Turnstone, by John Maiden, Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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Writing in last Tuesday’s Purfleet column, Allister Webb made several interesting observations on the possible causes for the low turnout in local and national elections.

Perhaps the bottom line is that more people would vote if this country adopted a system of proportional representation (PR).

One of the arguments put forward for leaving the European Union was a perceived lack of democracy.

Ironically, PR made it possible for Nigel Farage to become an elected member of the very organisation he was determined to destroy.

His partial success in achieving what he called “Independence Day” divided public opinion in this country and, in the process, probably strengthened the case against PR.

This was unfortunate, because it is not only UKIP that suffers when it comes to representation in the House of Commons; the Green Party has a single MP, which does not reflect the number of votes its policies attract at general elections.

In short, if every vote counted under a PR system, it seems certain the turnout would be higher both nationally and locally.

Instead, the Green Party has urged its supporters to vote for Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Norfolk, as the most likely person to stop the constituency falling to the Tories.

It remains to be seen whether this kind of tactical voting will be adopted elsewhere.

In last Tuesday’s Viewpoint, Edward Wheatley informed readers that he is going to vote UKIP because he thinks this is the only way to ensure the Tories live up to their promises when it comes to leaving the EU.

If the local election results are anything to go by, UKIP lost its relevance on “Independence Day”; and when Nigel Farage settled for a one night stand at Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre as opposed to fighting an election for a seat in the UK Parliament.

‘Fighting’ is probably the operative word when one considers the Tory “battle buses” deployed in the last general election.

Meanwhile, on the home front, the natives are getting restless in Hunstanton now the “Restoration” of the “Heritage” gardens appears to have ground to a halt.

A rumour is even circulating to the effect that the unveiling of a statue of Henry le Strange will be delayed due to the unfinished work on The Green and the Esplanade Gardens.

Upon reflection, perhaps it might have been more appropriate to unveil a statue of the RNLI mascot called “Stormy Stan”, situated in the “Time and Tide” garden – if it is ever completed – because according to the saying: time and tide wait for no man.

Still on the subject of time, Hunstanton RNLI Crewman David Eastwood, pictured here disguised as Stormy Stan in this column, ran the 2017 London Marathon in 4 hours 23 minutes.

He did, however, take a day off from training the previous Sunday to raise funds for the RNLI.

He was joined by his wife, Michelle, and fellow crewman Jon Butler.

Together they raised £382.44.

With so much to worry about, nationally as well as locally, it is good to finish on a positive note.

The picture of Stormy Stan was kindly taken by David Jones.