Archives for category: Election

Part of the reason for my lack of engagement in the political process isn’t down to apathy, but the difficulties that are put in our pathway towards getting involved. There was a TED talk last year that, while its US based, goes some way to explain some of that issue. Dave Meslin puts it very well in “The antidote to apathy”. Well worth a watch..

It’s a hefty few weeks coming up. This week we have a four dayer, with good Friday stopping us being productive at the end of the week. Next week it gets better still with a three day week. Monday being Easter Monday and Friday being the Royal Wedding for which we’ve all been given a day off. And yet more bank holidays with the following Monday being May Day and so another 4 day week. And after all that lazing around doing nothing we have to decide as a country what to do about the way we vote.

I may be at risk of explaining to my father’s mother the correct method for reverse blowing an egg, but for the benefit of the uneducated, I need to cover off the problem in simplistic terms first. Bear with.

Currently we have the “first past the post” system. This consists of a ballot paper with a candidate for each party on it and as a voter you have a single vote for your local candidate. Local candidates are competing for a seat. Government is decided on the number of seats each party acquires.  The most seats determine the governing party. Note how this is not the most votes, but the most seats. What becomes absolutely crucial in this system is where the constituency borders are drawn because that effects the numbers of voters, and available number of seats. This system means it’s entirely possible, and actually a regular occurrence, for 51% (or more) of the population to vote for a party that doesn’t run the country.

In an effort to make the voting system fairer, we’re now being offered “AV” – The Alternative Vote. But is it fairer? How does it work?

“AV” consists of a ballot paper with a candidate for each party on it and as a voter you get to rank the in order of preference. If none of the candidates earn more than 50% of the vote, then the ranking can be used to allocate. Put simply, if a candidate earns 51% of the first choice votes they are elected. If not then the candidate with the fewest first choice votes is eliminated and their voters second choice is then counted instead. This is repeated until a candidate has over 50% of the vote. If the second choice has already been eliminated, then the vote passes to choice 3.

OK, so it’s complex, but probably more representative of the will of the people. But… That doesn’t mean it’s right.

What do our current leaders say about it?  Well the current PM (Diddy Dave C – Conservative) is all for keeping it as it is. I suppose, after all, it got him to where he is today. However, his bezzie mate (Nick middle of the road Clegg) who got Dave the job of PM, is all for changing it in the name of fairness. I’m not 100% clear on either of their reasons. According to some research from the BBC, the overall outcome of the contests in recent years would not have changed, but the Liberal Democrats would have gained the most seats and the scale of the Conservative defeat in 1997 would have been much greater. Perhaps it’s this that explains their leanings.

I have a basic problem with the local candidate / seat system in the first place. Surely to be truly representative, we should have one vote for a governing party? Let’s face it, the candidates are usually crooks, so who has any faith in them?  Moreover I’m not convinced that the borders and community sizes for each constituency are the fairest or the most balanced numbers either.

I think when we talk about electoral reform, we need to consider more far reaching and radical reform. If we’re going to bugger about with it, lets do it properly. I think the system needs simplifying to get maximum engagement from the voting population and we need to be voting for a government rather than a local representative who typically doesn’t represent. Even after last years shenanigans with expenses, and for example, my own (now ex) MP watching “the match” instead of showing his face in the house to vote on the digital economy bill, there still isn’t much evidence of “them” working for “us”. In fact I see them taking slopey shouldered options to palm off the rough jobs to local councils (closing libraries, reducing spending on policing etc) while trying to take credit for anything that might be construed as positive.

I’m happy to have a locally elected council still (although I’m sure there is plenty of reform needed here to – the ability to vote on all your local councils major decisions for a start) and I think we need departmental ministers, but do I want my representative to be responsible for a department as well? Simply, no. One job only. And as they’ve been so poor at representation, let it not be that. In fact remove local MPs altogether. They are the equivalent of a layer of middle management, happy to spend our taxes, and no real measurement of delivery.

OK, so now you’re thinking where do we get these departmental heads from if we’re to have no local MPs?  It’s a job, like any other, that you or anyone else can apply for, but essentially it’s a civil service post. There would be departmental posts for all three major parties, with two in opposition to the elected party. While this seems like an increase in costs, it’s actually a reduction because we loose all the constituency MPs in favour of departmental MPs.

I’m aware that these suggestions are pretty radical, and of course I haven’t fully explored them, crossed any the T’s or dotted associated I’s, but I do think this is the level of reform that we actually need. A damn good shake up to get rid of the cash black holes and give the electoral power back to the people. However, these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg.

As for how I’ll be voting in May. I’m still reading, but maybe a change regardless will put the “thought of change” back on the agenda and perhaps people will see an opportunity to claim their power back….  Of course, being Brits, were just as likely not to bother getting involved with the process anyway and turnout at the poles, given the recent number of bank holidays, could actually be infinitesimally small.

Interesting, if not power changing times.

If you’re looking for some more far more biased info from both sides of the argument, take a look at these:




This post originally appeared here: Posterous
OK, So politics have got my attention again. Here is how I see it and feel free to shoot me down in flames if you think I’m missing something key but as the dude says: “That’s..just like…your opinion man.”

During the run up to the General Election earlier this year, there is absolutely no denying that the Liberal Democrats, as led by Nick Clegg said that they would NOT make cuts in Education and would not put up tuition fees.  Party Policy was signed up to by members of the party and scrapping tuition fees would be a goal. 

The election happened and the result was a “Coalition” government. Now it seems that this is a fact that is conveniently forgotten by the media in an attempt to drum up some sort of drama. Vince Cable is the Secretary of State and as such, delivery of the policy is his responsibility. His words on newsnight last night as usual made very interesting hearing and an awful lot of common sense.

“We had a coalition agreement, we’re implementing that coalition agreement. We knew that it wasn’t going to be possible to deliver the pre-election commitment on tuition fees. We had a challenge that we responded to, which was to enact policies which contribute to reducing this massive government deficit while finding other ways of providing funding for universities to keep up world class standards and to change the system we inherited from Labour of graduate contributions to make it more progressive and more related to peoples ability to pay. We’ve done those things and in very difficult circumstances I think I’ve delivered a better policy”

“In an ideal world we’d be spending lots of money and I’d be father Christmas and everything would be free. We’re not in an ideal world, we’re in a very very tough financial environment in which in universities as in other bits of the economy, very difficult painful cuts are having to be made.”

“I supported my parties policies, but when we entered the coalition we had to make compromises and we did make compromises. The Tories had to drop some of their favourite policies, we had to compromise on others. We knew that the tuition fee issue was going to be a very difficult one but we agreed that we would try to make the system better and fairer, which is what we’ve done.”

“We’re in government. We’re having to make tough choices.”

“We didn’t carry all of the party with us, we did have a substantial number of my colleagues voted against it. We knew when we went into government that this was probably going to be one of the most difficult challenges we’d have to face. My job, as the Secretary odd State, I inherited a system based on tuition fees that were almost certainly going to rise substantially….The last labour government was fully committed to making very deep cuts in my department concerned with universities. Tuition fees were going to rise under the Brown report. My job was to try to make the system fairer, better and that’s what I’ve been working on with my colleagues for the last six months.”

“We haven’t failed at all. The first test we had was joining the coalition and it was a difficult test because we entered into government, if you may remember the context. The country needed stable government, there was a financial emergency, the country wanted parties to work together in the national interest and the first big test we made was entering into that coalition, accepting compromises on things that we believed in and were very committed to, and the tuition fee policy is one of those.”

“I think actually well be significantly stronger having been through this very difficult process. We’ve met together several times in the last few days to debate with eachother how we should deal with this. People have strong views but we are still colleagues, we’re going to work together sa a team. There is no permanent division. We’re going to put this behind us. All of my colleagues are now fully committed to the coalition government including those who voted against it.”

Kirsty Young interjected with this: “What about the assertion that this will actually be good for poor students because poor students in poor families are debt averse and what you are essentially doing is condemning them to decades of debt and that will put a lot of them off going to university”

And Vince continued….

“I think that is absolutely wrong and i think it will be proved to be wrong. We built into this policy a whole series of commitments which mean that that will not happen. First of all, Low income graduates will not pay any contributions. We’ve lifted the threshold to 21,000. If people graduate, they’re in a low income, they take time off to have a family, they’re unemployed, they don’t pay. it is a more progressive system. large numbers of people will not have to pay the full contribution. Roughly half will not have to pay because it’s linked to peoples ability to pay. This is not debt in a commercial sense. The student loan scheme is not a commercial scheme. People who want to borrow mortgages for example are not effected by it in anyway. And we’re also helping people from Low income families in other ways. The scholarship scheme will help with that. We’ve increased the availability of grants for people when they study at university. The system is made considerably more progressive than it was and that was acknowledged by the institute of fiscal studies this morning.”

Just out of interest, how many countries in the world provide higher education for free?? If we had a single party government, say a lib dem government that had promised not to alter education fees, then I’d be rioting to, but the power is not sat with those who made the promises. It is instead shared across an unholy alliance…..

co·a·li·tion  [koh-uhlishuh n]
1. a combination or alliance, especially a temporary one between persons, factions, states, etc.
2. a union into one body or mass; fusion.

When I see kids saying they are from the ‘Slums of London’ and suggesting if they don’t get EMA they’ll have to do drugs deals, my heart sinks.

Have you ever tried shouting at a horse? I have. It’s a pointless exercise, they don’t listen.

Other fun and games that the students thought would help their cause included:

  • Setting fire to the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square
  • Smashing shop windows on Oxford Street
  • Vandalising statues, include Winston Churchill’s in Parliament Square
  • A sit-in at the National Gallery (I’ve sat in the National Gallery. It’s very nice)

What a bunch of idiots.  In the LSE the students are sitting in, and are going nowhere.  Sorry????  Have these kids not been paying attention?.

Students believe seminars are overcrowded and they’re not getting the quality of education that they’re expecting. Could that be because the universities themselves are overcrowded? Is a university education now considered to be a right? Surely it’s something that should be earned.

There’s been much noise over the last ten or fifteen years that GCSE’s are easier than O-Levels. So kids are no coming out of school with straight A’s and expecting to go to higher education. Kids aren’t allowed to fail anymore. They just move the goalposts, not least because the schools get better government funding based on their high levels of good quality results.  Somethings not right here.

20 years ago, I would guesstimate that only the top 10% went on to higher education. Now it seems it’s only the bottom 20% that don’t. Please note, these aren’t actual figures, they’re just how it feels from my point of view.

As for rioting students attacking the heir to the throne and complaining that the police have horses!? Well that just beggars belief. What are they complaining about? They have daytime television… Dickinson’s Real Deal, Jeremy Kyle, Midsummer Murders, Quincy & Countdown to name but five.  Yes, I had to look them up, because I, like the rest of us, live in the real world and have to work for a living instead of drinking my student loan and laying in bed. Any sense of sympathy with individuals being violent towards the police force, is instantly defenistrated. Totally unacceptable and looses what little support I have for them.

OK, OK, I know I’m generalising, and that some students actually are trying to learn something and to better themselves and the country as a whole. It is very unfair to lump them all together, and that is not my intention and in fact I apologise unreservedly to those students that are taking their education seriously. But just how many really are serious about it?

The top 10% maybe?  Sounds about right doesn’t it?….


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Latest instructions…..

We await the Queen’s good housekeeping seal of approval. Good luck your Maj’ (think we all need it!)

I’ve seen it all now… and it’s a bleeding’ mess and no mistake!…

Sky News. Now there’s a different kettle of worms altogether. As you are hopefully aware Sky News is part of News Corporation which is owned my Robert Murdoch. He’s pumped huge sums of money into the Conservative party to try and help them win the election, and to be honest, it shows….

Firstly, here’s Kay Burley completely misunderstanding democracy…

“The public have voted for a Hung Parliament”… Really Kay, Did they?? I Don’t think they did did they? But let’s not worry about the facts, let’s just interrupt our interviewee instead of listening to what he may have to say. Oh and if you can get a Sky News advert in while you’re about it, that would be great. “Why don’t you just go home!”

What’s beautiful about this though is the way that the public won’t put up with this sort of patronisation….

….”Sack Kay Burley, Watch the BBC, Sky News is Sh!t”, Harsh. But then if you will pick on the little guy what can you expect.

But more and better (and significantly bigger) was yet to come. (Check out 3 minutes and 27 seconds) Campbell pushes the button and Boulton looses the plot. Very professional.

Adam Boulton can’t contain himself over the fact that the Conservatives may have lost the election. “Don’t Tell Me What I Think!” OK…. but I think Adam may be having some sort of breakdown. A few hours later…. (1m15s)

He really doesn’t like anyone reminding him that the conservatives haven’t actually won the election and seems to be struggling to believe it.

And the feeding frenzy goes on… We’ve just been told by the BBC that Luggage has been seen at the back of No.10. Luggage!!?? Can you believe it!!?? I trust there will be film at 6…

Still feeling rough – god knows what was in that curry but it’s almost been the death of me. Daughter appears to have made a pretty full recovery though and she had more special school again today. Radio practice. Oh how we laughed.

Seems that there is one blue team in this country that can manage a decisive result – Chelsea with 8-0. I know nothing about football but bl00dy hell!

Bit of a lay in to start off the day, then out to get the papers. Not much I didn’t know already but I am left with the distinct impression that they (Nick, Dave & Gordy) feel that they have to have some sort of government sorted out by Monday morning because they’re all terrified of how the financial markets will react. Now while this is a worthy reason to sort out who our representatives should be, I’m not convinced it should be the driving reason. As always, the twitterati have had some very funny things to say about the whole situation. Here’s a few just for kicks….

Unconfirmed reports that Gordon Brown was dancing for Nick Clegg in the foreign office… #ge2010

Nick Clegg “plan to sell Trident to Damien Hirst” to raise money for schools

Why are the LibDems like a London Bus? They’ve just under 60 seats & are now run by the Tories.

Apparently Afghanistan has offered to “return the favour” by sending troops into the UK to restore democracy…

Blue, it would appear, is the colour. I heard a rumour that Samantha Cameron is actually pregnant with John Terry’s baby.

Apparently Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg have met. Doctors say that Mr Brown should make a full recovery

All I’m saying is my entire family have had Chickenpox since Thursday 6th #AllergicToBullshitters

Cameron’s given him Broadway tickets; Brown’s given him air miles and a Scottish spa break. What’s a boy to do? #dontdoitnick

if Charles Kennedy was still #LibDem leader, we’d now be looking at a government run by Chas & Dave

Dad on Gordon Brown’s kids’ blurry heads: “Oh dear, what’s happened to them, have they been Blaired?” #dadjokes

and finally….

Proportional Representation explained by John Cleese in 1987!!!… #ge2010

Still, we have the Wizard of Oz to look forward to (and I’m not referring to the trite talent show that Graham Norton is running on the Beeb) plus there’s a new episode of Lewis on ITV tonight. So really, everything is alright with the world and even if we don’t have a government, the world keeps on turning and we’ll keep doing what we do. If the markets get befuddled and panic tomorrow well that will only go to prove what we all know already…..

They’re a bunch of ignorant bankers with no sense of humor.

As usual: Keep Calm and Carry On

Daughter seems to have recovered (I’m still a bit ropey mind) and is off to court and special school today. It’s a big day for her as she finally gets officially sworn in. They’re spending the afternoon in the control room which I know she will find particularly interesting. It’s their first contact with real life crime so I’m sure she’ll be full of it this evening, although of course she won’t share the details.

Son and I got up early to go and play golf. My first game in almost 3 months so you can imagine I don’t want to talk about it. It’s the society’s quarterly in two weeks time and I’m organising it so I need to get the practice in. Luckily SS suggested a game and as Son was here we both went along and endured the dampness and for my part the humiliation.

What I do want to talk about though is the handy little iPhone app that we use for playing golf. It’s called Golfshot and is in my top 5 all time most useful apps. If you’re a golfer it should be in your top 1 all time most useful.

It enables you to download course details for what appears to be every golf course on the planet ( I haven’t managed not to find one yet) so you never have to buy a course guide again. It utilises the GPS functions of the iPhone meaning you can see exactly where you are in relation to the pin on a sattelite picture of the hole that you’re playing. It translates this image into the number of yards you have to play the shot and this in turn makes club selection a doddle. Not only that but you can keep track of up to four players scores with all the really useful info. For each hole you just tap in the number of shots and putts, which club you tee’d off with and whether the shot went left, right, down the middle, short or long, any sand traps you may have hit and any recovery shots you may have played. I know this sounds like a lot to record, but the intuitive interface that the app uses makes it very simple to do.

You also tell it your handicap before you start the round and at the end of the game you recieve a beautifully presented set of scores (including stableford calculations) and graphs for all manner of useful stats. Each scorecard is automatically uploaded onto the golfshot server and provides you with a history of your games and stats across all of them. It’s clearly the most complete and comprehensive golfing app out there, oh and it is available on other platforms as well, not just the iPhone. Worth every penny of the £17.99

Here’s my results from today, which I’m sure will help you understand why I don’t actually want to talk about them 😉 Golfshot

In other news…. It’s all kicking off up town then. Cleggy and Cameron are meant to be sorting out who is going to be our Prime Minister while Gordy’s pished off back to Scotland. I think that action in itself speaks volumes. Cleggy was meeting with his cabinet (for want of a better description) of elected MPs and party officials at the LGA and the twitterati (well about a thousand of them) turned up outside to make the same point that I’ve been making and my conservative friend Jugs agrees on. You guessed it – electoral reform and proportional representation. Our Nick made an appearance and told them he would take their petition in the spirit it was intended, so I still have hope for change (copyright President Obama). It’s a wholly important issue and I encourage you to sign the petition for it here:

From the LGA the protesters moved on to Millbank Tower (home of the conservatives) but unfortunatly call-me-Dave wasn’t in, having slipped off to his pad in Notting Hill (equally speaking volumes).

Why doesn’t Dave want electoral reform? Probably because the conservatives love the safe seat model that’s kept them as the opposition for so long. Seems bloody stupid of them to me. If we had propotional representation they actually would have won the election and there’d be no need for all this flannel anyway. Duuurrrr!!

My take on this: Don’t drop the ball Mr Clegg. This is the chance for change, so let’s not miss it.

Happy VE Day.

The WTC was exciting stuff last night, especially as Jugs and I had a massive debate (careful – Ed… some would call it a stand up row). We both thoroughly enjoyed it and actually found ourselves agreeing with each other on most points. The show-stopper for both of us is that neither party does everything we want them too, while they both do things we do want them too…. If only they could sort that out, we’d all be a lot happier. It was a lot of fun, and was an open and honest robust debate of which this country needs more.

Anyway, beer and curry and very very late nights don’t make for a settled tum it would seem, and I spent a good hour (around about 4am) chucking up the said curry and beer and was joined by daughter in the hurling. This is more worrying because she hadn’t been out on the beer & curry and she was very ill in a similar way last your – bad enough to have been admitted to hospital for a spell. She had a quick visit to the doctors this morning and guess what… is now sat in the hospital having blood tests and general prodding and poking. Clearly we’re concerned that we don’t have a repeat of last years worries…

So then to the election itself…Ah bugger!! I foolishly thought we’d have heard the end of all this bolitics, but to no avail. The great British public have stuffed it all up and we now have a hung parliament. OK, so I realise that all sounds very negative and in actual fact it isn’t. In my humble opinion it’s the best result we could have had. And why do I think that?? Well, it’s the only result that beautifully highlights the disastrous voting system we have in the UK and so could (and really should) lead to there being electoral reform so that we don’t have this sort of cock-up again in the future.

The issues of the “First Past The Post” system are eminently clear when you see the results. Still a few to come, and I’ll update this table as they do…

306 (+97)
10,706,647 (36.1%)
258 (-91)
8,604,358 (29.1%)
Liberal Democrat
57 (-5)
6,827,938 (23.0%)
The disparity between the number of votes and number of seats is sickening and needs to be fixed.

Read it another way and this means the Lib Dems needed 119,254 votes for one seat, the Labour Party needed 33,280 per seat and the Conservatives 35,085 per seat.  The average of these three is 62,539 votes per seat.  170 Conservative 137 Labour 108 Lib Dem

Nick Clegg (Leader of the Lib Dems) has acted selflessly and as many are saying, statesman-like in the light of the result by suggesting he’ll work with the conservatives. They have the most votes so that is the fairest way to go regardless of policies, although the incumbent – Namely Gordy – is supposed to have first dibs. No doubt the only caveat to this will be fixing the electoral system. Perfectly sensible and correct. This gets my vote without a shadow of a doubt.

But then this is where it all starts to get interesting. What happens if Cameron does the deal with Clegg and then NOT deliver reforms ?? There will be hell to pay in that situation. Worse still, what if Cameron goes for a non-majority Government and not do a deal with anyone ? I’d like to think Her Maj won’t put up with those sorts of shenanigans and tell Dave (for we can call him that) to pish off and come back when he’s thought about what he’s doing. I can hear her now… “You’ve all been very naughty boys! Stop messing about or you’re all be on the naughty step.”. This is when they have to be most careful. Any hint of party politics when they should be putting the country first should be exceptionally career limiting. Interesting stuff.

Well by 2.40pm, this is what had happened….

Gordy makes a complete U-Turn to try and save face and power by suggesting that a referendum on electoral reform should be the next step. Yep!! Should have been the previous step, but better late than never.

And then “Dave” said this… “I know this will be a new, modern conservative party in parliament” You what? Hang on. Let’s be clear now Dave. He then goes on to say that he realises that change is needed and that the public want it fixed. He publicly thanks Nick Clegg and wants to work with him.

This is potentially great stuff – it’s actually a re-run of the “stand up row” – sorry – “debate” – that Jugs and I had in the pub last night. There will be lots of grief in this bastardisation of a party, but if they’re serious about the country (and not the parties) then there is still a chance that real change could exist. So there you have it… #IAgreeWithNaveOrIsItDick has to be the twitter hashtag for this. Let’s just hope that electoral and parliamentary reforms come first. The fact that quite large numbers of voters were denied the chance to vote because of our “Victorian voting system” (according to the Electoral Commission) makes it clear that this has to be the priority. But careful Dave – not just an enquiry… a fix is the only answer… Solid foundation for a solid future.

As for the betting – sad to say I didn’t win anything on a Lib Dem win, but I did have a win (a massive 62p) on the first ever Green MP (Brighton) and I’ve had a little flutter that the next General Election (which I presume the twitterati will be referring to as #ge2010.1) will be held in 2010. In summary, I’m happy to say I told you so!! and word of the day?….

R-E-F-O-R-M !!!!

Ah well – Keep Calm and Carry On.

Here we go then. Election day 2010 has arrived and the end of my twittering is in sight. Thank heavens most of you say…. and what will you do now that’s over ? Well, like I said yesterday it’ll be back to the tech. In the meantime let’s try and sort out what has to be done today.

Job 1. Vote!! – Now I won’t actually be doing this until about 7pm for various reasons, although I may visit the polling station which is just around the corner with daughter before she trots off to work. It’s her first time, so she’s in need of some moral support. I’ve not suggested to her who to vote for, that wouldn’t be right, but she has asked who’s doing what and I’ve pointed her at the literature and attempted to find the most unbiased guides wherever possible. If you have anyone else around you in a similar situation, I’d recommend the BBC’s 1st time voters page, which really is pretty good.

Inevitably this leads to the question WHO should I vote for ? I’ve been round this loop plenty of times over the last 3 weeks and have made my decision. Overall I’ve never had an affiliation to any particular party. I have had agreements with bits and pieces of each of the major parties policies over the years and that has been mostly reflected by whichever government of the day we’ve had. But equally I’ve had disagreements with each of their policies from time to time as well.

But what happens when you don’t agree? What can you do about it? How can your voice be heard? In the utopian democratic society that exists in our heads you’d like to think that you could speak to your MP and something would change. You’d like to think that your vote, for whichever party, counts for that party. You’d like to think that if your elected representative gets caught with his or her hand in the till, that you could have them removed from public office. Currently – none of these things are possible.

If you’ve read any of my other rants, you’ll understand how disappointed I was with my local representative who chose to ignore me and my requests for his vote on the Digital Economy Bill. That’s my personal evidence that my MP doesn’t work for me.

If you understand the first past the post system then you’ll know that in this country one person does not equal one vote (in fact in my constituency, 1 person equals 0.2 votes). In simple terms the problem is thus:

Here’s a simple first-past-the-post election thanks to Auntie:

Seat 1 Seat 2 Seat 3 Total votes Seats won
Party A 13 12 3 28 2
Party B 8 7 15 30 1
Party C 9 11 12 32 0

Without looking at the “Total Votes” this all appears to be pretty fair. Seat 1 & 2 were won by Party A and seat 3 by Party B. But Party C received the most votes overall and didn’t win any seats!! So the majority of the population have no representation. Clearly this makes no sense. Afghanistan, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States all use the “first past the post” system. You don’t need my evidence, it’s a mathematical fact that this system isn’t fair.

Over the last year we’ve all seen how corrupt the MP’s in the UK can be, thanks mostly to the work of the Daily Telegraph (which interestingly is an apparent Tory newspaper – go figure). The expenses scandal has really left parliament with not only egg on it’s face, but the whole damn chicken farm! (and a duck house to boot!). And how many of those MP’s are still in office?? Well, technically because an election has been called, none of them, but none of them did the decent thing and stepped down. They all weaselled and ummmed and erred and kept their jobs. Any other line of work and they’d have been out. We trust these people with OUR money and they’ve let us down. Can we de-elect them?? Nope! Should we be able to ?? Damn right we should!

These three points alone are the one’s that have led me to my voting decision. The logic here is if the system isn’t working in the first place (the foundations are wobbly) then how the hell can we expect to have a solid government based upon it? But make no mistake, I haven’t made my decision lightly. I’ve actually read all 3 of the manifesto’s. (you sad b*****d – Ed.) They all have pluses and minuses and the old adage “You can’t please all the people all of the time” is true of each of them. But only one of them wants the reforms that we so clearly need, and once we have them then the peoples ability to fix the other bits becomes much stronger. That’s who’ll get my vote.

My Liberal Democrat candidate may not be the slickest man in the world, he may not have spent huge sums of money on glossy posters and leaflets and he may not have had an expensive education – But… he is a man of the people and as Gordon says “It’s not about personality it’s about policy” and as Dave says “Vote for change, not 5 more years of Gordon Brown”. Fair enough – I think you’re both right with what you say. He’s been a local councillor for over 10 years so he knows how that works and he’ll soon get the hang on London. He’s not a leader, which is a good job, because he works for me, not the other way around. So that’s why Jezzer gets my vote. Here he is:

I’ll be off to the WTC after casting my vote and then I’m staying up until at least 4am (which is about when my constituency declares). Sensibly I’m staying in bed tomorrow, much like I’d expect Gordon to be doing, and I’d like (call me) Dave to do too. Of course with the FPP system I’m likely to be disappointed, but these are the rules that we live by in our so-called democracy.


….and I promise I won’t mention it again….. unless we have a hung parliament have to re-start the entire process in a couple of months time.

When you sit
And think about Afghanistan
When you sit
And worry about the Taliban
When you sit
And wonder if you’ll work today
When you sit
And worry if your Gran’s OK
When you sit
and pray your kids will have a hope
When you sit
in fear of how the planet chokes
When you sit
Indoors because you’re terrified
Of what goes on
In your street and just outside
When you sit
No-one gives a helping hand?
But When you vote
That’s your chance to make a Stand

When you vote…
You’re talking about Afghanistan
You’re sorting out the Taliban
You’re helping to get work today
You’re making sure your Gran’s OK
You’re giving all the children hope
You’re Cutting Carbon and the smoke
You’re fixing up the street outside
‘coz voting gives you civic pride

Do just sit there! Vote!

(Not least because I’ve got a bet on it being the largest turnout at the polls ever!) 😉

Here it is then… These are the various websites and blogs that have help point, enlighten, confuse and guide me through the 2010 General Election hell. I’d encourage you to take the time to read all of them, but of course that may be impossible given the fact that you’ve left it sooo late to start considering the implications of your portion of a vote. But more importantly than any of that, while it’s not my place to tell you what to do, there is one (and only one) exception that proves this rule. On Thursday no matter what you are doing, make sure that you get out there and Vote!! That’s it – nothing more to add. Enjoy the shenanigans – Thank goodness that we’re nearly there.

Party Manifesto’s
The Labour Party Manifesto
The Conservative Party Manifesto
The Liberal Democrats Manifesto

The First Debate as on ITV
The Second Debate and Part 2 as on Sky News
The Third Debate as on the BBC
The Facebook/Youtube Digital Media Debate

Twitter Analysis Sites
The TweetMinster site
The Tweetlection site
The TwitElection site is more
The 10 Downing Tweets site is the most attractive.
Use TwitVote to cast your vote
The Lexalytics site analysis the last 2 hours of Tweets
The Electwits site claims to be the LIVE pulse of the elections

The Men in Suits Blog
Mr Stephen Fry
The BBC’s dot.Rory Cellan-Jones
And Guido Fawkes who is actually Paul Staines
The Evening Standard’s Paul Waugh

Reference Sites
Voter Power shows you how many votes your vote is worth. to understand your MP’s views.
Vote Geek for the tech implications
UK Parliamentary process and rules for elections
Wikipedia’s entry on the UK General Election

Twitter feeds:
Nick Clegg
The Conservatives
The Labour Party
The Liberal Democrats.
Number 10
The pulse of the election via the Twitterati through the #ge2010 tag.

Decision Helpers
If you still can’t decide then there’s a couple of these…
Vote Match
Vote For Policies

News Pages
The BBC’s Live Election coverage
Sky News Election coverage
The Daily Telegraph
The Guardian
The Times

Other bits and bobs

And Finally….
Thanks for being a great contestant. Here are your best bits. Watch the language! (turn your Mic off) They never should have put me with that woman… Who’s idea was that?? Was it Sue??