Archive for General Election

What went wrong?

Posted in General Election, Government, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , on May 9, 2010 by pieman70

The results are in, and the good news is we have a Hung Parliament, bad news is the change didn’t go as hoped.  Tabloid fear mongering and the usual last ditch of the traditional parties in “Vote for anyone other than us, get them” worked once again to deliver the usual, bland old election result.  We also lost a good MP in the form of Dr Evan Harris (LD) and kept some particularly poor ones in Nadine Dorres (Con) and David Tredinic.  Overall very disappointing. Only good news was the Greens won a seat.

I was looking forward to a wide open election, no seat is safe, who knows who would win.  A combination of the expenses and the lib dem surge should have given this, but instead voters decided that they fear the unknown, and got it anyway.

Worse, as we speak Nick Clegg may well be selling his granny for a taste of power.

That’s unfair, but from experience in the Scottish parliament, the lib dems will drop any flagship policy for a go at being in charge.  Basically, as I stand, if he gives up PR for forming a government, well, the Lib Dems won’t be getting my vote for a very long time.

Nick has other options.  My prefered one is to form the “Rainbow Coalition” Lib dem, Labour and lots of smaller parties, with a goal of electoral reform and fiscal stability.  Problem is that this is about 100 times more likely to collapse than a simple 2 party coalition, and this would certainly mean that a future election campaign would be run with a “Don’t want a hung parliament again do you” a shame because it is the more grown up, evolved form of democracy.

The other way I would be interested to see would be a minority Tory government, heinous as the concept of 5 years of conservatism is, the current party is already tearing itself apart over not winning, and the offer they tabled for the Lib Dems in public showed very little in the way of compromise, it could be a good excercise in growing up and not always getting your way to have to get each policy through on its merits and on bill by bill agreements, much as the SNP do in Scotland.

A mean part of me also sees how much the torys are tearing themselves apart over not winning, and so I can only see further division when they don’t get their own way and can’t do favours for their big donors.  In that vein I also hope that should Cameron end up in Downing street and Mr Murdoch comes asking for his pound of flesh, Cameron response is “Where’s my majority you feeble tuppence” closely followed by “And by the way, I’m going to legislate against you ruling so much of the news medial you useless bastard” Indeed I hope the “Sun wot won it” myth is finally gone, since tory support fell away once the sun got on board.

For a last bit of Tory bashing, I do find it funny that the torys are now doing the “Back room deals” that they said were a terrible undemocratic thing, guess that only applies in a Lib-Lab pact.  Second, some top tories are calling for Cameron to be removed and replaced as leader, so, they’d have a PM who was not elected, much the same criticism that they used on Gordon Brown the past few years eh?

Bloody hypocrites.

The Obligatory Election Post

Posted in General Election, Government, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , on May 3, 2010 by pieman70

As some who live in britain may be aware, there is an election going on.  Now, I’ve been trying to shy away from political blogging mainly due to my inability to do it particularly well, but I’ll once again have a crack at it.

Many blogs will start with the phrase “Now I won’t tell you who to vote for” but I’m different, I will, sort of, not really.  At least I’m honest in trying to influence your vote, of course the reach of this blog particularly in a blogsphere full of blogs about the election means the effect will be about as much as my actual seat (Ultra safe labour), but, like voting for someone who isn’t Douglas Alexander, I’ll still write it.  So, who do you vote for.

First, turn up to vote.  I can’t stress this enough, whatever level of hell we end up in its twice your fault if you didn’t even bother getting out to vote.  Spoil your ballot paper, write a protest, it doesn’t get officially counted but you never know.  Either way get off your sofa and Vote.

Second, if you have a good constituency MP, vote for them, regardless of party (Unless you find their politics particularly odious).  Good constituency MPs are worth their weight in gold and don’t let simple tribalism or anti-labour/tory sentiment do you out of a good one.  How do you know?  Well ask around, have they ever helped anyone you know?  Do they hold regular surgeries, and finally, bt by no means foolproof, how often do they break ranks in votes.  In general safe seats are held by one of two types of MP, good constituency MPs who could get voted in as an independent if de-selected, or Yes men (Douglas, I’m looking at you) who are more concerned about being de-selected by the party than serving their constituents.  The former can break the whip without fear of reprisal, the latter can not.

Third, obviously considering the last post, don’t vote conservative.  I don’t like being so blatantly partisan, but Don’t.  Now, you may ask why.  Well I personally dislike their policies but there si something greater than my whims.  Teh Tories are tied in very deeply with Rupert Murdoch and its been fun watching his papers scramble with the fear that the election may not be the forgone conclusion that Labour was in 1997, but a Tory loss this year would finally dispel the myth that the Murdoch papers decide election results rather than, say merely back winners.  This would hopefully mean that never again will our leaders do shady deals with this millionaire tyrant in order to curry his favour, and the hopeless optimist in me also hopes for the new government, whatever its configuration, to perhaps consider the implications of one man holding this much power in the delivery of news and finally do something about it.

Fourth, Break safe seats, you may not unseat a candidate, but try to unseat some safe labour or tory ministers, or at least make the election night that bit less comfortable.  Preferably do this voting for a smaller party, such as the Greens or indeed the lib-dems.  You may not shift the yes man, but hopefully it will be a reminder of who they work for.

Fifth, ignore the scaremongering of a hung parliament.  Alex Salmond of the SNP is right, despite my post about compromise politics, Minority governments and coalitions are the ultimate destination of true democracy.  It means those who didn’t vote for the winners can still have their views mean something, yes all too often the politicians take the huff and stop playing, but if we keep returning balanced parliaments they’ll get the message.

Finally, vote for who you believe in, ignore all the parties saying candidate X will never win, they only won’t win if no-one votes for them.  In ’97 safe seats fell, and they hopefully will this year.  IF you like the greens, Vote green, if you like the lib-dems, vote lib dem, if you like UKIP or the BNP, stay at home (Ok vote, but you’re wrong in just about every way) with any luck by next election we will finally be rid of this antiquated voting system and we can then see real change.

My vote, is private, but I’ll tell you where I’m leaning, as I have no green candidate, its between the Lib-Dems and the SNP.  The Lib-Dems, because It would be a real kicker for them to actually win the same or better seats than the other two.  contrary to what the papers report the surge started before Nick Cleggs appearance on the leaders debates (Which also, contrary to what they said, he won and Cameron lost, on all fronts) because somehow people decided that they might win, and therefore weren’t a wasted vote.  They definitely represent the most liberal views of the big three.  My other choice, the SNP.  I’m still in principle opposed to Scottish independence but they do have some other attractive policies and have signed up to the Power 2010 pledge.  Plus in the Scottish Leaders Debate Alex Salmond said the most sensible things about immigration (Here’s a hint, it was the very opposite of the Daily Mail’s stance) anyone has said all campaign.  That alone is worth support.

Lets hope this all turns out, there’s a feeling that we’re close to real change, Not the kind Cameron is pedaling, I mean ground breaking change, it’s a dream, so close you can touch it, I almost don’t dare speak about it lest it melts and vanishes for all time.  Its hope.

Compromise Politics

Posted in General Election, Politics with tags , on April 9, 2010 by pieman70

Well, the official election campaign is finally underway, as opposed to the unofficial one that we’ve had for the past year or so.  Hopefully in 6 weeks time we’ll have a little more policy and a little less posturing and soundbites.

Ha!  Forgive my cynicism.  At the moment we’re looking at (According to polls) a potential hung parliament or a Tory Government with a small majority.  This should be exciting, it should mean that politics will move away from the big majority, ram legislation through regardless mentality that has plagued our politics for more than 30 years.  Sadly I fear this won’t happen.

I suppose it all started with Thatcher, as most things inevitably do.  Although brighter sparks than myself may be able to trace this back further.  Thatcher took out the “Wets” those who didn’t subscribe entirely to her ideals.  It meant that her party would stand united behind any legislation, and with the majority get anything through parliament.  This basic idea of working politics has prevailed since that time.  Combined with the rise of the “Career Politician” this has made politic more like a debating society, where debates are won or lost rather than an agreement reached where legislation is honed and perfected through the means of open discussion.

Its a myth that is seemingly widespread that compromise is bad, a myth not helped by the media describing the smallest change of tack or compromise as a U-Turn, defeat or flip-flopping.  Politicians should be free to say “I’d not seen it that way before, my mind has been changed by facts and good arguments”  instead government and opposition alike are trapped in a bizarre Colonel Cathcart like existence where they weigh up “Feathers in Caps” and “Black Eyes” and hope the former outweighs the latter.  Since the major players appear to care more about looking good than passing decent legislation it generates an MP that values the approval of party over the approval of constituents, particularly those in the 60% off Safe or Ultra safe seats.  You’d have to be pretty confidant in your MP skills not to be de-selected for one of those, clearly most aren’t.  Barak Obama said recently that perhaps it should be a politicians job to make good policy rather than seek re-election.  Judging by the behaviour of MPs Re-election is their goal.

This has a bad knock on effect on politics.  Since avoiding “Black Eyes” is prioritized above good policy parties will go towards making the opposition (or government) look bad rather than contributing positive changes to policy.

This is very apparent in Scotland, where the SNP chose to form a Minority government, this initially had me interested, in a minority they would have to use argument, persuasion and compromise to get things done.  This should have been very interesting indeed.  Sadly Labour and The Lib-Dems aren’t playing.  Labour through badness and the Lib-Dems seemingly through a childish fit of pique after being snubbed to form a coalition as they expected.  To this end they have adopted a stance of obstructing and blocking as much SNP policy as possible, seemingly with the singular view of saying at the next election “What have they done eh?  Nothing”

Look at that closely, two major parties have actively decided to say “No” pretty much all the time, stalling and slowing any policy change in the hope of using it to gain power next time, that’s 4 years of childish huff.

This is my fear with a hung parliament, rather than shake up the “big Majority” style of politics instead we’ll see the big 3 vie for position until one thinks they have enough leverage to call another election and get the big majority they all crave.