There are 13 posts in total.
The Crumbling of Parliament
- 2019-04-05, 09:31:10
So everybody laughed yesterday at the House of Commons being suspended yesterday because of water gushing in through the ceiling. But here's the thing.
The Palace of Westminster is an historic building, part of our nation's heritage. Like all our other historic buildings it's supposed to be held in trust and protected, just like the buildings and monuments from ancient history have been by their civilised custodians.
The occupants of the Palace of Westminster have know for years that the building is literally crumbling around them - not only do all the utilities within a working building need upgrading, the masonry itself is falling apart - on a near-monthly basis a piece of the stonework will fall off and come crashing to the ground. But the elected occupants have for years prevaricated about coming to a decision on what to do about it. Everybody knows what actually needs to happen is they all need to decant to somewhere else entirely for a couple of years whilst a relatively short and relatively cheap complete repair and upgrade job is done, all in one go. But a sizeable number of MPs don't want to do that, they want to instead spend a couple of decades, and considerably more money - your money and my money, which could be spent on the NHS instead - on a bit by bit repair and upgrade programme, closing off sections of the building and re-opening them bit by bit.
So because they've been unable to agree on how the [...]
Read the rest of The Crumbling of Parliament.
Brexit - what should happen next
- 2019-01-16, 09:16:41
The country and Parliament have failed to agree, and it's pretty clear they never will agree; the wheels have fallen off the Brexit train not least because the people who voted for and campaigned to leave have been unable to agree amongst themselves what 'leave' actually means. Here's what should happen next:
Revoke Article 50, make it clear to the Leave folks that the matter is not ended, spend the next two years trying to do what David Cameron failed to do at the beginning of 2016 (whilst the EU might be a bit more predisposed to grant the concessions they told him to whistle for back then, having seen that the UK actually is stupid enough to jump off a cliff if it so desires), also spend the next two years fixing some of the problems - including the UK's own botched implementations of EU directives and regulations - which led to the slender Leave victory in the first place, put the matter to The People again in a binding referendum with a properly fairly agreed franchise and a realistic enhanced majority threshold (55% / 45% seems reasonable enough), and implement any subsequent second Leave victory in an orderly manner with a National Unity Government rather than a minority leader behaving like they've got an absolute divinely-sanctioned majority.
Nobody could argue such a course would be undemocratic, because the procedure would be legally binding from the outset, and all but the minority extremists on both sides will get what they want, [...]
Read the rest of Brexit - what should happen next.
Brexit, omelettes, and eggs
- 2018-10-17, 07:44:06
This, by or via Facebook user Jane Cody, is currently being widely shared around Facebook; reproduced here as fair use to allow people to see it without having to login to Facebook.
LEAVER: I want an omelette.
REMAINER: Right. It’s just we haven’t got any eggs.
LEAVER: Yes, we have. There they are. [HE POINTS AT A CAKE]
REMAINER: They’re in the cake.
LEAVER: Yes, get them out of the cake, please.
REMAINER: But we voted in 1974 to put them into a cake.
LEAVER: Yes, but that cake has got icing on it. Nobody said there was going to be icing on it.
REMAINER: Icing is good.
LEAVER: And there are raisins in it. I don’t like raisins. Nobody mentioned raisins. I demand another vote.
DAVID CAMERON ENTERS.
DAVID CAMERON: OK.
DAVID CAMERON SCARPERS.
LEAVER: Right, where’s my omelette?
REMAINER: I told you, the eggs are in the cake.
LEAVER: Well, get them out.
EU: It’s our cake.
JEREMY CORBYN: Yes, get them out now.
REMAINER: I have absolutely no idea how to get them out. Don’t you know how to get them out?
LEAVER: Yes! You just get them out and then you make an omelette.
REMAINER: But how?! Didn’t you give this any thought?
LEAVER: Saboteur! You’re talking eggs down. We could make omelettes before the eggs went into the cake, so there’s no reason why we can’t make them now.
THERESA MAY: It’s OK, I can do it.
THERESA MAY: There was a vote to remove the eggs from the cake, and so the eggs will be removed from the cake.
REMAINER: Yeah, but…
LEAVER: Hang on, if we [...]
Read the rest of Brexit, omelettes, and eggs.
NHS cuts and private bathrooms
- 2017-08-14, 09:23:51
Any Tory-leaning folks care to trying to defend the health secretary having a £44,000 private bathroom fitted in his office at the same time as ordering £21,000,000,000 of cuts to the health service?
Read the rest of NHS cuts and private bathrooms.
It could be the dead wot won it
- 2017-06-08, 09:02:15
According to the polls - varying widely between an increased majority for the Conservatives down to a hung parliament, with one little-reported poll (done by an ad agency rather than a traditional polling organisation, but with a track record of getting its guesses right) even showing a Labour win, the election is too close to call. The fact of there being such a wide variation in the predictions in the final polls from each organisation is evidence enough it's too close to call, even with some polls predicting a big Conservative win.
So of course people are hanging their hopes on the poll which shows the result they'd rather see, and hanging their hopes on the demographic which is mostly likely to vote for the result they'd rather see. 'The old could win it', Conservative supporters say, 'The young could win it', Labour supporters say.
With it this close to call, there's one demographic nobody has thought of who could win it. The dead.
In the olden days it was a pretty tricky process to get a postal vote - you had to satisfy your local elections office, and even prove so, that it would be physically impossible for you to get to the polling station on Election Day. More recently in an effort to boost turnout the requirements were dropped, and postal voting was made available on demand to anybody who asks for it.
So it's feasibly possible that there are people who applied for postal votes, sent them in, and died before [...]
Read the rest of It could be the dead wot won it.
- 2017-05-25, 10:06:16
Here's my handy cut out and keep guide to effective political campaigning:
When campaigning one needs to realise who one is campaigning to - you're not campaigning to committed supporters of the other side, you're campaigning to uncommitted supporters, or undecideds. Whilst it's unlikely that party-supporting Facebook groups will contain many undecideds, there's a reasonable chance that they might contain uncommitteds.
What this means is that when campaigning - whether that's going into the lair of the other side or what one posts into one's own timeline - you need to craft your message in such a way that it'll appeal to the uncommitted / undecideds.
Calling the other side a bunch of nasty loony idiots, or posting pictures of their leader looking ugly next to pictures of your leader looking inspirational, might make you feel good and get you lots of Likes from your side's supports, but as a campaigning method it's probably the worst thing you can do. Insulting the uncommitteds on the other side is only going to turn them into committeds, and make the undecideds more likely to swing away from your side than towards it.
Read the rest of Political campaigning.
The failure of politics
- 2016-11-05, 17:22:31
Whilst the referendum itself was David Cameron's hubris, the constitutional controversy which has come about this week is entirely the fault of each and every one of the 650 MPs and 812 lords who were too bone idle or too incompetent to give the Referendum Bill the proper scrutiny during its passage through parliament to ensure all the Is were dotted and the Ts were crossed. No wonder the overriding theme of every Adam Curtis documentary the last 15 years has been about the failure of politics to organise society.
#politics #AVeryBritishRevolution [...]
Read the rest of The failure of politics.
The Fixed Term Parliaments Act
- 2016-11-04, 09:17:36
Remember kids, a spring general election can only happen if a majority of @UKLabour MPs think they can win one. Does it seem likely that a majority of Labour MPs would think they could win?
#politics #AVeryBritishRevolution [...]
Read the rest of The Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
The state of the Labour Party in 2016
- 2016-09-27, 07:50:00
The Labour Party should just split and be done with it; let the voters choose which wing of the party they prefer - https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/25/jeremy-corbyn-critics-will-not-be-silenced-despite-unity-calls
#politics #labour [...]
Read the rest of The state of the Labour Party in 2016.
The UK's EU Referendum Will Help You Lose Your Faith In Politics
- 2016-06-14, 19:00:01
Back in May 2014 after the results of the elections to the European Parliament, I speculated that I didn't believe that the whole of the 17% of people who voted for UKIP were actually the xenophobic bigots my fellow left-liberal friends were painting them as; I speculated that most of them were probably simply ignorant (in the unaware sense) of what the EU is, and ignorant of the true nature of immigration into the UK, and simply wanting to give the Tories a bit of a kicking. This was a year before the General Election, when all the polls were expecting a year later to see a win for Labour (a tight one if not a comfortable one), and there was no serious expectation at the time that a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union would be happening any time soon. My response was rather than complaining about so many people voting UKIP, wouldn't it be nice instead if we could spend the forthcoming year actually explaining properly what the EU is and isn't, how it works, emphasising the real benefits of its existence and our membership of it, and indeed acknowledging the downsides as well.
Two years on and approaching the end of a referendum campaign about whether or not to stay in the EU, rather than there having been any real attempts to explain the EU properly, rather than either side having any interest in engaging in an actual debate on the matter (the national broadcasters [...]
Read the rest of The UK's EU Referendum Will Help You Lose Your Faith In Politics.
So to summarise yesterday’s election results: all the parties did as well as could be expected, all the other parties underperformed considering where we are in the electoral cycle, and the UK will probably vote to leave on 23 June.
#politics #localgov [...]
Read the rest of Election results.
Local election 2016 - who to vote for in Bournville ward?
- 2016-05-02, 16:38:01
Although Cotteridge and Stirchley (or as I call it, Stirchleyridge) is what the estate agents call an Up and Coming Area, we're still not hip enough to have our own local election hustings - we still have to leave that prestige to Moseley. Unlike some parts of the city, we do at least get campaign literature - from some of the candidates, at any rate.
I've read what they're promising, so you don't have to.
Mary Locke - Labour
Mary is not a sitting councillor, but she's representing the sitting administration, the Labour Party, for a ward which has one of its three councillors as Labour; depending on what issue it is which is most offending voters by this Thursday, she's in with a reasonable chance of being returned elected. What's she pledging to do, then?
- Well paid jobs and training,
- Improved rubbish and recycling collections; tackling litter,
- Action on road safety and congestion, and
- Regeneration of Cotteridge and Stirchley.
She says she'll help local businesses to create new jobs - unfortunately she doesn't say how she'll help local businesses to create new jobs. Myself, I would have thought that the existing local businesses in the ward have pretty much created the correct number of jobs they have the ability to support at the present time - in order to create new jobs, what's desperately needed here is more local businesses; anybody who walks through Stirchleyridge along Pershore Road and Watford Road past the large number of [...]
Read the rest of Local election 2016 - who to vote for in Bournville ward?.
General Election 2015
- 2015-05-08, 08:35:30
So here's my analysis of what happened the last couple of days:
First of all, there's no point blaming the people who didn't vote (and by extension, blaming the demographic of young people who didn't vote) for the Tories winning. as with anything where the decisions are made by the people who bother to turn up to decide, elections are won by the people who bother to turn up to vote. Nobody has any idea how the people who didn't vote would have voted had they voted - that's the point of them not voting, they didn't vote because there was nobody they wanted to vote for. One can't assume they'd have all voted Labour, just as you can't assume they'd instead have all voted Tory, Libdem, Green, UKIP, or Christian Peoples' Alliance (Proclaiming Christ's Lordship). They could have voted to entrench a Tory majority even further as likely as they could have voted to bring about a Labour government.
There's also no point blaming the Tory newspapers - whilst its true that newspapers form an essential part in forming opinion, ultimately newspapers are in the sales business; they know that if they present opinion which veers too far away from the opinion of their customer base, their customers will leave for an alternative product. The other reason why there's no point blaming the Tory newspapers is people don't read newspapers at anything like the level they used to - and of course, us in the social media advocacy world have spent [...]
Read the rest of General Election 2015.