Vote for anyone else!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 11:52 am
caddyman: (Default)
I have to confess that this is a new one on me.

I was walking to the station this morning for my usual commute when a woman thrust a leaflet into my hand - VOTE Thursday 3 May. There is a photo of the GLA building with the legend ‘Sack Boris’ projected on to it.



The reverse side of the leaflet tells you how to structure your vote to reduce his chances of winning. At no point does it ask you to vote for anyone else, it simply explains the use of the transferable vote to Boris’ detriment. I don’t think I have ever come across a campaign that is so uniquely negative before. I daresay it has happened, but I have been blissfully unaware; I am used to people canvassing for my vote for a named candidate, but never to my knowledge canvassing my vote against someone!

I see that the campaign is sponsored in part by TSSA. Google gives me the option that it may stand for either the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, or the Transport and Salaried Staff Association.

I know which one my money is on…
caddyman: (Default)
An interesting article in Sunday’s Independent seems to have been missed by the rest of the media, which seems odd, given the increasing profile of the debate over the future of Scotland within or without the United Kingdom.

The article, which you can find here , posits that an Independent Scotland may not be admitted to the EU because Spain would veto any such move. It is not because the Spanish are particularly anti Scotland per se, but they are against any move that strengthens the hand of their own separatist movements; primarily, but not limited to, the Basque Region and Catalonia. A successful transition to independence within the EU by Scotland would severely undermine Spain’s ability to hold on to its own pro-secessionist regions.

Similar separatist movements in Italy, where the Northern League would dearly love to ditch the southern two thirds of Italy, and the Flemish areas of Belgium, who would quite like a divorce from their Walloon neighbours (and vice versa), could see other countries taking a close interest in the issue of Scottish Independence.

Those I have noted above are, I think, the most credible separatist movements within Europe, but there are many more active separatist groups. There are more countries with them than without, it seems, if Wikipedia can be trusted on this issue.

As I understand it, accession to the European Union requires that an application for membership be ratified by each member state. To me, that suggests that unanimity is required and there is a better than evens possibility that Spain would refuse to ratify a membership application from an independent Scotland (or indeed any other succession state from another member of the EU).

As members of the former Yugoslavia line up to join the EU, one such supplicant bears watching: Kosovo. When Yugoslavia collapsed, it fell apart into its constituent parts more or less bloodily, depending upon the local ethnic mix. Kosovo is different from the other successor states in that it was part of an independent Serbia both before and after the rise and fall of Yugoslavia. Kosovo is, I think, the only applicant that has claimed independence from a Yugoslav successor state as a result of its separatist agenda. The differentiation is a fine one, but it has been enough for Spain to withhold recognition of Kosovo’s independence where many other countries (including the USA)have granted such recognition, which means in turn that Spain is unlikely to ratify Kosovo’s accession into the EU in due course and that would be a strong indicator of how they might approach the Scottish question.

Given that membership of the EU is a stated aspiration – possibly even a prerequisite - for an independent Scotland as envisaged by the Scottish National Party, Spanish intransigent self interest could make independence desperately unattractive to the Scots.

Spain could be the instrument of survival for the United Kingdom. As one wag had it – and I truly wish I’d thought of this pun – they don’t like to keep all their Basques in one exit.
caddyman: (Default)
I am less worried about who wins the election (though I have my preferences) than how they win the election. Essentially, the system we have of sending an elected representative to Parliament evolved and worked properly before the party system evolved. The electorate (such as it was) was represented by someone who would look out for local concerns.

Over the centuries, the electorate has increased as the franchise has widened (and rightly so), but parties have evolved and we now vote for the party rather than the individual (with occasional exceptions). That means that the local link is less important than in theory it ought to be; it is the National party that counts, not the local upon which first past the post essentially rests.

This means that whilst the MP for each area has a local majority, it has nothing to do with that MP unless she/he makes a spectacular gaffe or outstanding contribution and all to do with the National party machine.

This means then, that Nationwide a party can command widespread support that is not reflected locally and whilst polling a spectacular percentage of the National vote, get few seats in return.

It applies most starkly to the Lib Dems right now, but the principle is simple: if we are voting for National parties expounding National policies, the National will should prevail. If we are voting for local personalities on local issues, the local will should prevail - as often it does, hence a large number of Lib Dem councils but few MPs. The local-local criterion works, the local-National doesn't.

It is simply wrong, in my opinion, in 21st century society that an election where one party commands the support of 29% of the electorate can expect to gain 14% of the seats, while another party that has 28% support can gain 43% of the seats.

Democracy is the rule of the people. Coming top, (or winning outright)in an election, when placed third in the popular vote is simply not the rule of the people, therefore it is not democracy.

One of the reasons, I suspect, that fewer and fewer people vote. They don't think their vote will count and I submit that the figures support that belief.
caddyman: (Default)
I am less worried about who wins the election (though I have my preferences) than how they win the election. Essentially, the system we have of sending an elected representative to Parliament evolved and worked properly before the party system evolved. The electorate (such as it was) was represented by someone who would look out for local concerns.

Over the centuries, the electorate has increased as the franchise has widened (and rightly so), but parties have evolved and we now vote for the party rather than the individual (with occasional exceptions). That means that the local link is less important than in theory it ought to be; it is the National party that counts, not the local upon which first past the post essentially rests.

This means that whilst the MP for each area has a local majority, it has nothing to do with that MP unless she/he makes a spectacular gaffe or outstanding contribution and all to do with the National party machine.

This means then, that Nationwide a party can command widespread support that is not reflected locally and whilst polling a spectacular percentage of the National vote, get few seats in return.

It applies most starkly to the Lib Dems right now, but the principle is simple: if we are voting for National parties expounding National policies, the National will should prevail. If we are voting for local personalities on local issues, the local will should prevail - as often it does, hence a large number of Lib Dem councils but few MPs. The local-local criterion works, the local-National doesn't.

It is simply wrong, in my opinion, in 21st century society that an election where one party commands the support of 29% of the electorate can expect to gain 14% of the seats, while another party that has 28% support can gain 43% of the seats.

Democracy is the rule of the people. Coming top, (or winning outright)in an election, when placed third in the popular vote is simply not the rule of the people, therefore it is not democracy.

One of the reasons, I suspect, that fewer and fewer people vote. They don't think their vote will count and I submit that the figures support that belief.

No need to change?

Monday, April 19th, 2010 06:27 pm
caddyman: (Default)
Today's Poll of Polls (the survey that statistically combines all other surveys, if you need telling), breaks down party support thus:

Conservative 33%
Labour 28%
Liberal Democrats 29%
Other 10%


This translates to the following representation in Parliament:

Conservative 247 seats
Labour 280 seats
Liberal Democrats 94 seats
Other 29 seats.


That means that if we had the election today, there would be a hung parliament and that Labour, despite polling third, would be the largest party. The most popular party would come second and the second most popular, polling 1% more than Labour would come a distant third.

If ever there was a demonstration of just how unrepresentative our 'representative democracy' is, there's your evidence.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8609989.stm

No need to change?

Monday, April 19th, 2010 06:27 pm
caddyman: (Default)
Today's Poll of Polls (the survey that statistically combines all other surveys, if you need telling), breaks down party support thus:

Conservative 33%
Labour 28%
Liberal Democrats 29%
Other 10%


This translates to the following representation in Parliament:

Conservative 247 seats
Labour 280 seats
Liberal Democrats 94 seats
Other 29 seats.


That means that if we had the election today, there would be a hung parliament and that Labour, despite polling third, would be the largest party. The most popular party would come second and the second most popular, polling 1% more than Labour would come a distant third.

If ever there was a demonstration of just how unrepresentative our 'representative democracy' is, there's your evidence.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8609989.stm
caddyman: (Spider-Pig)
Well I am suitably worn out this morning before anything really gets going. It’s pretty much entirely my own fault so any whining I do should be viewed in that context: I have a habit of going to bed late, well after midnight even during the week and it is not unusual for it to be after one in the morning before I crawl under the duvet. It is not as bad as it could be as my alarm doesn’t go off until 7.20 in the morning but I should, I think, aim for an average of an extra hour asleep every night.

Last night it was my intention to get to bed around midnight, but for the second evening in succession I fell foul of the ordinance that states that any maintenance of a computer can only take place after eleven o’clock at night and that any such job, scheduled for ten minutes shall take a minimum of ninety and by preference, much longer.

This it was that in trying to cajole the supposedly ‘automatic’ and wildly misnamed ‘live update’ feature of Norton 360 into working (again), that I finally crawled into bed at just before 1.30. The previous evening it was 2.30, having decided to spend about ten to fifteen minutes uninstalling any application on my PC that hadn’t been used in the past three years on the grounds that I could really do with the space on my C:\ drive. At some point I am going to have to get some friendly soul to transfer my current C:\ drive to one of the physical disks on my machine. It is only about 40Gig and over the years has become so horribly cluttered that even “PC tune up” applications (which themselves take up valuable space) give up the ghost rather than deal with it. This is particularly annoying since I have various other physical disk drives in the machine with a total of over 300Gig of space excluding the 750Gig (which my PC insists is only 680Gig, so nyah, nyah) external drive I recently acquired. It is particularly aggravating that most programs and applications insist on installing on the C:\ drive when there is so much space elsewhere. Ho-hum.

Anyway, it’s done now.

In other news, there is some doubt in Whetstone as to the competence of the Spring Co-ordinator. People have been reporting Green Day in other locales for about ten days now, but it remains far from certain that it has arrived in the Dollis Valley, the main area of greenery around the Athenaeum Club. Some trees and bushes are determinedly in bud, others remain resolutely wintry and bare. There is no consistency of approach and I suspect that like much else in London, a function that was once governed by a single authority has been contracted out to the private sector, each little organiser doing its own thing to its own timetable because theirs is the ‘best and most efficient’ way of doing it. After years of unwelcome rule by Red Ken, I find this worrying. I should have thought that of all people, he and his far-left-leaning creed should have ensured that in matters such as this there would have been some top heavy bureaucratic institution of the Stalinist variety ensuring that the seasons run on time, or at least that there is an official and dogmatic reason why the dates are being varied for different species of tree and bush.

This means that I shall have to vote for Boris as Mayor next month. By then I should expect that the Spring Co-ordinator will have got the plants whipped into shape, and that everything will be properly green, so I don’t expect him to do anything (this year at least) to improve the co-ordination of tree budding in the capital.

It’s just that I think the capital would benefit from being governed by an inept but well-meaning sheepdog for four years.
caddyman: (Spider-Pig)
Well I am suitably worn out this morning before anything really gets going. It’s pretty much entirely my own fault so any whining I do should be viewed in that context: I have a habit of going to bed late, well after midnight even during the week and it is not unusual for it to be after one in the morning before I crawl under the duvet. It is not as bad as it could be as my alarm doesn’t go off until 7.20 in the morning but I should, I think, aim for an average of an extra hour asleep every night.

Last night it was my intention to get to bed around midnight, but for the second evening in succession I fell foul of the ordinance that states that any maintenance of a computer can only take place after eleven o’clock at night and that any such job, scheduled for ten minutes shall take a minimum of ninety and by preference, much longer.

This it was that in trying to cajole the supposedly ‘automatic’ and wildly misnamed ‘live update’ feature of Norton 360 into working (again), that I finally crawled into bed at just before 1.30. The previous evening it was 2.30, having decided to spend about ten to fifteen minutes uninstalling any application on my PC that hadn’t been used in the past three years on the grounds that I could really do with the space on my C:\ drive. At some point I am going to have to get some friendly soul to transfer my current C:\ drive to one of the physical disks on my machine. It is only about 40Gig and over the years has become so horribly cluttered that even “PC tune up” applications (which themselves take up valuable space) give up the ghost rather than deal with it. This is particularly annoying since I have various other physical disk drives in the machine with a total of over 300Gig of space excluding the 750Gig (which my PC insists is only 680Gig, so nyah, nyah) external drive I recently acquired. It is particularly aggravating that most programs and applications insist on installing on the C:\ drive when there is so much space elsewhere. Ho-hum.

Anyway, it’s done now.

In other news, there is some doubt in Whetstone as to the competence of the Spring Co-ordinator. People have been reporting Green Day in other locales for about ten days now, but it remains far from certain that it has arrived in the Dollis Valley, the main area of greenery around the Athenaeum Club. Some trees and bushes are determinedly in bud, others remain resolutely wintry and bare. There is no consistency of approach and I suspect that like much else in London, a function that was once governed by a single authority has been contracted out to the private sector, each little organiser doing its own thing to its own timetable because theirs is the ‘best and most efficient’ way of doing it. After years of unwelcome rule by Red Ken, I find this worrying. I should have thought that of all people, he and his far-left-leaning creed should have ensured that in matters such as this there would have been some top heavy bureaucratic institution of the Stalinist variety ensuring that the seasons run on time, or at least that there is an official and dogmatic reason why the dates are being varied for different species of tree and bush.

This means that I shall have to vote for Boris as Mayor next month. By then I should expect that the Spring Co-ordinator will have got the plants whipped into shape, and that everything will be properly green, so I don’t expect him to do anything (this year at least) to improve the co-ordination of tree budding in the capital.

It’s just that I think the capital would benefit from being governed by an inept but well-meaning sheepdog for four years.

Political Hypocrisy

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 10:32 am
caddyman: (Stalin Award)
I've gone off the increasingly barmy Lib Dems over the past few years, but in this instance they are spot on.

Freedom of Information


The Commons have voted on and passed a Private Member's Bill, the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill exempting themselves and Lords from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. This is additional to the protection they already enjoy when speaking in the House, which provided they do not use "Unparliamentary Language", means they can say pretty much what they want about anybody or anything unsubstantiated or not.

As we slowly stumble into a centralised and increasingly authoritarian state, we should retain as much accountability from our representatives as we can. We should not let then forget who serves whom.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lupercal for spotting and posting this in the first place. Stick it on your LJ or blog and get people to sign up.

Ptch. And me without my hat of ranting!

Political Hypocrisy

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 10:32 am
caddyman: (Stalin Award)
I've gone off the increasingly barmy Lib Dems over the past few years, but in this instance they are spot on.

Freedom of Information


The Commons have voted on and passed a Private Member's Bill, the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill exempting themselves and Lords from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. This is additional to the protection they already enjoy when speaking in the House, which provided they do not use "Unparliamentary Language", means they can say pretty much what they want about anybody or anything unsubstantiated or not.

As we slowly stumble into a centralised and increasingly authoritarian state, we should retain as much accountability from our representatives as we can. We should not let then forget who serves whom.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lupercal for spotting and posting this in the first place. Stick it on your LJ or blog and get people to sign up.

Ptch. And me without my hat of ranting!
caddyman: (earnest)
You always knew that you were in for a good episode of Star Trek in any of its incarnations, by looking at the cast list. The sillier the actors’ names, the better they would perform. Trek was always the prime example, but I found that it generally pays off in other shows or movies, too. It’s as if the more bizarre the name some poor sod had been landed with, the greater their motivation to make you identify with the character they were playing, rather than the actor’s name.

So, silly names equal success.

In the same way that the only way Doctor Who could only come back to the TV screens was when the fans grew up to become the decision-makers, it is good to see that Trek fans are beginning to use their new positions of influence and power to effect changes in politics, too. Of course, most Trek fans guided by Roddenberry’s utopian view gravitate to the traditional centre of mainstream politics, and then sit there squabbling over mutually contradictory policies before agreeing that they are all marvellous and adopting them wholesale. Welcome then, to the cognitively dissonant world of the Liberal Democratic Party. A party founded by four ex-Labour ministers who fell out of favour, and an existing party leader who looked at the 9 seats or so he had and thought that he could double it by merging with a bunch of high-profile deserters.

It’s a little early for the Silly Season to start in British politics, but ever hopeful of finding ways of enticing a little interest from a largely indifferent British public, we can always rely on the Liberal Democrats.

In the past two general elections under the leadership of Charlie (wee dram) Kennedy, they have steadily increased their representation in the House of Commons to the point where they are at their highest point since the 1920s, with 62 MPs. And then it transpires that Charlie (jus’ another wee dram) Kennedy is a recovering alcoholic, despite having denied having a drink problem until last week.

He isn’t he first person to deny he has a problem and he won’t be the last, and let’s face it, a drunk in charge of the Lib Dims is no great problem; it’s not as if he’s in charge of the country, or likely to be, or anything important like that.

Still, it has allowed the nerds of UK politics to flex their muscles and ensure that that he can no longer carry on as Lib Dim leader. Kennedy is not a good name for a political leader. It’s too ordinary on the one hand and too similar to an American dynasty on the other; and that’s a poor thing to have when half the fun of being a Lib Dim politician is to bash American politics and politicians.

Happily, what they lack in good sense (let’s get rid of our best leader for 80 years!) and prospects they more than make up for in silly names. And silly names equal success, let’s not forget.

The only MP to throw his hat into the ring so far in the leadership contest is Sir Menzies Campbell. Full marks there for being Christened after a newsagent chain, and stellar bonuses for revealing that your first name is pronounced Mingies.

Fantastic.

But there is another; one whose name is odd enough to guarantee an electoral success. The man to guarantee that the Lib Dims can win a landslide victory in 2009 or 2010, whenever the next general election may be: Lemsip Henpeck MP Lembit Opik MP.

And when you consider that in the Lords they have a chap called Lord Razzall, how can they go wrong.

Silly names are quality. Mark my words, they are on a roll. Gene Roddenberry would be proud.
caddyman: (earnest)
You always knew that you were in for a good episode of Star Trek in any of its incarnations, by looking at the cast list. The sillier the actors’ names, the better they would perform. Trek was always the prime example, but I found that it generally pays off in other shows or movies, too. It’s as if the more bizarre the name some poor sod had been landed with, the greater their motivation to make you identify with the character they were playing, rather than the actor’s name.

So, silly names equal success.

In the same way that the only way Doctor Who could only come back to the TV screens was when the fans grew up to become the decision-makers, it is good to see that Trek fans are beginning to use their new positions of influence and power to effect changes in politics, too. Of course, most Trek fans guided by Roddenberry’s utopian view gravitate to the traditional centre of mainstream politics, and then sit there squabbling over mutually contradictory policies before agreeing that they are all marvellous and adopting them wholesale. Welcome then, to the cognitively dissonant world of the Liberal Democratic Party. A party founded by four ex-Labour ministers who fell out of favour, and an existing party leader who looked at the 9 seats or so he had and thought that he could double it by merging with a bunch of high-profile deserters.

It’s a little early for the Silly Season to start in British politics, but ever hopeful of finding ways of enticing a little interest from a largely indifferent British public, we can always rely on the Liberal Democrats.

In the past two general elections under the leadership of Charlie (wee dram) Kennedy, they have steadily increased their representation in the House of Commons to the point where they are at their highest point since the 1920s, with 62 MPs. And then it transpires that Charlie (jus’ another wee dram) Kennedy is a recovering alcoholic, despite having denied having a drink problem until last week.

He isn’t he first person to deny he has a problem and he won’t be the last, and let’s face it, a drunk in charge of the Lib Dims is no great problem; it’s not as if he’s in charge of the country, or likely to be, or anything important like that.

Still, it has allowed the nerds of UK politics to flex their muscles and ensure that that he can no longer carry on as Lib Dim leader. Kennedy is not a good name for a political leader. It’s too ordinary on the one hand and too similar to an American dynasty on the other; and that’s a poor thing to have when half the fun of being a Lib Dim politician is to bash American politics and politicians.

Happily, what they lack in good sense (let’s get rid of our best leader for 80 years!) and prospects they more than make up for in silly names. And silly names equal success, let’s not forget.

The only MP to throw his hat into the ring so far in the leadership contest is Sir Menzies Campbell. Full marks there for being Christened after a newsagent chain, and stellar bonuses for revealing that your first name is pronounced Mingies.

Fantastic.

But there is another; one whose name is odd enough to guarantee an electoral success. The man to guarantee that the Lib Dims can win a landslide victory in 2009 or 2010, whenever the next general election may be: Lemsip Henpeck MP Lembit Opik MP.

And when you consider that in the Lords they have a chap called Lord Razzall, how can they go wrong.

Silly names are quality. Mark my words, they are on a roll. Gene Roddenberry would be proud.
caddyman: (Default)
This comes to my attention courtesy [livejournal.com profile] drjohnsilence, lurker supreme and erstwhile blogger:

Requires flash and sound. It's worth it. Music by Mr Doghorse, Animation by Miss Eclectech.

Don't say we don't bring you the classy stuff on this LJ...
caddyman: (Default)
This comes to my attention courtesy [livejournal.com profile] drjohnsilence, lurker supreme and erstwhile blogger:

Requires flash and sound. It's worth it. Music by Mr Doghorse, Animation by Miss Eclectech.

Don't say we don't bring you the classy stuff on this LJ...

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caddyman: (Default)
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