May 262024

Way back when the Tories got into power (2010), they had a bit of a cheer-a-thon when austerity measures were announced. I said at the time that even if austerity was necessary (and it probably wasn’t), it wasn’t the sort of thing to cheer about.

We’ve since seen the effect of their austerity fetish taking effect on our public services – NHS waiting lists grown out of all proportion, trouble filling public-sector vacancies, pot-holes in the roads, libraries closed left, right, and centre.

Even if it were necessary, the initial cheering tells us everything we need to know about Tories. They don’t give a damn about most of us – they would rather cut taxes for their rich pals.

So remember when you vote – the Tories aren’t on your side.

A long road to the gatehouse
Dover Castle Gateway
May 252024

Voting doesn’t change much of anything, so why bother? Particularly with our present voting system (FPTP) which tends to favour establishment parties. Which is particularly off-putting to those voters who want to see real change. Which probably consists of mostly young voters plus a few weird old farts (like me).

And we need real change :-

  1. We need to reform the voting system away from a system that effectively disenfranchises the majority who don’t vote for the incumbent MP in a constituency. If you look past the “sexy news” in an election where seats change from Tory to Labour or Labour to Tory, a massive number of seats stay passively with the incumbent. That’s not good. Particularly when the majority of voters went for someone other than the winner – if you look at Wycombe, in 2019 the Tory winner had 45% of the vote; the others added together came to 55% of the vote.
  2. Taxation needs to be reformed to be fairer and less evenly distributed (i.e. the rich should pay more – and I’m one of the “rich” relatively speaking as I’m a higher rate tax payer). Close loopholes that allow the rich and companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Are any of the mainstream parties likely to do these reforms (although I’ve only listed 2, I could go on for so long that both of us would fall asleep)? Of course not. Labour might tinker with tax a bit and they might have a look at voting reform.

But which one is the worse?

Vote against the one that’ll probably be the worse. Is that negative? Sure it is, but with the present system it’s the best we can manage.

And voting only takes 30m. So vote!

Tactical Voting

If you are currently in a constituency represented by a bloated Tory, who do you vote for to get them out?

You could just pick the party that you prefer, but if you vote Labour and all the pissed off Tory voters all vote LibDem, you may well find that the Tories win by default. A tactical vote may be of more use.

Visit in a week or two to see where your vote would most usefully be dropped to get the Tories out. Be very, very wary of other sites; not all will be using the best analytics to come up with a prediction. Some may even be stealth Tory “tactical voting” sites intended to sabotage tactical voting.

Don’t feel good about tactical voting rather than voting for your preferred party? Well, don’t. Just bear in mind that you could end up with a Tory as a result.

The Evil One
Mar 172024

Well yes, the Tories need a new party leader to rebuild their party after the next election. Before the election? The new leader will just be a sacrificial lamb that’ll probably be thrown out onto the slag heap (hopefully a nice soggy wet one) at the next election.

It’ll almost certainly not save them from being wiped out (and that’s from 6 months ago; if anything, things are even worse today) at the next election.

An overwhelming majority of people want an election now and changing leaders now in what will be seen as yet another undemocratic move (it isn’t; it’s just people like to think they’re voting for a particular PM when they’re just voting for their MP) is likely to make the Tories even more unpopular.

If I were Starmer, I’d launch a parliamentary vote of no confidence as soon as the replacement showed up in parliament :-

The people don’t want you.
We don’t want you.
The other parties here don’t want you.
And if they were honest, half of those on your side don’t want you either.

– Me putting words in Starmer’s mouth.

He’d lose of course, but the people will see it as an honest attempt at doing the right thing.

A long road to the gatehouse
Dover Castle Gateway
Mar 132024

The current crop of clownish criminals in the House of Commons just goes to show that the regulation need a bit of a brush-up. Here’s a few of my suggestions :-

  1. Secret electronic voting. Which has the downside that we can’t see what our MPs voted for or against, but does allow them greater latitude in ignoring the party whip when it comes to things that shouldn’t be passed.
  2. Electronic voting should make this easier: MPs should recuse themselves when their vote could influence their income – for example MPs who are also landlords should not vote on motions involving landlordism.
  3. MPs should be allowed to do jobs outside of their work as an MP, but their income should be capped at an hourly rate equivalent to their salary as an MP; any extra goes into the general taxation fund. Sound unfair? There’s plenty of senior public sector workers with exactly that sort of contract. It would allow MPs to keep “in practice” but not encourage them to seek outside work.
  4. MPs who change party allegiance or lose the whip should be subject to the same recall petition mechanism that being found guilty of “wrongdoing” makes available.
  5. Accusations of lying should be permitted which should invoke an investigation. A false accuser gets sanctioned (which opens them up to a recall petition) and an accurate accusation gets the accused sanctioned (likewise).

I’m sure there’s a whole bunch more to add but that’s enough for now. I’m sure MPs will hate it, but to be honest, the more an MP hates a regulation, the more likely it is to be useful.

B&W picture of the sea and some old wooden posts.
Nov 192023

Some of us who are anti-Tory are encouraging the use of tactical voting – voting not necessarily for the party you would most like to represent you, but instead voting for the party most likely to defeat the Tories. The Tory government has been so inept, corrupt, morally bankrupt, and generally icky, that giving them a total hammering is only right.

But there are plenty of people out there who don’t feel that Labour (or one of the others in certain areas) really represent their views. Labour has moved too far to the right – which is something I would agree with.

But politics is about compromise and with first-past-the-post system, we have to compromise more than other systems of voting. There will never be a political party that exactly represents my views, so I have to select the one that closest matches my views. In an ideal world anyway.

In a less than idea world, we have to compromise more and vote for the candidate in our constituency that is most likely to defeat the Tories. There is no point in voting for the Green party in a constituency where they typically get 2-3% of the vote when switching to the Liberal-Democrats are in second place and most likely to defeat the Tories.

The left in Britain is somewhat more fractured than the right (although if we give the Tories a bloody enough nose that might just change) which with the FPTP system gives the Tories an inherent advantage. We need to overcome that advantage and without a change in the voting system, tactical voting is the way to do that.

Give the Tories a bloody nose and vote tactically.

The Wild Chained