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UK Election

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  • sandy
    Citizen of Tanelorn
    • Feb 2008
    • 261

    UK Election

    Ok, Gordon Brown has announced that the General Election will be held on May 6th 2010.

    Parliament dissolves 3 days after the election is called to allow the horse messenger to deliver the message to Edinburgh - a tradition which seems quaint in these days of telephones and e-mail.

    Anyway I now find myself in the position of having to choose for whom to vote. I'm a proud floating voter with no particular ties to any party and so feel I can vote on the policies rather than the party. Unfortunately most parties seem to be promising combinations cuts to government services and increased taxes, none of which add up to the amount they say they want to save.

    I suspect the agenda is to get into power and make the full extent of cuts and tax increases known then once the winner has established a working majority in the the parliament. So as a voter we have to try and cut through the bluster and p[omp of the election machine and see what is really behind it. It feels like the Wizard of Oz - what exactly is behind that curtain?

    Anyway, I'm starting this thread so people may discuss the UK election or ask questions about what is going on - as I am sure there may be many bemused members (from overseas) looking on and wondering what on earth is going on.
  • Rothgo
    Champion of the Unbalanced
    • Aug 2006
    • 6663

    #2
    As a start: my off-the-top-of-head rules for voting:

    Rule 1) If your MP did wrong last time - you can't vote for them, regardless of party policies. Without ballot-box punishment, the basis for the system doesn't work.

    Rule 2) Try to vote for your MP, not their party. Sadly, of the 655 MPs or thereabouts, at least 600 are so utterly unremarkable and you'd struggle to get a non-party-line response from them (or more likely a secretary), let alone a non-party-vote, so rule 2 only applies to a few.

    Rule 3) Vote on the manifestos. That means actually finding out what it is they intended to do - or discovering they basically don't know.

    Rule 4) If the party is obviously lying in its manifeso, don't vote for them. We can't encourage that sort of thing - not everyone has the time or ability to "see through" the BS to try and establish what they will really do.

    Rule 5) Can't find anyone worth voting for? Then spoil your paper. Don't do nothing - register your displeasure at the shoddy choices presented.
    Last edited by Rothgo; 04-07-2010, 03:58 AM.

    Comment

    • sandy
      Citizen of Tanelorn
      • Feb 2008
      • 261

      #3
      Those look like fairly good guidelines Rothgo. If I cannot find anyone worthy of my vote, rather than spoil my paper, I tend to go for the Monster Raving Loonies or Natural Law Party.

      At least I feel I can leave the polling station with a smile on my face. Sadly they don't seem to be standing in Berkshire this time around.

      Comment

      • Rothgo
        Champion of the Unbalanced
        • Aug 2006
        • 6663

        #4
        In what way are the Raving Loonies not worth voting for...?!

        Comment

        • sandy
          Citizen of Tanelorn
          • Feb 2008
          • 261

          #5
          Well, there's the lunatic fringe of the party for a start...and some of them...some of them...even make sense.

          Oddly enough some of the policies the Loonies stood for have come to pass such as the Pedestrianisation of Carnaby Street (at least according to Wikipedia - salt warning!).

          Interestingly enough they are putting a candidate up in Barking, the same seat Nick Griffiths (leader of the BNP) is standing for. It seems quite fitting that the Loonies should win Barking - Barking by name, Barking by Nature I suppose.

          Do any other countries have the equivalent of the Monster Raving Loony Party in their elections?

          Comment

          • David Mosley
            Eternal Administrator
            • Jul 2004
            • 11823

            #6
            Originally posted by sandy View Post
            Do any other countries have the equivalent of the Monster Raving Loony Party in their elections?
            I believe the United States has something called the 'Republican Party' that fits that description.
            _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
            _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
            _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
            _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

            Comment

            • Reinart der Fuchs
              Mr. The Fox
              • May 2006
              • 4702

              #7
              When do you guys elect a new King?

              "Guffaw guffaw."
              \
              Infinite complexity according to simple rules.

              Comment

              • The English Assassin
                Champion of the Balance
                • Feb 2007
                • 1673

                #8
                So civil war is erupting in Granbrean to see who will become the new ruler of this island of sexually repressed helmet wearers... hmmm...

                Well, I've never voted and never will, unless we get a fair electoral system... and even then, maybe not... I guess a minority government or a hung parliament might swing things, but we've all heard all that before...

                However that doesn't mean I take no interest in party politics. I do. I just don't wish to align myself to any of them. I guess the Liberals are the closest, but they're such opportunists (I guess a third party has to be) and Kleg is just a joke. The Tories? No way. I'll never forgive them for Thatcher and that's that.... And Labour have sold every belief they've ever had years ago... I don't trust them or like them. I will say that this Labour party has improved the Health Service in general and the minimum wage was also a good thing, but they've failed the poor in so many other ways. At least when the Tories were screwing us over it didn't feel like a betrayal!

                Despite his bungling of almost every political story in the last 18 months I think Brown stands a chance... he's hard to like but hard to hate and I'm actually feeling sorry for him... a bit... Cameron obviously cuts a better statesman and is less of a bungler, but he's a bit smarmy... although no worse than Blair in this regard and the country voted for that arse enough times.

                Still, despite my apathy, I enjoy the politics of party politics and will keep an eye on the election... if only for its entertainment factor.
                forum

                1. a meeting or assembly for the open discussion of subjects of public interest
                2. a medium for open discussion, such as a magazine
                3. a public meeting place for open discussion

                Comment

                • johneffay
                  Born Again Nihilist
                  • Sep 2005
                  • 3394

                  #9
                  Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                  Well, I've never voted and never will, unless we get a fair electoral system...
                  I agree with Rothgo - If you really can't stomach voting for any of them, you should still turn out and spoil the ballot paper. A lot of people went through hell in order that we might have the franchise.

                  As a general rule of thumb, and given the unfairness of our electoral system, I recommend that people tactically vote against the Tories. Younger members may not remember how bad they were last time - This time they will be much worse. Thatcher, Tebbit & co. were ideologues; Cameron, Osborne & co. are tarts on sale to anyone and anything that can help them into power.

                  Comment

                  • The English Assassin
                    Champion of the Balance
                    • Feb 2007
                    • 1673

                    #10
                    Originally posted by johneffay View Post
                    Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                    Well, I've never voted and never will, unless we get a fair electoral system...
                    I agree with Rothgo - If you really can't stomach voting for any of them, you should still turn out and spoil the ballot paper. A lot of people went through hell in order that we might have the franchise.
                    I don't really see a great deal of difference between not voting and spoiling the ballet, except that not voting gives the whole government a smaller mandate and makes the whole thing look more ludicrous in my opinion. I'm not anti-democracy per se but I have no intention of putting my name for this system or any of the parties who are playing it.

                    I do take your point about anti-Tory voting although I'm not convinced that there's much difference between the parties these days...
                    forum

                    1. a meeting or assembly for the open discussion of subjects of public interest
                    2. a medium for open discussion, such as a magazine
                    3. a public meeting place for open discussion

                    Comment

                    • johneffay
                      Born Again Nihilist
                      • Sep 2005
                      • 3394

                      #11
                      Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                      I don't really see a great deal of difference between not voting and spoiling the ballet
                      They have to publish the numbers of spoiled ballot papers. If 99% of the population went through the booths and 50% had spoilt their ballot papers, any government would have a serious problem claiming a mandate.

                      Yes, I know, but I can dream can't I?

                      Comment

                      • Rothgo
                        Champion of the Unbalanced
                        • Aug 2006
                        • 6663

                        #12
                        Some systems have an option "None of the above", but no UK politican has the balls to allow that into our system. So spoilt ballots have to do as a poor second-best option for those that wish to register their active dislike, as opposed to no vote being interpreted as 'don't care'.

                        Comment

                        • David Mosley
                          Eternal Administrator
                          • Jul 2004
                          • 11823

                          #13
                          As john says, a spoilt ballot paper has to be counted even if it doesn't count, and it shows you at least made the effort to get to the polling station to voice your dissatisfaction with the candidates/system. Which, when you look at it that way, is a much more powerful statement than simply not voting at all. I'm all in favour of people spoiling their ballot papers rather than voting. Igf everyone who's sick to the back-teeth of MPs fiddling their expenses or flipping their homes went out and spoilt their papers rather than staying home to watch EastEnders or Coronation Street that would symbolise a mini-revolution of sorts.
                          Last edited by David Mosley; 04-07-2010, 10:14 AM.
                          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                          Comment

                          • The English Assassin
                            Champion of the Balance
                            • Feb 2007
                            • 1673

                            #14
                            I'm not so sure that a 50+% non-vote doesn't equate to an even bigger dissatisfaction with the whole political process than what will only really amount to a relatively low % of spoiled papers. Maybe if there was a big 'spoil your ballet' campaign, then maybe... but if there is one then it's passed me by...

                            Isn't a 'don't care' vote/non-vote an even worse indictment (which is assuming that people don't vote because they don't care, which is a big assumption to make - feeling disenfranchised from the whole political system is as emotionally valid as being annoyed with it) than a 'I don't like your duck house' vote? Anyway, to me it all equates to much the same thing.

                            Of course not everybody who doesn't vote is making a statement, but then I have to wonder on what criteria the post-literate masses of the UK make their voting decisions anyway. On News Night a few months back they did these think tank type things where the majority of the public there didn't recognise Nick Clegg! I know he doesn't get his fair share of the media coverage, but to my mind that just illustrates that the majority of the public do not watch the news, do not have the knowledge to make a valid opinion and should not vote... because how can they make a decision on who they are voting for? Who looks the nicest? Who has the best slogans? I'm not saying that the news is perfect, but without even this basic level of political awareness on what basis can they make a decision on who they want to run/run down the economy? Indeed, if we're honest, how many of us can make even half a reasonable attempt of understanding how to run the economy of a nation state? Not me that's for sure. When there were clear ideological differences it was easier, but today you might as well ask me what candidate would best run my local bank... I and most other people don't have the knowledge to make that decision if we are honest. Beyond the rhetoric, as I understand it from political/economic pundits, there is little to chose between any of the parties... so how does anyone decide and does it matter if we don't?

                            But I'm just shouting out thoughts in the wind really...
                            forum

                            1. a meeting or assembly for the open discussion of subjects of public interest
                            2. a medium for open discussion, such as a magazine
                            3. a public meeting place for open discussion

                            Comment

                            • Pebble
                              Eternal Champion
                              • Dec 2006
                              • 2550

                              #15
                              Professional Politicians should be culled - one way for tyranny. I dislike any politico who has not been in the 'real world'. I remember Michael Heslentine being told to make his fortune first before going into Parliament.

                              Just been hearing about the NI difference, which is equivalent to £100, but we need to pay £2600 this year, then £2700 and then £3000 the year after. No one is explaining how the the balance s to be paid, other than expecting tax receipts to go up. The more worrying figure is that the current deficit is twice the size of the NHS!

                              Electoral reform, pah. This was promised in 1996, but we have had such a mess up since. It is would hilarious if it was not so serious. There are several large elephants in the room and no one is talking about them.

                              It really is so dispiriting.
                              Papa was a Rolling Stone......

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