30 June 2009

Where are we headed?

I've been thinking lately, which in itself is never good, about old age and what will happen in the near future

I, and pretty much everyone alive right now, have all grown up with old people who went through the second world war, they may not have even served, but they witnessed it, grew up through terrible hardship... et cetera, et cetera

This has always produced an anchor of respect for the older generation, 'they fought off Hitler', or 'they lived through the blitz' - the onus has always been that the younger of us haven't done anything so meaningful

And by younger of us, I now mean anyone under the age of 70 - only those older than that will have any meaningful memories of the war, and to have served you need to be at the very least 82

I am not questioning what they went through, I am questioning what will happen when they're gone - in 10-20 years there will remain but a few centurions in wheelchairs, much like the last survivors of the first world war we have now

Even if there are still quite a few left by then, that broad connection that we all have with the war through our own relatives will be lost, grandparents will be like my own parents - Baby Boomers

No more will we have grandparents who witnessed D-Day, or even German air raids, as my own grandfather did, too young to actually serve, and yet he has already passed of old age

I've been wondering how this will affect generational communication, the loss of the living memory of one of the most significant events in world history is in itself important, but I've really been wondering how this will affect how the old will be viewed

You might think we just go back to how it was before - but there never was a 'before', our modern world has never had a generation who didn't go through one of the major world wars - we're talking about the end of the Victorian period here, not only was old age a relative rarity but technologically and politically it was eons ago, the world is immensely different now (we have the X factor now...)

So I see this as a real break - the first point in 'modern' (or post-modern if you want to be a pedant) history where the old will have no moral authority over the young, no massive issue of respect to beat the rest of us with

Think about it, the old aged will soon be the Baby Boomers - the generation which many of its own call 'the worst generation' - what tales of horror will they scare the grandkids with? The Cold War? The Summer of Love?

I don't particularly regard the Baby Boomers as any worse than the rest of us, they are usually seen as indicative of greed and excess, with a monopoly on power and placing a burden on the future generations, but that really doesn't matter - the point is that they aren't held in any higher esteem than the younger members of society

So when they become the old there'll be no nostalgic stories of where they served, or respect based on the fact that they shot down 17 Nazis, they'll just be people who lived through a time of relative security and increasing standards of living, granted there were negatives like the threat of Nuclear holocaust and the IRA attacks, but they don't compare to the nostalgia of 'fighting Gerry'

So how will it change? Will we as a society be more resentful of the large, privileged group who will now be a burden upon us? Will we continue to respect our elders and nothing will change? Will politics modernise substantially?

You could use the monarchy as a metaphor here - the Queen will, I'm sorry to say, eventually die, the much-loved sovereign who is held in high esteem and whose good grace has probably kept the monarchy alive in this country, will be replaced by her son - ridiculed by many, held in contempt by some, he will never attain the same level of respect as his mother, what little deference there is left for the monarchy will die with Liz, and that may well represent the symbolic death of that generation as well

In a wider sense, will we learn from the past? Many historians attribute, at least to some extent, the farcical first world war on the century of relative peace preceding it - the hardship of war was long forgotten and in many ways, romanticised

Somehow I doubt we'll be sending Imperial forces off expecting them home for Christmas, but will nations be less inclined to make peace the main priority? Maybe we'll become more selfish and protectionist, despite the impact of the UN and globalisation

We've already seen that people have largely forgotten the fear over totalitarian ideas that Nazi Germany provided us, I wonder how many adults from the 1950s would like the idea of ID cards being reintroduced - there has been an increasing trend of late for our selfish fears to circumscribe the basic freedoms that Churchill celebrated

No doubt we are a freer and more liberal country now, but it seems we are more and more willing to give up basic rights for our 'safety'

Likewise people seem to be prepared to resort to more extreme action, I could use voting for the BNP as one example, but there's a lot of other issues in that one

No doubt it will be an interesting few decades - in some ways it will be good to see what happens without a generation who can inspire huge levels of guilt in the rest of us, it really is quite amazing how a conflict which people had no choice over has been used as a stick to beat the rest of us with - many right-wingers talk about disrespect and how the young couldn't have fought the war (not that they did either) when in reality they had no choice in the matter and behaved as any human would have when confronted with that reality

I often wonder what the vast number of soldiers who never got out of their twenties would make of the use of their names now

But regardless, I just hope that we do in fact remember our history as it becomes less and less raw to those currently alive, and we don't, once again, forget our past

23 June 2009

Speaker Dobbin?

I guess it's time for everyone to get the knives out...Bercow is the new speaker

I have no real interest in criticising him, merely how he was elected - in short this shows the utter contempt Labour have for the electorate and our democracy

Make no mistake, this was a plot by petty Labour MPs to place the most problematic person into the chair they could - it was childish

Why do I criticise their choice in a secret ballot so much? Because it is plain for all to see that Labour MPs were committed to returning the position to the Tories, presumably so they got some of the blame, but they then deliberately chose the one Tory who the Tories would hate

I doubt that only 3 or 4 Tories voted for him, as is widely reported, but it's probably not much more - this is quite simply a childish act by the Labour lot to piss off the blue camp, who will now have to live with him if the election goes as we all expect it too

Clearly they haven't learnt a thing...

The point is not that Bercow can't do the job, or that the Tories will be that fussed about it - it is quite simply that Labour did this purely as a stunt, and showed complete contempt for their elected positions when they chose to use something as noble as the position of Speaker to annoy the other side, it doesn't even serve a practical political purpose - there is no discernible benefit to them, they just seem to think it's funny

Insular, out-of-touch and careerist barely even do them justice anymore, this does nothing to restore the authority of Parliament and frankly the Labour MPs behind this deserve to be strung up, they do not understand, or care, about the state of our democracy

This truly is Caligula appointing his horse as consul

22 June 2009

County House

So apparently rural communities are under threat from the closure of their shops and pubs

Hardly news, but I was more interested in the belief that it is the lack of 'affordable housing' causing this problem - meaning villages are full of commuters and holiday houses, instead of 'local people'

League of Gentlemen jokes aside, I feel this is a rather short-sighted approach

The problem is that not enough people use rural services and provisions - shops and pubs don't get enough business in essence, and I agree that to some extent this is caused by the rise of commuter belts and holiday villages, although the two are a bit different

But there is more to it than simply needing to add more people to the community - why exactly is there less business? Because nobody is at home in the day

Now if you asked me, being a village person myself, why very few people use the local provisions I would indeed say there is nobody home - only pensioners and housewives, but I would like to emphasise that last group housewives (fine, or househusbands) - there has been a huge decline in the number of stay-at-home parents in recent decades, meaning rather than one spouse being at home, engaging with the local community, the house is empty and they are both off somewhere - hence nobody to pop to the post office for a bottle of milk

I am not endorsing a return to the old sole bread-winner lifestyle, as certain right-wing pundits do, I merely point it out as a fact that both partners are more than likely to be working these days

I feel that this is a major factor in rural decline - I don't pass judgement on society for it, that's just the way we've gone and this seems a fairly obvious economic outcome

Secondly, there is the point about commuters - images of well-attired London yuppies heading off to the city at 6am springs to mind, but one must remember that virtually all workers in a village 'commute' - that can be, as in my case, a six mile drive to town, likewise all my family work locally, but not in the actual village - villages do not have jobs, unless as in a few cases I know they happen to house an office or other large employer

Were you to build more housing in my village, assuming these people intended to work, they too would be commuters - unless they found a (low-paid) job in said pub or shop, where the combined employment is about 15

There are other rural jobs - arable farms of course in my native East Anglia, but now they are very intensive, highly mechanised operations, the few employment opportunities they present are seasonal - not great for securing the rural economy

The holiday home issue, which blights the south coast, is not the same as this and probably makes the situation worse, but it is not something I've had first hand experience of, but arguably the commuter aspect still threatens underneath that anyway

So at the bottom of this is that there aren't enough jobs to support the communities - this has always been the way in rural places (at least since the industrial revolution kicked off), children grow up in the village and move to the towns to find work - now that the agricultural employment sector has been reduced to nothing and few spouses stay at home it is unsurprising that village economies have been harshly exposed

What these campaigners want is more housing for people who 'live' there - thus using the services and keeping them going - but I fear they are over-simplifying, more people would just mean more empty houses

With regard to the places that are vacant for half the year, I understand, but I still feel they will hit the next hurdle if they clear that, which villages like mine are currently at

So ultimately the solution is to bring more jobs into villages - the most active villages in my area tend to have one notable business located there, which does keep things like shops going - but many small, particularly farming based, ones, are completely devoid of employment opportunities

Likewise it's clear that society is damaging the role of the post offices with the Internet, so the villages must fight back with the Internet - one core way for rural-dwellers to make a living is through Internet businesses or tele-working - thus there are more people at home to use the local facilities rather than their local tesco express in the city

You must also keep up with modern life - people still like pubs, but these days it's all about catchment - pubs need to attract their locals from far wider than just the few hundred people in the actual village, our 'local' is actually in the next village and is very popular - the decline is in part down to rising overheads, a problem in itself, and changing drinking habits, but it should be remembered that if a pub only has a handful of punters it's not really a successful business - very free marketeer of me to say so, but like I say, I think campaigners should focus their attention on the costs, taxes and the breweries before simply wanting to expand the population

Likewise, while still in free-market mode, half the problem with small rural shops is they are reliant on pensioners and welfare claimants - now while I like my shop and try to use it, the fact is post offices are unfortunately almost redundant now - you don't need to collect payments, pay bills, tax etc at the PO anymore - it's all done online, hence why the PO has tried in vain for years to basically be a bank or anything else that will get people in the door - it has got to the stage where subsidisation seems appropriate, and I don't completely oppose that - basing public services purely on profit does not produce good service in my experience, and while we're on public service, it's not convenient for many old people to live in villages anymore - with bus routes non-existent and rather ironically, the most convenient shops disappearing, they are better off in the towns

Truth is there are a lot of reasons why the rural communities are dying, modern life stacks the odds against a rural business - but throwing catch-all ideas about increasing housing probably won't solve a thing - it needs novel, and ultimately individual, solutions to preserve each one, if it is even right that we should

21 June 2009

Class Dismissed

I couldn't help but comment on Janet Street Porter's analysis of the expenses saga - to her it shows that the class system hasn't changed

The class system still existing is an interesting theory - I don't see how you can regard those who own moats or servants' quarters as representative of a broad social class - no doubt they are 'upper class' but they represent such a tiny minority it is hardly worth noting, they are the remnants of it, and are mostly left in just the political arena

The true debate over class has always been the middle vs working classes, who make up 99% of the population - the items she describes the Labour MPs as claiming for are no different to what any average middle class person would consider (e.g. treating dry rot), few in the 'middle' classes would be claiming for silver tea trays and moat cleaning

Janet presents the Labour MPs, who claim for biscuits and jellied eels, as essentially working-class heroes (although she herself says only 10% of MPs are working class, don't ask me how she worked out that figure) - while the Tories claim for conservatories, duck pond houses and moat cleaning - therefore they are middle or upper-class toffs

I fail to see what exactly that proves - the Tory party is stuffed full of millionaires and toffs, the core theme being that their status is inherited rather than earned, it always has been this way

Does that really show a class divide? Tory voters are the average middle-class person, they tend to work, own their homes and dislike paying tax - nothing about the average voter relates to the fact that the average Tory MP lives in a castle

What it does show is that Tory voters are idiots for being duped into allowing the landed wealth to represent them - these people are a tiny proportion of society, if they are actually a class, they do not represent the broader class divisions across society - they merely show that parliament is for the old elites and the wealthy

This has little bearing on the Labour members - who may all feast on jellied eels, but have the niece of the 7th Earl of Longford on their front bench (that'd be Hattie), as well as 'Son of the Manse' Brown, and of course Blair, almost as privileged as Cameron himself - for every Prescott or Johnson, there's a Blair or Harman

You want to make this about class? Then the real facts are that most MPs are professional middle-classes, gaining their second home and buying big tellies, granted a fair chunk of Tories are gentry, but there are plenty of those middle-class people who don't own half of Oxfordshire on the blue side - the fact is, almost all of them are in there through privilege or contacts, the rest came in from the unions (which presumably is the 10% Janet mentioned)

If you need any further evidence of Janet's slant - note her argument, she starts 'comparing' food - listing the apparently working class food (pork pies, biscuits) of Charles Clarke (privately-educated Cambridge man) and Nick Brown, but then compares that to a Tory buying orchids and getting an aga serviced, nothing about the food they bought - she also omits the fact that Nick Brown has claimed £19,000 in food bills in four years, considering few think 'food' is a legitimate expense ('do you eat twice?') this seems pretty suspect - oh and using the Tory leader as pretty much the sole named example...he who is descended from William IV, hardly a representative sample - my (Tory) MP claimed for a £300 washing machine - yes, he actually does his own washing!!

I don't know why she picks on the aga - I wouldn't be surprised if Janet had an aga herself, they're a common staple of the middle-classes, any MP could afford one on their salary, or indeed a house big enough for one - they're in the top 10% of earners after all

But she goes on to paint the Labour MPs as 'desperately trying to claw their way up the property ladder' - the use of the term desperate for someone on double the average household salary, with one of the best pensions you can get, seems a tad extreme, especially considering over half of the Labour party have been in government, meaning they earn even more! But no, no Labour MPs struggle to make ends meet - employing mates to do some plumbing on the cheap - does this not hint of someone engaging in complete fantasy? I am unashamedly middle-class, my parents combined income is below an MPs salary, and they live the middle-class dream pretty well - if Labour MPs are having trouble paying the mortgage I suggest they seek a financial advisor

The article is also misleading, for all Janet's disparaging of Labour's failures over the past 12 years there's some rather obvious psychological warfare buried in this - the basic premise is: criticise Labour, because they're crap - but the Tories are toffs, Labour are decent people, so keep the faith in Labour, all wrapped in what seems like a general swipe at politics...not very subtle

The average person is not represented by any party, Labour are no more 'the working man's party' than the Tories (or even the Lib Dems), so don't be duped by Janet that Labour is full of hard-working commoners representing us humble peasants - they are all members of the 'political class'

19 June 2009


I took this from the Sketch at the Independent:

In another corridor, a Tory MP was coming out in favour of Kitty Ussher. He was carrying a Revenue pamphlet written for MPs. "Which is your 'main residence'?" it asks. The answer is: "You can choose," and "It does not have to be your 'home' for the purposes of [Additional Cost Allowance]".

There it is. Black letter advice from HM Revenue. "Your choice is relevant for capital gains tax only." I defy any British citizen of sound mind to ignore such advice in order to pay more tax.

"MPs are the only people in Britain who are now not allowed to do this," a Labour MP said, referring to the flipping.

That's interesting...here's what Kitty Ussher said:

In her resignation letter, Ms Ussher said her actions were in line with guidance from Revenue and Customs, the Commons authorities and the firm of accountants which she had consulted.

....She added: "I did not do anything wrong....Neither have I abused the allowance system of the House of Commons in any way."

Umm, haven't you? So you buy a house on expenses, finance it, then sell it at a profit to yourself and avoid tax by 'flipping' the homes (yes, I know the 'buying' is mortgage interest only, it's still savings of 20k a year on a property you will own outright)

That looks kind of bad, and I haven't even bothered to see if she furnished this home with expenses - most of them do, what happened to the furniture? Sell it or use it, that's a personal gain from the expenses account - however this is merely my speculation so, onward --

It's true, what she did for tax purposes isn't illegal - it's a tax dodge, and we are all entitled to do that and we all would if we could

The point is not really the legality, it's basic decency, and in some (OK, most) cases moral outrage is ridiculous, in others it's perfectly reasonable

I don't think people care that their MP dodges tax, were it two of their own homes, that weren't subsidised by the state, I, at least, would not have a problem - but this, like many other cases, is taking as much as you can from your expenses to feather your own nest

Like I say, it's not illegal (I think), but it's cynical, deceptive and morally dubious - and I think people generally expect a little better of their representatives, obviously some MPs felt it was wrong as they didn't do it too

Here's the facts: Kitty buys house in Burnley as second home, therefore it is funded by ACA, Kitty re-designates this house as primary residence one month before selling it, therefore avoiding CGT and keeping the money from the sale

Within the rules, yes, legal, yes - but is it honest, is it decent? If anyone tries to tell you that MPs aren't supposed to be beyond reproach then they are lying - that's a part of the job, several have been smart enough to actually realise the situation was wrong, while others have just played along - MPs are supposed to be decent, they are not like company directors who aren't accountable to the public - they can lose their jobs for having affairs for god's sake! Surely fiddling expenses is higher up than their personal sex lives?

My view: I don't think Kitty is the devil in this, in theory if you buy a second home for work, pay the interest on expenses, then sell it - you aren't making a profit and shouldn't be paying CGT anyway - but she did make a profit and I think if you can't see the problem with creating wealth off your parliamentary expenses then you're a bit thick, the estimated figure she owed was "between £9,750 and £16,800" which is 18% of her 'gain' - meaning she made a profit of £54,000 - £92,000 on that property - she has no right to be taking a profit off a home we contributed a similar amount to, and then she dodges the tax on her 'profit' that we funded...

in all honesty there are far worse cases than this, the system should work in a much better way (such as at least preventing profiteering off the ACA by taking capital back)

So yeah, people should make up their own minds if that was acceptable behaviour

*Also, her husband just so happens to be an accountant...I wonder which firm was hired

18 June 2009

A bit o' bias

I must say, I wasn't too impressed with this BBC (magazine) article on battling the pirates

It is principally focused on trying to stop 'pirates', and then goes to pains to point out that people doing the downloading are using a false logic to justify what they do

This is one area I could see bias - it's rare that I find an article that I feel cheated by, most complaints of BBC bias are from right-wingers whinging the Beeb don't criticise gays or promote the death penalty

As I would say to them, it's because the law supports that position - you can't place a huge amount of emphasis on a minority group who oppose the right to be gay, they are allowed to exist of course, but you can't promote every group that opposes the law (although the BBC 'balance' policy may become that farcical one day)

If you look at more mainstream issues - there's plenty of space given to debate gay marriage, but there's little point pandering to a small group when society is broadly in favour and the law backs it up

The same goes for piracy, it is technically a crime - some areas are grey, but to give too much space to this sort of act would be very anti-establishment and would arguably be just as biased, I wouldn't expect it from the Beeb

I would expect a slightly less one-sided article, but welcome to the Magazine, it's a very strange and opinionated area of the site for old people - and I also remembered the fairer write-up the Pirate Party of Sweden got recently, and here's a clip from them

This article does grate at me, but thinking rationally I don't regard it as making the BBC biased, but what I will point out is the patronising of those who promote downloading as 'neutralisation' - there is no weight given to those theories and that I felt was going too far (allowing the industry to get their own way basically)

Issues such as regional coding, DRM, and exploitation are all valid - this is very much a battle between those who want to keep the power and those utilising a new method of distribution - for the article to simply belittle those arguments as being some sort of denial was wrong in my view

Just because there's a law against something doesn't make it wrong (so Lisa, go to your room) - when seven million people apparently break that law it means something needs to change, or be ignored (mince pies...)

What's the old adage - when one person does it, you arrest them, when five people do it, you move them along, when fifty people do it...you join in

You can't expect the BBC to promote it, just like they can't promote cannabis use - but they will do regular features on the issues because they are largely in the public interest

And as an aside - if the government actually want people to take note of their arguments they should stop lying in cannabis adverts - nobody trusts you to tell the truth so telling somebody 'piracy' is wrong is doing nothing when you aren't seen as a trustworthy public guardian

Aside #2 - why do Labour allow bullying in their 'knock-off Nigel' advert? As far as I'm aware it clearly promotes bullying of somebody doing something they dislike - calling a person names, seems pretty low to me, and if I were called Nigel I wouldn't be very impressed - should the government be picking on a name? Not that I hugely care, you understand, but that this government is so PC it seems rather hypocritical to me

Bruno ruffles feahers

Bruno at the MTV awards

Hehe - he just had to hit Eminem didn't he? He, and his large, surly entourage, were not impressed with a naked Austrian homosexual landing on them

Lighten up, boys

17 June 2009

Why does he lie?

Why does Gordon continue trying to take us for fools?

All this guff over "Tory cuts, Labour 'investment'" is just Gordon trying to draw a simplistic line between the two parties - the way in which the Labour members jeered suggests they're happy to play this game

The fact is that every economist, every blogger, every journalist has pointed out that there is a real-term cut - Gordon is actually lying by saying it's a real-term rise, it is a cash rise - in as much as 628-632 is a rise of 4 billion in cash, but *not* in real-terms (which he persistently said)

That's a bit like getting paid £100 one year and then thinking £101 the next year is more - it's not

Anybody who thinks one of those list of numbers he read out (seriously, it was bingo calling) represents a rise is having a laugh - do you know what 4 billion out of 628 is? It's 0.6% - take out inflation and it's a decrease (or 'cut'), further take out interest repayments, which are in no way an 'investment' and it's pretty whopping

But as I said - we all know Labour's budget holds a real-term decrease, does he expect people to believe his 'Tory 10% cut' line?

Will Labour voters swallow this? I really hope they can't because Gordon just stands there and lies - he likes the line, it's always worked before, but this time people appreciate that spending must fall or we go bankrupt

Nick Robinson thinks that even though it's a lie, people are affected by the argument and might be swayed - oh great

So the question for the election will probably be - do you believe we need to pay off our massive debt or not -

It will appeal to Tory voters, and somehow I doubt Gordon can sway many people, add to that Labour are a spent force

16 June 2009

A Calm Chat

Bruce Anderson has written a good article about constitutional reform

In it he makes the oft-stated point that reform needs to be calmly thought out, not a knee-jerk response to the expenses fiasco - very true

However, while he plays the realist he forgets probably the one most realistic feature of this debate: we will not get any reform without strong public backing, the establishment parties will never voluntarily give up their monopolies, that much is evident

The Jenkins Report was calm and thorough, however it never went anywhere because Blair and Labour had no need to use it - anybody who expects politicians to nobly reform the system for the good of the people is frankly barking, and yes I agree with him that the Libs support PR because it benefits them, but that doesn't mean they don't make a valid point

The truth is this public sentiment will not last long, hopefully it will carry into the next election, but apathy with soon return after that - we reformers can go on arguing forever but the wider public won't care about such issues for long, and no longer under threat, the governing party can simply forget the issue

It is true that 'hard thinking in a calm atmosphere' will provide the best result - however who exactly will be doing this? Unfortunately any reformers have to strike while the iron is hot, Bruce Anderson seems to show a remarkable naivety (which means it's deliberate) about how politics is done - in theory all politics should be calm and rational, but it never is, it's based on populism and strategic thinking, the ideal of good governance for the sake of it is an incredibly rare trait - and so reform must be debated now, otherwise it won't be at all

If you wish to see Bruce's not-so-subtle dig at reform you only have to note his example of what happens with proportional systems - Israel

We all know about Israel, with its dozens of parties and not having made it to the end of a term in 20 years, all very bad

But I'm afraid Israel is the extreme, it is often used to stymie proponents of PR but in reality you are comparing a small state, set up under controversial conditions and with pretty extreme racial and religious divides to the one of the stablest countries in the world

Also Israel uses a very basic model of PR - it's a closed-list system based on the national vote, with only a 2% electoral threshold (which was only just introduced) - there are a lot of systems out there that work a lot better

Germany is probably the best example, and which do you think is a better comparison to Britain? The large European nation or the small Jewish state in the middle-east?

Germany is, you might say, a peaceful and industrious nation these days - it's only had two Chancellors since 1998, both pretty strong, and both elected, in a marked difference to what we've had to put up with, and it doesn't appear to be collapsing

Germany uses the mixed-member system (MMP), which is far more robust than the simplistic PR system - it uses FPTP for 299 seats, then tops up the remaining 299 with the share of the vote, meaning that a party with a higher share of the vote but less seats (like the Lib Dems) would receive their extra seats, but also that Labour would keep their directly elected members in 'overhang' seats - there are also stricter thresholds (5% or three seats) that prevent minor fringe parties splitting the parliament, a response to the weaknesses that brought the Weimar Republic to its knees

This is basically the system that has been proposed in Britain since the 70s, and the AV+ system proposed by Jenkins in 1999 was pretty similar, as it is a good way of keeping politicians linked to constituents - it is this system (watered-down, I might add) that is used in Scotland, Wales and London, so when critics start talking about the failures of Israel or Italy just remember it's not the same thing and we've been using it for years already

This system is widely seen to be one of the best - no system is perfect, of course, but in it you get to ensure there is a local link to MPs as well as ensure fairness at the national level - Andrew Neil did raise the point that you can fail to win your own election and then end up in parliament through this system - (so despised people, eg. Mandelson, if he wasn't already appointed Lord Protector, can still win) but this could be balanced with an open-list system as well as 'best-runner up' spots

In the end it may well be seen as a necessary evil of the system, it's a matter for debate whether the flaws of our own system are any better, one can argue that it would be quite fair that the most popular Lib Dem who didn't win an election deserves a seat based on the national vote, as the arbitrary geographical divisions are what separate the electorate

As such, this system has been adopted in New Zealand and is strongly supported in Canada (by a majority, but not a big-enough majority)

So while Israel may have an epic failure of an electoral system, let's look at who among the western world manage a proportional system:

Australia (upper house, run-off in the lower house)
Czech Rep
India (upper house)
New Zealand
South Africa
South Korea (mixed with FPTP)

FPTP (or plurality voting) is used, at least in some part, in 43 nations, less than a quarter of the UN, a select list:

India (lower house)
South Korea (partly)

oh, and Pakistan...

That's about it, the rest are generally former British colonies in the Caribbean and Africa - and as I say, New Zealand have moved away from the British model, Canada seem willing to, and most liberated Eastern European countries have opted for some sort of PR

It leaves the US and the UK as the two major proponents of the system

We can argue all we like over the best system, but it's pretty clear that the world is moving away from the arcane system we dragged out of the Middle Ages

PR may not be the right answer, but we can be pretty sure that FPTP, on its own at least, is the wrong one

15 June 2009

Gordon loves you

If there ever were a reason for fixed term parliaments, or just a general reform of politics - this is it

Gordon Brown writes a puff piece for the only remaining Labour stronghold, the Mirror, and attacks the Tories while saying all the great things he's (or rather, Blair's) done

Party politics, I hate it and I always will, but there's not much I can do about it - but my point here is that there is a fundamental unfairness to our system - this is basically a party political broadcast for an upcoming election, only Gordon knows (if he actually does) when an election will be - he gets to wait until the point when he feels he can dig the knife in the deepest, or wait until he's got some good press - that is not healthy for government

Secondly, in a more general point - why should the Prime Minister devote his time to attacking the opposition? He is supposed to run the country, for all of us, and shouldn't be behaving like the leader of the Labour Party first, and the leader of the nation second - this article is blatant, writing about how good your government has been is different to picking up on something the opposition have said and attempting to twist it into a strawman argument - this is simple politicking and should be left to the party apparatchiks

Like any MP, he is expected to represent the interests of all his constituents - an MP cannot use his professional position as an MP to create a political blog and smear the other parties, so why can the PM write an article in a newspaper doing it? And of course, why is such a 'busy' man spending his time writing about party politics in a tabloid? Clearly he had some free time to pen an article for what remains of the believers, and yet he claims the government are getting on with it and incredibly busy

But no, this is simply an opinion piece targeted at the core Labour vote in the run-up to an election, it serves no purpose to government or the British people - it's an abuse of power and thoroughly unprofessional and so when you hear politicians argue against fixed terms, remember this is why they don't want them

New poll: The Speaker

Well my poll is ridiculously old and I have been trying to think of something decent to ask, but I just haven't been able to - the best I came up with is 'what colour is Gordon Brown's underwear?'

So anyway, I believe the vote for the new speaker is a week away so I've asked about that

For what it's worth I favour Frank Field, Richard Shepherd, Alan Beith and Parmjit Dhanda (in no particular order)

My selections are based on the ones I feel are most likely to be helpful to reform, the others I view as too 'establishment' for the role

Naturally none of my choices have a chance - it seems Labour will scupper Frank Field for being too popular and independent minded reformers are hardly likely to be elected by the current load of traditionalists - Bercow seems to be the favourite and he wouldn't be the *worst* choice - personally I think he's better actually being allowed to have an opinion

There is also the 'Widdecombe Wildcard' - I wouldn't support her if it was up to me, independent she is, but impartial, never - but she is only standing to be an interim speaker, stepping down at the next election

Now that I can agree with, this clamour to restore the authority of Parliament would be best served by having a new Parliament electing a new speaker, rather than let a load of old duffers who are resigning for 'family reasons' choose - I mean, we are going to lose 100-or-so MPs at the election so why should we let them choose a speaker? Couple that with the obvious reality that there will probably be another few hundred casualties and quite a few new Tory MPs it makes sense for the speaker to be chosen then

Then of course there's the irony that none of us will have a say anyway - this time the election is seen as pretty important but we still leave it up to the selfish interests of the party politicians, which wouldn't normally be a problem considering we normally jut regard the speaker as a part of the furniture, but this time it feels like the public should be involved

13 June 2009

Ze List

Here's a list of interesting articles that I should note or I'll forget

The Mail have a story about minor royals costing us a fortune in police resources - I say scrap police protection for non-essential royals, particularly if they're going to abuse their position - restrict it to the direct heirs (Charles and his sons) and matters of state business, people like Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice have no right to be protected while they backpack around south America like every other teenager, funded by birthright and yet never giving anything back to the country

Mark Easton has written a brilliant piece once again criticising the government's use of dodgy stats, and doubly great for me, he is criticising Harman's ridiculous stats about the gender pay-gap - I will endeavour to promote this page whenever a feminist angers me

I love Mark Easton so much, he's getting his own tag

Not So Super:Heroes Volume 4 (series 3) Review

Something a little different for the weekend

I know I am a little late in covering this, but I can’t help it if I’m not a yank – so if anyone happens to read this, be warned there are *spoilers*

So, Heroes Volume 4: Fugitives has come to an end, and I felt I should review it because frankly the show messes with my head and annoys me greatly, yet I am compelled to watch it

Let me start out by saying I only started watching this series on a probationary basis, as the past two ‘volumes’ have been pretty dire, and the Heroes writers said they were going to effectively start from scratch with this one, so no confusing back stories or multiple universe shenanigans – although the cast remained virtually untouched you didn’t ‘need’ to know their stories

So obviously, it passed my test and I watched it til the end, the first episodes were promising, with a government conspiracy bound to enrage any decent libertarian - it did very nearly become 'Heroes do the A-team' early on, but it averted that scenario

But unfortunately it never really went anywhere, the government conspiracy was quickly destabilised and never really inspired the sense of fear that it should have, there were moments with Claire’s storyline, but they quickly evaporated, while the other heroes seemed to move with relative impunity as anonymous extras were hunted down and Sylar went on a killing spree road trip, the menacing Sylar once again bringing the only real quality to the show

I say this while also pointing out that Sylar’s daddy issues and consequent identity crisis, which lasted for two episodes, were pretty weak plot points, and yet the character, and Zachary Quinto’s performance, shone through once again

There were some other good points, ‘The Hunter’ was well cast (I can’t spell his name) and he played a decent straight man through the series, though I felt he wasn’t particularly menacing, as he was meant to be, and he could’ve been developed a lot more as he was basically the only new character in this series, but the character redeemed himself for me when he foolishly played in to Sylar’s hands, one of the highlights of the season

The comedy aspect, as usual, was good and I’m left wondering that if it weren’t for Hiro and Sylar this show would have been toast long ago – Hiro and Ando’s adventures are always fun to watch and usually the only ones from the good guys’ side that are enjoyable – in this series they had to rescue a baby - ‘touch and go’ Matt Parkman Jr. which was insanely daft

Otherwise there weren’t a lot of positives to note – the show has always been driven by character development and ‘normal people with super powers’ and I felt that those characters were getting too far detached from their realities. Peter in particular was a great character in the first season, like most of them actually, his troubles were initially rooted in real life but now he’s a second rate character with little real development, he is very briefly at the start working as a paramedic, but that soon goes out the window as he turns fugitive and attempts to solve his pretty mediocre and repetitive family problems

But the really annoying thing about Peter is that the writer’s constantly have to invent new ways to keep him weakened – he has enormous potential, but were he allowed to actually keep his powers he wouldn’t have any flaws or fears and so the writers have so far: allowed him to retain all the powers he finds, wiped his memory and sent him to Ireland, removed his powers completely, then returned his power but in a limited capacity – which was the limit of his original power!!

It’s crazy to anyone who has followed this show since the start – and here’s the kicker, they never let you see the final fight between him and Sylar, in the finale Peter obtains all of Sylar’s powers and then battles him – behind closed doors!! Literally...All we get is a light show through a crack in the door while probably the best scene in the series is denied to us – why do they do that? The Heroes team love to brag about their special effects and then they refuse the one bit of action we’ve been waiting for, that really pissed me off

Also on the subject of the finale – Hiro was shown to be suffering ill-effects from his power (now only half what it initially was) and warned to stop using them, he then uses it one last time to save Noah and promptly collapses – the next time we see him is in the final scene alive and well – now that’s just sloppy writing, it seems pretty clear they ran out of time, but to not even explain what happened seems very lazy to me, and makes the noble sacrifice he made pretty worthless, it also seems pretty strange that his half-strength power that he only got back a few days before was killing him after he spent the previous two series stopping time willy-nilly, and nobody else seemed to suffer from their powers

Likewise the third coming of Ali Larter was somewhat infuriating – not that I mind the actress or characters, but she has now been killed twice and brought back in a new form – first it was the more dubious secret triplet, and now she has changed from an ice queen to a water queen, which wouldn’t be an unreasonable change IF they hadn’t already brought her back with a pretty ropey explanation before, making the audience think she has died twice is pretty infuriating and bordering on a theme

The story also focused on the birth of the company and how it was founded out of a previous failed government programme (all very symbolic) – this was a better plot point and was part of the reasonably strong lead-up to the disappointing finale, whether or not people enjoyed seeing the company in a positive light after three seasons of it being a rather sinister operation is debateable – I liked the reasoning behind it, but portraying it in such a good light seemed a tad over the top after what it did – to me it was very reminiscent of how the Lost writers gradually changed our opinion of ‘the Others’ and it was nowhere near the same level (Lost has completely wrecked me, I know)

So overall, it was disappointing – not as disappointing as the second season, but it certainly suffered similar problems – the main problem seems to be a lack of time, they blamed the second season on the writer’s strike, resulting in a hastily-put-together finale, but they chose to do the same thing with ‘fugitives’ – opting for a 14-episode arc, and frankly it wasn’t enough to set the scene or develop the characters effectively – put in broader terms, this continues Heroes’ theme of setting up a series pretty well and then failing to deliver, with a sprinkling of decent acting – there was, and always has been, an excellent concept and a good set-up at the heart of Heroes, but they have always failed to live up to that initial promise, and there doesn’t seem to be any particular direction running through the show, it is always changing with very sharp turns

Likewise I felt they could’ve introduced new characters in this series, all of the current cast were in it from the start (bar Danko) and considering the writers wanted a clean start they could have brought some fresh blood in seeing as all the main characters are pretty much all explored now – it wouldn’t have been very hard to pick up on a few considering there were dozens of extras rounded up, but they just left the old faces to carry the story along – a mistake in my opinion

In the end of course, they have won because I have watched nearly 60 episodes of it and it’s still alive, but ratings are falling and it’s really a pretty mediocre show – which isn’t too bad by American standards, as long as it makes some money it will continue, much like Grey’s Anatomy does – but you really have to think there must be some pride involved somewhere – I wouldn’t want to create a show that *just* pulled it in, I’d want one that a lot of people loved, or a smaller amount of people really loved – something akin to Lost, BSG, the Wire, currently Heroes is being outdone in quality by Desperate Housewives, which my mother watches! So I will continue with Season 4, again on a probationary period, which may please the accountants but isn’t so good for the writers – bear in mind that I will actually stop watching, I did it with Prison Break (fortunately Heroes isn’t on Fox so they won’t totally destroy it for the sake of it) – So be warned, Tim Kring

12 June 2009

A real pandemic!! woohoo!!

I have a question about swine flu

Why do we care? True, this is the first time a disease (bird flu, SARS etc) has actually reached 'pandemic' which sounds alarming, but just means it's cross continental

I'm watching Newsnight, who have a special on it, as a doctor says it's nothing to worry about - slightly more pathogenic than regular flu, dangerous to pregnant women etc and they interviewed three people who have already recovered

So they had the flu!! There are thousands of cases in Australia now, which is expected based on the season - nobody has died yet! A sodding rugby team caught it! Regular flu kills off 36,000 people in America alone each year

This has got to be the most boring pandemic, ever

The only real difference is we couldn't get in first with vaccines, which no doubt they will eventually aim at high-priority groups, which may hurt us a little bit, it's never nice to lose a baby or have an elderly relative die, but this will not result in people dying in the street, losing millions of the workforce, mass graves etc

It's just flu, people...we get it every year

L is for Labour, L is for Lies

In the interest of balance I will now dick all over Labour

There is currently a 'debate' over spending cuts between the two parties - it's not really a debate because as much cleverer souls than me can point out, there will be a real term cut of 7% under Labour - Brown spouts that spending is up - it is in cash terms, but take away inflation and interest and a few billion up quickly turns into several billion down

Dizzy has written an excellent post about it and put up a video of Brown peddling his spin

This was backed up by Ruth Lea, an economist, on Question Time, who also wrote in the Guardian that the bank bailout was a good move - she's no Tory mouthpiece

The fact is, Labour are manipulating the figures - after the next election spending will be down, regardless of party, and if they say it's risen then they're either lying or determined to wreck the country

But Labour insist on attempting to deceive us - they are trying to say the Tories will close schools and hospitals simply to win votes, while actually producing a budget of cuts

Every man and his dog know that we are up to our necks in debt and that the spending binge cannot go on - Labour are fools for trying to play the 'Tory cuts' card, and what's even worse is that rather than follow the flawed policy they outwardly promote they simply lie about doing the sensible thing

Sounds very odd, and no doubt it is aimed squarely at core Labour votes - I question whether Labour voters are really that stupid - they do seem to still be rather pissed off with Labour, even the average Labour voters know you can't pay off the mortgage with a credit card

This isn't about cuts at all - you will get them, but one party chooses to lie and pretend we're loaded, the other is very cautiously saying what we need to hear

Personally I think the Tories are being cowardly, but no doubt they are worried of the potential for Labour to hit them with their history of cuts, I'm an idealist and like to believe that people would accept cuts as inevitable

The solution: once again the only party that is saying sensible things, and has been since the issue started appearing in 2005...is the Lib Dems, they actually propose cuts because they're too left wing to be accused of trying to dismantle the NHS

Sorry to sound like a broken record but they are, from a logical point of view, surely the best option and I really don't get why people refuse to vote for them, of the three main parties I feel they are the only ones who say anything remotely useful

11 June 2009

The Status Quo Party

And not in the 'good' rock band sense - I refer to the Tory view on electoral reform, which Cameron pretty much outlined here

Now, nobody expects the Tories to accept PR, dear God no, they'd lose all their country safe seats, but they have decided to completely back the FPtP system - 'no electoral reform' is what they say, the current system works perfectly well in their view

For them that is - the Tories have never endorsed electoral reform (although they do ironically have the 1832 and 1867 reform acts to their name, both in a technical sense) and have no incentive to give up their rural safe seats

I personally find it interesting that Cameron has decided to take a line on this, he's gone against the reforming zeal of the current climate and stuck his party's colours firmly to the mast (for once) - it probably won't matter come an election, but championing the status quo seems a bit of a risky business to me

If he's so concerned with an MP having a connection with their constituents why doesn't he back the AV system? That's just first past the post done a bit more fairly, you still get one person for a constituency, and they get a better mandate

It doesn't really limit his ability to hit Brown with cries of opportunism - the Lib Dems are happy to point out Labour abandoned any ideas of reform 12 years ago and haven't mentioned it since, the Tories could do the same, doing nothing about it doesn't exactly help their image

Although at least they are being honest for once...

So the point I would draw from this is that if you want any sort of decent reform then don't vote Tory, all they've backed is a few ideas on tougher scrutiny of MPs and reducing the number of MPs (which works in their favour) - I never expected much but it is now black and white for all to see - so by that logic the only way we'll be seeing decent reform is by voting Lib Dem, who have always campaigned for a fairer system

10 June 2009

Free Speech...but not for fascists

I understand where this woman and her lot are coming from, it was entirely predictable

But saying 'we believe in free speech, but not for fascists' is a really stupid thing to say and won't please any free speech advocates (no surprise it was a left-wing union)

The whole point of free speech is exactly so you do have to hear the fascists, it wouldn't be very free if we prevented those we disagree with speaking, now would it? Allowing 'Unite Against Fascism', who have previously scuppered debates with Griffin, to dictate who may or may not speak is not really much better

And pelting people with eggs is not really the best way to protest - whatever happened to peaceful protest? Forcibly breaking up a news conference with physical assault is not exactly the cleverest thing to do - for one, it's no better than rule by the mob

Secondly of course, it creates martyrs - he wasn't saying anything naughty (admittedly that is the tactic these days) and he got attacked, after just being democratically elected by nearly a million people - so you just created sympathy, and headlines - hell, Griffin was probably there with the intention that it would happen

There is a time and a place for egg throwing, this wasn't it

09 June 2009

For the good of the Country...

Ah, our wonderful new cabinet, come and see how great we are

Is it just me or did they just look like smarmy gits abusing their position? Maybe it's just me, but I saw a room full of people rather more interested in propping up their own party and getting another year of grandeur out of it than actually running the country

This is of course, proved as all the 'exciting new plans' have absolutely no chance of making it to legislation within 11 months - it's all for show

Then there's the new electoral system, Labour mention the alternative vote system - I won't outline it here, as it's in the link - but needless to say it's not proportional in any way and is even weaker than Jenkins' 'alternative vote top-up'

It would have the exact same outcome as FPtP, it would just give the second placed candidate a better chance in a two-horse race, but it would still leave the safe seats, and would still provide one single person to represent a geographic area - it's fine for mayorals, for parliament it's virtually redundant - but you really can't expect much from Gordon or Labour, who would take the biggest hit from electoral reform

I must say I found Labour's desire for all this rather odd

"There is a strong feeling in the cabinet that we should have a bold programme of reform. We don't want to end the next year with a whimper."

So you're going to enact a load of reforms you know won't be done before a General Election? If you're so confident why not call one and produce a manifesto on it? Otherwise you're just making a lot of noise as a reason to for people to vote for you and not conducting any government business

Some would call that denial, I call it bare-faced lying

08 June 2009


So Labour are third, less than 16% - soundly beaten by UKIP and nearly half the size of the Tories, barely above the Lib Dems

That's called a message, Gordon - and it's worded something like this: 'Sod off'

Unfortunately Jury Team failed to achieve much, just under 80,000 votes nationally and 12th place - that's not actually bad for a start up party, I think people got ahead of themselves with this 'PR' idea - but it was ahead of Libertas

Truth be told, while I support the idea, they have to be a bigger party to provide more voices, you may notice 'other' parties got about 9% of the total vote, up 3% - that's not including the BNP, Greens etc so it's pretty huge - unfortunately it's like voting for independents - completely incoherent and basically wasted votes, if more people could get behind the 'party of independents' idea they'd be a lot stronger - it also doesn't help that in reality the regional PR system we have is pretty useless, and the fact we only get 72 members for the whole UK is unhelpful

It's a little disheartening, but breaking the party system is very tough and nobody but UKIP have ever managed it - and they did it by taking one emotive issue and having a well-known celebrity face launch them

The BNP did send two members, big whoop - they didn't get any more votes, but the low turnout in Labour strongholds increased their percentage, giving them a spot - it's unfortunate, but I'm not concerned

oh well...

07 June 2009

Some consolation

Reading the numerous obituaries (to put it kindly) for Brown, I allowed a small smirk to cross my lips

It's over - and I don't mean for Brown, he was only ever going to last until the first election he faced, I mean for us - we are now completely safe

This government now have about as much power as the W.I., scratch that, the union of little old ladies are pretty formidable - how about the National Union of Students? Anyway, they are completely rejected by the electorate, weakened by the loss of big-name ministers and needing to be propped up by appointed peers - they won't be trying anything

It was already a pitiful legislative programme, but there won't be any attempts to lock us up for 42 days or anything of the sort anymore - of course we'll be stuck with the current 'initiatives', but that's a matter for the future and a Tory government

So it's with such events in mind that I breathe a sigh of relief, because frankly, after the next election things won't be getting much better - this point marks a reprieve, nothing can be changed until the Labour party are ousted from power - there is no point in fighting anymore - they are like the opponent falling to the canvas in slow-motion, they're technically still in the fight, but they are gone, it just depends how long the slow-mo takes (I refuse to say 'circling the drain')

Unfortunately Gordon Brown has no shame and refuses to fall on his sword, being booed by war veterans at a D-Day service must surely be a record low? I know I don't have the self-assured ego that one needs for the job of Prime Minister, but seriously, how can that not make you just say 'enough' and admit defeat

I'm sure the Labour party would call that fighting spirit - I would point out it's not exactly a fair fight when the electorate have both hands tied behind their backs, but what the hey, they've spent twelve years blaming the Tories for pretty much everything so I don't expect rational discourse from them any time soon

So sit back, grab the popcorn, and enjoy the drama for the next XX months, it's not worth getting irate at them anymore

(just remember to actually vote)

*Oh and if anyone sees Machiavelli Mandelson, feel free to hit him, the smug bastard is now running the show and deserves to be taken down a peg, violence is the only remaining option in my opinion
**I can probably be arrested for saying that...'it was a joke, officer'

06 June 2009

Shock Horror

So the Dutch released their results a bit early, naughty them

Turns out the far-right 'Freedom Party' (of Geert Wilders fame) got a 'whopping' 17 per cent of the vote

A small loss for the ruling Christian Democratic party and a three point dip in turnout - this really isn't that exciting, or evidence of Europe going fascist, as the Indie and others would have you believe

Firstly, the Freedom Party are not the BNP, they're more like the Dutch equivalent of UKIP, if a little more extreme - they however don't espouse all-white membership and 'voluntary repatriation' - they're a protest vote, much like UKIP are

But I really wanted to pick up on this

Here is the great European paradox. European voters complain that the EU is too distant and too abstract; the more power their elected representatives in Brussels and Strasbourg are given, the more the voters shun the European elections. In 1979, turnout was nearly 62 per cent. In 2004, it was 45 per cent. Yet the European Parliament has acquired considerable new powers to amend European legislation.
You wonder why? Yes the EU has gained more and more power over the years, likewise so has the parliament - but it's still pretty feeble, it's not sovereign in any sense of the word, and people don't want it to be

It is the fundamental flaw with the EU parliament - people across Europe do not regard it as 'their' parliament - they see themselves as only being represented in the minority from their own country

In short, no one sees the EU as their nation - which is really the principle behind a parliament

Take Britain - it doesn't matter if a government isn't supported in one area, let's say nobody on the south coast votes for Labour - that doesn't mean they refuse to accept the current government, I doubt they'd like it, but it's still their government and they accept its decisions - the EU is not seen in this fashion, it's seen as 'foreign' - and that's by pretty much all the people in all the countries

Until people regard 'Europe' as one nation then such a situation will not be possible - I don't support or oppose this, that's just how I see the situation

05 June 2009

New thread for a new day

I just had to laugh at the BBC's live feed title

LIVE: Gordon Brown fights for his future

It really is a bloodsport isn't it?

In other news, Darling is staying, because he threatened to quit entirely if he was moved - this cabinet ain't going anywhere*, so basically we're reduced to moving deckchairs

*...except down

Edit: Is it just me or has the BBC live feed got a bit too many pro-Labour messages? Methinks a certain party is spamming...and for BBC 'balance' enquiries - see them referring to new Lord Alan Sugar as 'Tsar' - applying soviet labels to the party you supposedly prop up is always clear bias....

Surely this is it?

Surely a crushing defeat must signal the end for Brown today?

Purnell has now gone, 3 ministers in 3 days, and the reshuffle is looking more like a game of 'guess who' with the little plastic pictures being flicked down in succession - there's nobody left, it's going to just be Brown, Balls and Milliband after this - and if you ask me I think the ministers have realised their public ratings are only going to go up if they get out now, I'm surprised the Millipede hasn't gone yet

So that's a cabinet falling apart (or 'working really hard' according to the party line) and some highly damaging results, Labour are clearly splitting - people often compare the equivalent Tory ideological split over the EU as not being present in Labour, but there's clearly a scrap between the Blairites and the Brownites - or left and right in ideological terms , it's not as massive as the European rift but it is too much on such a weak government - and frankly all the statements that they are working hard and doing a good job are just facile now, they are weak, and they are falling apart

But I just have to ask - in this stuation surely he MUST go?! Almost the whole of England is voting, and the other part of the country crushed Labour a year or two ago, if that happens it is a massive vote of no confidence from the people

You cannot put it down to simple 'mid-term blues' - we are less than a year away from the use-by date and the convention is four years

This PM already has no democratic mandate and there's about to be clear electoral proof they don't want Labour anymore - anyone with a shred of decency would surely see a general election as being in the national interest

There's nowhere to hide anymore, if Brown really does cling on through this situation he is going to become the most ridiculed and hated PM in British history, he's going down as worse than Eden and Chamberlain

The advantage of being down under is I can now watch as the overnight results come in - what I'm really looking forward to is Tory or Lib Dem areas losing Labour concillors from minority poisitions

Sure to be updates..

UPDATE: True to my word, I'm keeping an eye on developments - Labour slip to third and hand Lib Dems control in Bristol

The first result is an eight seat loss for Labour, putting them third and handing a majority to the Lib Dems - I told you the interesting feature would be the losses in non-Labour areas - the Tories second in the south-west? Quite telling

So much for the threat of the BNP...

UPDATE: It would appear the new county of Central Bedfordshire hasn't even returned a Labourite - 11 Lib Dems and 54 Tories...ouch - It's a Tory heartland, but no seats? It's right next to Luton, I'm really interested to see if Cambridgeshire can drop all four of its Labour councillors

UPDATE: Morning, big news: Lincolnshire remains Tory, wow... but again, Labour slip to third with only 4 seats - losing 15 seats, the Tories gain, slight Lib Dem loss, and there's a gain for 'others' - I don't know who this is, but it's a small party (not BNP, UKIP or Green) - if they are the same party they are in fact third, above Labour...(mini-update: 'Lincolnshire Independents' took four seats - tying with Labour for third)

Interesting how the Lib Dems have lost out while the Tories and independents gained, I find that quite strange, I shall have to research Lincolnshire's local situation

So far Labour have lost 23 out of only 43...more than half

03 June 2009


Seriously, Gordon keeps saying he's doing something, he's 'dealing with the problems' and is 'working to deal with expenses...and the recession'

All well and good - but what actually are you doing?? No legislative programme, MPs complaining there is nothing to do...the Tories have the impetus on expenses

So what is all this work? He keeps saying it, and no-one really challenges him on it, probably because he'll run off a list of banks he saved - but he does nark me off when we have such a shoddy legislative program and he says they're working hard and doing something - No, they're not!!

Raining on my parade

Some feminist drivel that I'm too enraged to actually write about

I have however, finally found out that Johann Hari is in fact, male (I'm not joking, I honestly didn't know)

02 June 2009

Crack the champagne!

It's a minor victory now, but I've waited for this day for nearly two years so I still feel a lot of pleasure in looking at the BBC front page: Home Secretary Smith to stand down

The fascist ignoramus is going!! Of course, her replacement will still be a Brown lackey who is probably even less qualified, but she has been so bad, so evil, so idiotic, so unqualified that I really don't care - the new Home Sec could be Stalin for all I care, they will have their hands tied for the next eleven months

Who will it be? It seems best-mate Balls is going to Number 11, and personally I think the only people capable are Straw and Johnson, and I doubt Straw would take the job again, so maybe it'll be a way to placate the Johnson fan club, these are of course just my unfounded ideas - it'll probably be a squeaky clean backbencher

But she's gone, no matter that the future is hardly bright, it's like when you just escape a deadly situation and you don't care that you're probably still in another, you're still relieved

I'll leave with this comment from the Harperson to demonstrate the complete load of bollocks politics really is: "I think she is an outstanding home secretary."