Posts Tagged ‘election’

Why you hate the idea of voting Lib Dem (but should anyway)

Thursday, April 20th, 2017 | Religion & Politics

Let me give it to you straight. This is why you hate the idea of voting Liberal Democrats, and why you should do it anyway.

Ever spend a bunch of time trashing something, only to realise that you were wrong. But then you can’t change your mind because everyone what point at you and call you a hypocrite. So you persist in a clearly irrational belief, that you don’t even believe yourself, to save face.

That’s what’s going on here.

You’ve spent the last decade shitting all over the Liberal Democrats. They voted for university tuition fees and you were angry. I get it. You have a right to be angry. They broke one promise, just one, but it was a big one. You’re used to the Tories breaking promises because they’re bastards, and Labour breaking promises because they are incompetent. But you thought Nick Clegg’s honest face was different. And it was. Except for that one time.

But now it’s seven years later and we’re two years into a Tory majority. Now we’ve seen what that looks like: your European citizenship is being taken away from you. The human rights act is due to be scrapped. Taxes for small businesses are going up, in favour of breaks for corporations. Grammar schools are back. And Trump is getting a golden carriage for his visit to London.

And you haven’t come up with any fresh and clever vibes. So, like a broken clock, you parrot out the same line about tuition fees. And, behind your back, everyone is talking about what a petty and ill informed idiot you are. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just telling you how it is.

In many ways, we’re impressed that you are brazen enough to say it. If I had been backing a party that sold off large chunks of the NHS, introduced divisive faith schools, and invaded Iraq, I would be too full of shame and humiliation to criticise another party when all I could find was one broken election promise.

But surely the opposition are stopping all of this?

Ah yes, the gallant knights of the official opposition. What are they up to? A Helping Ms May out, of course. When Jeremy Corbyn isn’t fending of mass resignations and votes of no confidence from his own MPs, he is busy giving speeches about how Brexit will upgrade Britain’s economy and issuing three-line whips to favour for Brexit.

Meanwhile, Tim Farron continues his singular mission: to shout as loud as he possibly can from the rooftops that he will do everything in his power to stop a hard Brexit. He had a blog post up before Theresa May had even announced the general election.

So now you’re in that shitty situation. Do you eat your words and vote to keep Britain a tolerant and open place where you stand some chance of maintaining your European and human rights or save face by slashing deep into with a large knife until your nose is no longer attached. I joke, but that’s a killer decision. Nobody wants to face that. It’s hard and uncomfortable. But it’s also happening in six weeks.

But the Lib Dems will never win anything!

Other than the 62 seats they used to hold, of course.

But times are a-changing. We never thought Brexit would happen. We never thought Trump would happen. We never thought the Lib Dems could overturn Zac Goldsmith’s majority in Richmond Park. But they did. With a 30.41% vote increase. 30.41%.

But the whole Jeremy Corbyn thing has been highly amusing to many of us anyway. “I like Corbyn, but he’s unelectable”. Watching Labour voters tear themselves apart as they try to choose between what they believe in and what will win votes. Why not just be a Tory if principles are that expendable?

Grow some balls and vote for the people you agree with. How fragile is your ego?

Voting Lib Dems, even in a safe seat for someone else, sends a message. Because this is an election about Brexit. And the Tories are on one side, and the Lib Dems are on the other.

Time to choose a side, Dr Watson

So, what’s it going to be, our kid?

Will it be the red corner? And I do mean red. Locked in the control of a man who never liked Europe and is now doing everything in his power to easy Theresa May’s passage to hard Brexit.

Or, the yellow corner. Lead by a man who voted against tuition fees, and is now the only voice speaking out against hard Brexit?

The choice is yours. Just remember that if you do choose to shit in your bed, you still have to sleep in it.

Five reasons why a Trump presidency is not that bad

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 | Religion & Politics

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If you were to read my Facebook feed, you would probably thing the apocalypse has genuinely happened. It may be easy to think so from the snow that appeared over night. However, I note that we are now a whole day later and all still alive. The reality is that a Trump presidency is not that bad. Here is why.

This is Brexit times 0.1

Brexit times ten? It might be for Trump? But for us this is nothing. Brexit has probably cost us a lot of money in the collapse of the pound and a weakened economy, and might lose us our European citizenship.

In comparison, this does not directly affect us. It will probably indirectly affect us, but that is no where near as bad as Brexit. The only person who has genuinely almost-died because of Brexit is the UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe.

Brexit is also forever. Trump will be gone in eight years. Probably four. Maybe less.

The president is not that powerful

The president of the United States is heavily constrained in what he can do. Powers are divided between the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. All the president really does is set the direction.

You could argue that Trump has a bigger influence than normal given that the Republicans control both the House and the Senate as well. But you are forgetting that Republicans hate Trump just as much as anyone else does. He has about as much chance of getting his own people to enact his crazy policies as Jeremy Corbyn does.

Being a alleged rapist was never a blocker

People have said they have been appalled that someone like Trump could be elected given he is accused of sexual misconduct. They are right that this is disappointing, and I wish the world did not work this way.

However, unfortunately, Clinton’s own husband proves that you can be (re)elected president even after claims of sexual misconduct have been made against you. The world has not suddenly got worse; it was always this way.

Not has intelligence ever been a barrier to the White House. Remember this guy. The one who served for two terms.

george-bush-chimp

People have always voted for their own interests

Similarly, people have said they are shocked that someone who says racist and sexist things, like Trump does, could be elected. But people have always voted for their own interests.

When you make people feel guilty about the way they are voting, they do not stop voting that way. It is a secret ballot. The only thing you change is that they lie to pollsters when asked about it.

That is how we end up with Conservative governments, and Nigel Farage, and Brexit. People are selfish and vote on their selfish interests. They are not bad people, that is just what normal people do.

Trump won the election because he ran a better campaign. I saw the adverts they were using while watching an American stream of the NFL. Clinton’s adverts were awful. They were simply a character assassination of Trump.

Trump’s adverts are a million times better. They speak of “our movement” hook into people’s genuine fears about jobs, and a rich elite, and mass immigration, and presents a positive message of how to fix it.

People did not vote for Trump over Clinton because there is something wrong with humanity. They voted for him because he spoke to their interests and Clinton did not.

Trump is already showing signs of reconciliation

Trump’s polices are not that crazy. For example, he talks about banning all of the immigrants and building a wall, but that is actually a plagiarised British policy. Remember how we refused everyone in the Calais Jungle and actually started building a wall?

In fact Trump was a leftie liberal until he decided to run for the Republican party nomination.

But even so, his early speeches have already shown signs of wanting to reconcile differences and work together: it’s all part of making the deal.

The trouble with Corbyn voters

Saturday, October 1st, 2016 | Religion & Politics

momentum

Last month, Jeremy Corbyn won another significant victory in winning the Labour Party leadership election. He increased his share of the vote to 61.8%. This is especially notable because Labour banned any member who had joined in the past 9 months from voting. Therefore, his share of the vote is going to continue to increase for the next nine months as well.

The question still remains as to whether he can win a General Election. Clearly he is electable in almost every other situation. However, Labour trail in the General Election polls by a significant amount. How much of this is due to Corbyn and how much to the attitude of the rest of the Labour party is unclear, but it is difficult to extricate a party leader from responsibility.

Here is the problem though: I think people chose to vote Jeremy Corbyn because they wanted someone who was genuinely different. They were given the choice between electable business-as-usual candidates, and Corbyn, and they chose the latter. This is not unusual. Those of us who vote for the Liberal Democrats, Greens, or any of the minor parties, know the feeling of deciding to stick with your principles rather than compromising them for electoral glory. We would rather stand up for what we believe in than take a distant second best to have our candidate in Number 10.

My guess is that Corbyn has been elected a on a tide of this feeling. Many Corbyn voters believe he can win (his record in elections is now 11 for 11 undefeated), but perhaps many of them simply do not care whether he is electable or not. They are making a stand for working-class people, for the NHS and for traditional Labour values.

If this is the case, then there is no point putting up candidates like Owen Smith to try and win back the voters. They are not interested in whether Owen Smith has a more expensive suit or more-neatly trimmed beard. They are not in the market for a more-mainstream looking candidate. You cannot win them over with talk about election polls, because it is values they are interested in.

Nor will votes of no confidence, nor continued party scheming and in-fighting do any good. All of this is based on the idea that once Corbyn voters see the pragmatic option is a new leader, they will abandon their hero. But this premise could be entirely misleading. Instead, perhaps it is the case that after 20 years of New Labour, the membership has finally found the balls to stick up for traditional Labour values.

If so, campaigning against Corbyn is futile. Setting your own house on fire does not work when everyone else is willing to burn.

Unelectable: A History of Jeremy Corbyn at the Polls

Thursday, August 25th, 2016 | Religion & Politics

jeremy-corbyn

You won’t hear any protests from me when you call Jeremy Corbyn unelectable. What a joke the man is. He can’t afford a nice suit, and didn’t even have the decency to look flustered when asked to publish his tax return. What kind of politician is that?

That said, being skeptics, we like all that evidence and stuff. So I thought I would see if there is any evidence as to whether Jeremy is electable or not.

Year Election Result
1982 Islington North Labour Party candidate selection[1] Jeremy wins with 54% vote share
1983 General election[2] Jeremy wins with 40% vote share
1987 General election Jeremy wins with 50% vote share
1992 General election Jeremy wins with 57% vote share
1997 General election Jeremy wins with 69% vote share
2001 General election Jeremy wins with 62% vote share
2005 General election Jeremy wins with 51% vote share
2010 General election Jeremy wins with 55% vote share
2015 General election Jeremy wins with 60% vote share
2015 Labour Party leadership election[3] Jeremy wins with 60% vote share, in the first round of alternative voting

It probably comes down to personal opinion as to whether you think Jeremy Corbyn is electable or not. After all, it is all in the interpretation of the data. It’s just that, so far, he has won every single election he has ever contested in his entire political career, which started well before I was born.

Loony Party Welsh Assembly elections

Sunday, May 8th, 2016 | Religion & Politics

Loony_Header_5

Well done to all the Loony candidates that stood in the Welsh Assembly elections. The party received 5,743 votes over all, representing 0.6% of the votes. This is a 300% increase compared to 0.2% last time. Extrapolating that trend out…

Election year Percentage of votes
2016 0.6%
2021 1.8%
2026 5.4%
2031 16.2%
2036 48.6%
2041 145.8%

We should have enough for a majority by 2036 (Labour were just short with 35% this time) and by 2041, which is only 25 years away, the party should have captured over 100% of Welsh voters.

2015 Local election results

Monday, May 11th, 2015 | News, Religion & Politics

elections-1elections-2

We fought a hard campaign and did our best. Well, I say “we”, I mean “I”. And by “fought hard” I mean I answered a couple of questions for South Leeds Life and did not really do anything else.

But I was there, to provide people with a true alternative. In the end Patrick Davey took a comfortable victory for Labour. However, at 104 votes I was close behind him, and the other four candidates in my ward.

I also met Green Party candidate Ed Carlisle at the count. He is a really nice guy and genuinely did fight a hard campaign, so it was a shame to see him finish so far behind Labour. Though at least he did push the Tories down into third! He also actually lives in the ward, unlike Davey, who lives in Bramhope.

The count was pretty funny. One of the tables counting our ward had too old ladies on it constantly joking to each other any time they got a Loony vote “oh look, another one that’s been smoking the wacky backy!” They were quite embarrassed when Ed pointed out I was stood right in front of them, though I found it absolutely hilarious.

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t pick up the booby prize for the least number of votes, but some of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates got down to single figures. As Trevor pointed out, it’s not a good time to have the word “coalition” in your party name.

Elsewhere in the country Loonies did well. We fielded 16 Parliamentary candidates. Our glorious leader Howling Laud Hope smashed rival candidate Lord Toby Jug (who has formed a splinter party) with 72 votes to 50. We have won at least four local government elections too, as four of our candidates were running unopposed.

I was pretty fired up afterwards, indeed, I’m already planning my 2020 campaign. Next stop, Parliament!

2015 General Election

Sunday, May 10th, 2015 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Well, that was unexpected.

Red Ed stood up for working-class people, promising to tax the rich and break big businesses strangle hold on the media. And the people of England said “no thanks”.

I eventually came down on the side of no for the Scottish independence referendum, mostly because without Scotland Labour would be crippled and we would end up with a Tory majority government. What a waste of time that turned out to be.

It’s a shame to see not a single independent won a seat on the British mainland.

On the plus side though, my buffet went quite well. Freshly baked bread, crisps, twice-baked potatoes, Sniff’s favourite meatballs (a Moomin recipe), chicken wings and Devil’s food cake meant that we were able to eat solidly from 10pm to 4am and still have plenty for breakfast.

2015-general-election

Standing for election

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 | Religion & Politics

I wanted to document some of the challenges I had had registering myself as a candidate. It’s not impossible, but if you haven’t done it before, there are definitely some things you need to be aware of.

You do not have much time between the election starting and getting your forms in. Leeds City Council opened submissions on 1 April and closed them on the 9th. However, this was over the Easter weekend, so you actually only had 5 working days to submit them.

I downloaded the forms from their website and then went to the town hall to hand them in. The man on the front desk said I could give them to him and he would pass them on. However, the next day the elections office phoned me back saying that I had filled out the wrong forms and I had to submit them in person.

This was on the 2nd, and on the 3rd they closed for Easter, so I had to go down on the 7th and get the forms back and make an appointment for the 8th to submit them. This left me only the evening on the 8th to get them all filled out.

This is all doable, though it is very difficult if you have a job. They are only open 10am to 4pm and because they are busy during elections, you have to go down and speak to them if you want a response. When I tried to phone them back on the number they had called me on I got an automated message saying that the number was Leeds City Council, but you had to phone the “published number” and then hung up on me. The problem is they do not publish any numbers. I had to go onto their live chat to get their number, and then the number said it was going to be over 20 minutes before they answered it.

Again, none of this is impossible. However, it is difficult if you have a job. I am quite lucky that I work in Leeds and my current client is fairly flexible. However, there is clearly a lot more that could be done to make the democratic process open to ordinary working class people.

ballot-32201_640

I’m running for election

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 | News, Religion & Politics

Yes, it’s official!

If you are in the City & Hunslet ward of Leeds you can vote for me for Leeds City Council. I’m standing as a candidate for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

You can find my personal manifesto here.

manifesto

The leaders debate

Thursday, April 9th, 2015 | Distractions, Religion & Politics, Thoughts

How dull.

Where exactly was the debate? There were a few topics, each candidate then said what they stood for in turn. That isn’t a debate. Has nobody who conceived of this show actually seen a debate or understood what a debate is?

There was a bit of back and forth between the candidates, but nobody really got to the meat of it. There were no real discussions of the advantages or disadvantages of different policies.

Nobody even said that much about their policies. If you didn’t already know what each party stood for, would you have watching that? Think of all the Green policies for example. They were hardly mentioned throughout the two hours.

Two of the candidates are not even fielding candidates in most of the country. According to The Guardian, one of the most popular questions after the debate was “can I vote SNP in England?” The answer is no.

Thus the SNP seemed mainly there to chip in “we’ve already done that” when an English politician put forward a good idea. That should probably be a wake-up call – we do trail Scotland on hospital parking charges, prescription charges and preventing letting agents from charing unscrupulous fees.

The one thing that Nigel Farage got right was that he was the only person saying something different. As person after person trailed out the message “we want immigration and to be part of Europe, but we want tighter controls on it”. Their answers blurred into one. Farage was the only person with something different to say. Is that the debate we wanted? One where Farage, king of the bigots, is the one offering an alternative?

Everyone else was too scared to step out of line. Nick Clegg pushed the boat out by asking the rich to pay “a little bit more.” It would have been far better if Natalie Bennett had at this point screamed “we’re going to make the rich pay loads more!” and Cameron to jam in “I think my friends pay quite enough.” But they didn’t.

In summary then, it felt like a complete waste of my time to watch it. Maybe we would be better to have a two party system with the ghost of John Stuart Mill running one party and Arthur Scargill running the other.