by the electorate by referendum.
Jan Pointer (Mrs)
Sir: Matthew Parris (3 November) suggests that people of his age are not necessarily more switched on to the issues facing voters than are teenagers. I well remember a by-election in 1981, the year the SDP was formed, when a BBC interviewer asked a housewife which party she intended to vote for. She told him that she couldn’t say, as her husband was not yet home from work to tell her which party to vote for. Our interviewer, undaunted, asked her which she thought her husband might tell her to vote for. ‘I think it might be this new lot, the SQT is it?’
Thus is our government elected by, among others, people who don’t even know the name of the party for which they vote. How could teenagers distort things in a more damaging way than that?
Single European dieback
Sir: This time Matt Ridley has got it wrong (‘Losing the ashes’, 3 November). The villain in the story of ash dieback is not the obsession with carbon fixing by the Forestry Commission but two far more familiar serial offenders. Defra civil servants and ministers, and the European Union. Defra have interpreted the rules of the single market to mean that the UK cannot ban the import of trees and horticultural plants from other EU countries.