Apparently there is some senile old fart who has decided to try and turn the clocks back to the 18th century and wants to bring back hunting with packs of ferrocious animals desperate to rip apart cute fluffy animals (with the assistence of a few hounds). It would seem that wannabee toffs have been nagging their Tory glove-puppets and David Cameron has caved in to their whispers.
For those who were too young back in the day, or for those who have forgotten, we used to let inbred morons ride around the countryside on horses (often crashing through land they didn't have a right of way over) with a gang of yapping hounds chasing around something they could kill – foxes, deer, peasants (well perhaps the later wasn't too common). During the Great Debate on hunting (which wasn't that great really as their excuses for hunting were really quite pathetic), the hunting lobby tried to convince everyone that they were only hunting for the good of agriculture.
Which had us all rolling aboutt the floor laughing of course.
Perhaps the most ridiculous comment about the prospect of removing the ban on hunting comes from the Countryside Alliance who clain that removing the ban will eliminate the risk of their supporters from being prosecuted for "accidental" fox killings whilst they are playing at hunting. A bit like claiming that murder should be made legal because if I fire off a shotgun repeatedly in a crowded supermarket, I might "accidentally" kill someone.
It's strange how easy it was to ban certain cruel "sports" (such as cock-fighting and bear baiting) which were more popular with the working class whereas the "sport" of the wannabee toffs is trying to make a comeback. Anyone would suspect that class differences are still important today.
But yes let's bring back hunting with a couple of small changes :-
Hunts have to turn in their hounds in favour of Chihuahuas.
Well if you are a Tory supporter nothing went wrong; indeed you must be cock-a-hoop given that you have a Tory government when 64% of the voters wanted something else! But if you are against the Tories, you have to be wondering what went wrong.
The most obvious problem is the broken medieval electoral system we have. For practical reasons it made sense in the days of horse-drawn carts to ask each area to appoint a representative in parliament. But today we should be able to design an electoral system where MPs represent people not places, and where everybody can say their vote helped appoint someone to parliament.
As an example if all the votes for the Green party were distributed amongst the smallest UK consituencies (you did realise they are different sizes didn't you?), they would have ended up with 23 MPs instead of just 1! The Tories would end up with 240 seats rather than 331, which basically means that the Tories are very good at distributing their supporters.
In my case, my vote went towards a loser which means I'm "represented" by a politician whose policies and attitudes I find totally repulsive. There is nobody in parliament that I voted for. And the same applies to a huge swathe of the population who are now feeling alienated by the whole process.
And that is something that can and should be changed.
The alienation caused by the first past the post system is probably one of the causes of the low turnout; what is the point in voting if you live in a "safe" seat?
The most obvious difference in this election is the wholesale take-over of Scotland by the SNP, which surprised everyone. Which leads the new Tory government to a bit of a problem – with just one MP in Scotland, they essentially have no mandate to govern Scotland.
And even in England, the Tory majority is nothing to crow about – a majority of 5 is what would have been called a "fragile majority" in the past. A Tory leader with such a slim majorty is likely to run into problems if they try and ram through a radical programme.
The Tories managed to persuade many of us that a bit more self-flagellation is necessary, and punishing the poor and unfortunate is good for the country.
The effect on the Liberal Democrats is both surprising and entirely predictable. Joining a coalition with the Tories was always a mistake in terms of future elections – it was always seen as helping to put the Tories into power, and many Liberals were far less accepting of this than they would have been to see the party join a coalition with Labour. What the Liberal Democrats failed to sell was the idea that their presence in government helped to amerliorate the Tory extremes.
Labour's failure was probably down to several things :-
The failure to demolish the myth of Labour's economic incompetance that "caused" the recession. It was the global failure of the banking system that caused that failure. Labour's spending was actually reasonably restrained until the need to rescue the banks arose.
The failure to come up with a true alternative to the austerity plan of the Tories. Given the level of government debt that would be a hard job, but it could be started by pointing out (quite rightly) that simplistic austerity makes the debt problem worse.
The inability to persuade that most voters are actually "working class". There is a historic problem with the class system by which people think of the working class as cloth-capped horned handed manual workers of one kind or another. In reality, everybody who works for a living is working class.
Of course whinging about it is not going to change things. We have five years of Tory mismanagement and punishing austerity to accept now.
In recently announced plans, it appears that the government is going to change the primary school curriculum to include (amongst other things) teaching the times tables up to 12. Now I’m not sure about the other plans, but the insistence on the 12 times table sounds a little to me like an old-school Tory frothing at the mouth declaring that if they had to learn the 12 times table then everyone else should do as well.
Why did we learn the 12 times table? Yes, me too! Who knows, but it may have something to do with 12 inches to the foot. Which of course is totally irrelevant these days given we have sensible decimal based units.
There are those who say that the bigger the times table you learn, the more useful it is. True enough, but once you get past the 10 times table, the incremental value diminishes. And there’s one thing that people forget: Learning the times table is just about the most tedious learning it is possible to do and each extra increment to the size of the times table we teach children should have a damn big incremental value.
Or to put in other words, the larger you make the times table, the more children get turned off maths. Is it worth turning children off maths for those extra 2 numbers 11 and 12? Far better to avoid putting off those children and just teach the 10 times table. If you know that, and a few tricks, then any multiplication is possible.
And frankly a lot of simple arithmetic tricks can be sold as “cheats” which is undoubtedly a nifty way of getting children to have fun whilst learning maths.
So we’ve seen in the last few minutes that as expected a whole bunch of Tories have voted against the proposal to legalise gay marriage. Frankly nobody expected the “hang ’em high and whip ’em” branch of the Tories to vote for gay marriage.
Of course the media and the anti-Tories are gleefully announcing that the Tories are split down the middle and that this might just be the beginning of the end. Of what I’m not sure.
Much as I would like to see the Tories self-destruct, it is very unlikely to happen. This was a free vote – where MPs were encouraged to vote with the conscience rather than according to the party whip. Whilst it is entirely possible that a party who wants to get something through that will be unpopular with their own members, will resort to a free vote, it is a move to be encouraged.
After all, it would be nice to see MPs always voting with their conscience!