Fake Logic

An item like this…

Will inevitably produce a response like this…

The work of ‘Fake news’ is done.

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None Of The Above

Having listened to The Green’s Natalie Bennett on Radio 4 and LBC this morning I find myself even more convinced that I’ll be walking to the poll booth this May and sighing heavily as I spoil the paper by writing across it ” None of the above”.

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I find it hard not to see our democracy as little more than a twisted corporatocracy. I mean let’s take the two ministers currently defending themselves over cash for questions type allegations. Would any company employ an MP or soon to be Ex-MP/ career politician for their business skills alone? Their experience of the world outside the Westminster bubble? Or more likely for their connections and ability to grease the palms of law making in order to influence changes in the favour of the company?

That doesn’t mean I’ve abdicated my voting responsibility.Hell fire. I’ve always voted. It just means I no longer believe voting is where change happens.Or indeed that real change is now possible via the ballot box. I genuinely cannot see that anyone represents me out of those currently on offer.  Without a change to what passes as democracy I can’t see that changing any time soon unless the main parties grow weary of endless hung parliaments and then push for changes to voting that will best grant them an overall majority. Don’t underestimate the political class’ contempt for the electorate. It’s all now just a self serving Faustian pact.

So how do I get that change. Not by business as usual that’s for sure. I will be writing as usual to all local candidates. As usual I’ll rarely get a reply. If I lived in a marginal seat this would like be very different. It would be “more democratic” if I moved to such a seat. At least I’d feel my vote would have some consequence and influence to it.

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“None of the above” image by Descrier under this creative commons licence

“Voter abstinence” image by KAZ Vorpal under this creative commons licence

 

Voting For The Least Worst Muppet Is Democracy?

 

I’m still torn about these upcoming local police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections in the UK. On the one hand they’re cynical politicised toss. On the other they’re a mammoth waste of money.

The options are, for me anyway; first up is don’t vote. None of the muppets standing are worthy of my vote and the whole thing is politicising the police. By voting I’m rubber stamping that premise like a lemming on a coach tour to Beachy Head. No thanks sunshine.

The downside of that kind of stroppy sulking in the shadows at the school disco type behaviour is that fringe parties with possibly extremist aims get a shoe-in to the political process on the backs of voter apathy. Must I really be forced yet again to vote for yet another muppet that doesn’t represent me in order to tactically thwart a candidate that holds an extremist viewpoint that  also doesn’t represent me? Really? I’ve often had to vote tactically all my voting life and it never made a blind bit of difference. I bloody despair at extremist political parties but aren’t I engaging in tactical democracy throttling by trying to artificially bolster anybody else but the extremist candidate? Th-th-that’s ‘democracy’ such as it is currently defined sadly. Life isn’t fair and democracy is skewed and often decidedly undemocratic and unrepresentative for many. Shut up. Put an X on a bit of paper and treat it like a nice game of pin the tail on the donkey and live with the inevitable consequence of voting for the least worst Muppet on offer.

So who knows maybe I do have to head butt my idealism into the rain sodden gutter alongside the chugger who overplayed his hand and used up four whole steps to get to me and decide a vote is better than no vote (but only just), but campaign in whatever small way to make the system more representative in future (oh joy, more speak-your-weight identi-kit replies on expensive headed parliamentary paper from my local MP as I chip away in my own modest way at a large immovable object with a blunted tooth pick).

Of course I could really have a dummy spit and spoil my ballot paper in protest by writing my objection to these elections on the ballot paper. Somebody said the ballot papers would have to be read out to the candidates if voter turnout was critically low in order to establish the likely political hue of the ballot spoiler (which just sounds akin to the old darts game show  Bullseye’s “Let’s see what you would have won” scenario). I can’t really believe that and my non vote will just get added to the expected record low voter turnout figures in an attempt to justify the whole sorry farce.

Lastly I could vote for the independent candidate of whom I know bugger all save a few online sound-bites-as-personal-bio contained within the candidate’s self penned biography. Frankly all the candidates just basically say “I’m a bit good me and I should know because I am me”. What does that tell me?

Sorry that ain’t democracy in my e-book. It’s just a game of vote for the least worst muppet but have sod all influence over quite what a balls up they make of it all until the next PCC elections where you can choose another Muppet. And repeat.

I don’t like it but the whole sorry episode makes me feel like I’m being forced to play with my own faeces in order to legitimise my continuing access to the toilet.

I didn’t say I was good at analogies now did I?

Link: choose my PCC

Image/haiku by howard.hall under this creative commons licence.

They Do It Over There But We Don’t Do It Here

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “How Swedish MPs handle expenses“, posted with vodpod

The Beeb looks at how Sweden, known as probably Europe’s most transparent democracy manage their own MPs expenses and accommodation needs. Whilst watching the report I kept saying to myself ‘ah but how much is their salary’ and it turns out it’s on par with our own UK politicians.So no excuses then?

OK, I’m never sure how useful it is to examine how other cultures do things especially when it would take a sea change in our own culture sometimes to achieve the same though it’s probably a useful yardstick for the ideal (wanders off to daydream of the ideal).

Wispa Victory And Other Minor Causes

I heard a Wispa
I had commented in an earlier post about public protest energies being aimed at non political causes and myWispa cynicism over the Wispa bar protesters at Glastonbury takes a temporary backseat as the same protesters are probably now revelling in victory as Cadbury have responed to the power of social networking and announced that they will reinstate the Wispa chocolate bar in October and capitalise on the current vogue for 80’s nostalgia.

Parliament Square
Brian Haw Meanwhile protesters proper have been removed from parliament square and a fence erected by the Greater London Authority under legislation that was really designed to deal with long time anti Iraq war protester Brian Haw but who ironically is the only person exempt from that law.

Heathrow
Despite the many amounts of recent legislations which control our right to protest better than many fascist or communist era dictatorships, the Heathrow climate protests continue and seem particularly well organised and have attracted many ‘professional protesters’ who seem well versed in how to handle the media and the law itself. A small corner of Britain where public protest is alive and well at least. It feels almost nostalgic in today’s rigidly controlled ‘permission to protest’ era.

Random blog post


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UK MP’s vote to Exempt Themselves From Democracy

Having talked about the prospect before and hoping against hope that British MP’s would not revert to type, I now find myself groaning with a sense of predictability and deja vue as MP’s do indeed vote to exempt themselves from the scrutiny of the freedom of information act.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker who has led calls to block any exemptions said he wasFOI “ashamed to be an MP”.

He continued…

“It is also deeply undemocratic that MPs on both the government and Conservative benches have clearly collaborated to ensure that those with a contrary view, fighting for open government, were silenced after barely any debate on amendments to the bill.”

The freedom of information act came late to the UK and was introduced in 2005 however if this bill is passed it will exempt The House of Commons and The House of Lords from the list of public authorities who could be scrutinised under the existing law. Thus much correspondence between MP’s and their constituents and MP’s and commercial companies together with greater details concerning MP’s expense claims will remain out of reach of the public scrutiny.

Another bad day for what we laughingly continue to loosely term “democracy” in the UK.

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