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Blog: A Little Bit Of Politics

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I've just sent out the latest edition of The Newsletter, which in some ways is very LATE (I appear to have FORGOT to do one last month - how did THAT happen?) and in other ways is slightly EARLY, because I couldn't WAIT until the ACTUAL last working day of the month to tell everyone about THIS:

It's the long threatened VIDEO for I'm Saying Yes which, as you can probably tell, I had an AWFUL LOT OF FUN making. I know I'm always asking people to re-post / re-tweet / just sort of MENTION our videos, but I really am ESPECIALLY KEEN on people doing so this time around. The referendum (sorry UK types - we're having a referendum on May 5th about whether to change over to the Alternative Vote for our elections rather than the antiquated, unfair, inherently corrupt First Past The Post system) will, i reckon, set the tone for the next GENERATION of politics. Saying "Yes" this time will open the door not only for fairer elections but also for reform in GENERAL. If it goes "No" then The Establishment (i.e. The Tories) will use it as an EXCUSE to poo poo and generally IGNORE calls to reform the House Of Lords, the way MPs are chosen and paid, and even stuff like Press Complaints, privacy laws and goodness knows what else. "The public have no appetite for change" they will say, meaning "The proles are happy with the status quo, WE KNOW BEST."

"Oh Mr Hibbett", you may cry, "What on earth makes you think THAT?" GOOD QUESTION. I think the evidence for this FEAR is the HUGE amounts of money the Tory funded "No" campaign have spent on their outright LIES (e.g. AV will cost pretty much the SAME as FPTP - they MADE UP a figure of 250 MILLION POUNDS for AV and put it on posters. Also: AV REDUCES the likelihood of extreme parties getting seats [which is why the BNP are campaigning for "no"), leads to LESS coalitions [see AUSTRALIA] and is used ALL OVER THE WORLD for elections including, oh my, THE TORY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS). Tories keep coming on telly to say "Oh it is so boring! No-one cares about changing the voting system!" and then GOING ON ABOUT KEEPING THE OLD VERSION and spending MILLIONS on posters, almost as if THEY ARE SHITTING THEMSELVES.

Because - aha! - the OTHER reason they are so AFEARED of Actual Democracy is that, apparently, the Tories reckon they'll lost up to a third of their traditional voters to UKIP, if people are allowed to vote for who they ACTUALLY WANT rather than GUESS who they think MIGHT WIN. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not particularly in favour of UKIP running the country, but i AM in favour of a) DEMOCRACY and b) the Conservative Party PANICKING. Everyone's a winner!

I could go on for HOURS - DAYS - about this, clearly, but I guess I should LEAVE IT there and let the video do the talking. Hope you enjoy it, and if you get a chance, do please spread the word!

posted 26/4/2011 by MJ Hibbett

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No problem - you might take as an example the Australian Federal Election of 1980. At this, the Labour Party gained 45% of the vote, the Liberal Party gained 37%, and the National Country Party gained 9%. "Others" got 8%. Following the operation of AV, this led to 51 seats for the Labour Party, 54 seats for the Liberal Party, 20 seats for the National Country Party (and no seats for the others). The Government was then formed, as it had been before the election, by the Liberal Party, whose Leader became Prime Minister, and the National Country Party, whose Leader became Deputy Prime Minister. According to supporters of AV for the UK, this was apparently not a coalition. As to the rest, you're right not to trust Tories (but then why trust angry defeated Tories more than Tories trying to cheer up defeated Liberal coalition partners?) but the more likely a coalition in the Commons becomes, the less sense it makes to have a proportional Lords, since the point of a proportional Lords is that the Government wouldn't have a majority in it. But in a coalition, it would. Ditto on the BNP, but it's clear to me that run-off systems such as the French, of which AV is a weak form, do mean that when hundreds of thousands of people vote BNP, or indeed when millions vote UKIP, the response of the rent-seeking politician is not embarrassment at the fall in their vote share, but is, under a preferential system, to seek an accommodation with those voters in order to attract second preferences.
posted 26/4/2011 by Old Politics

I don't mean to ruin your party (well, I do a bit), but

* the word in Westminster is that pressing on with Lords Reform is the Liberal Democrats' consolation prize if the vote is "No", not something made more likely by a "Yes". There are actually sound policy reasons for this too.
* The BNP are campaigning for a "No" because they want PR, and think AV makes PR less likely. Most of the Yes campaign wink knowingly at the PR crowd and say a Yes vote makes it more likely. You can shut out the BNP, or you can move to PR. Not both.
* The Tories have already lost loads of their voters to UKIP. About a million people voted UKIP last year. AV doesn't make the Conservative Party panic, it means that they can get those voters back on second preferences.
* Hence Channel 4's research, showing that the only party which would get fewer MPs under AV would be.... Labour. The Coalition would get more.
* Australia has so many Coalitions that the three parties which form one most often are now frequently referred to as a single party, called "The Coalition" - but they aren't, they're a coalition of three parties. It takes an enormous leap of logic to describe this as 'fewer coalitions'.

posted 26/4/2011 by Old Politics

Prepare to be Respectfully Disagreed With!

* The Lords (who, by the way, are using AV today for their own election) Reform: i wouldn't trust the Tories to follow through on ANY promises they make, and would stick by my opinion on that one.
* Anybody who thinks a "No" to AV is a "Yes" to PR is a blithering idiot... which may indeed explain the BNP, but as all analyses of AV show it does disfavour extremist parties I think I'll stick to my viewpoint there. And yes, I know that PR will probably favour the BNP but I actually think the way to combat fascism is through challenging them, rather than cobbling the voting system - i just don't like the lies of the "No" camp that say otherwise.
* The Tories - I can believe they wouldn't panic about losing MPs, as I agree that UKIP voters would be very likely to vote Tory second, but what they're (apparently) worried about is that millions MORE of their voters would think "I might as well vote UKIP first" which would look very bad indeed for them, whether they eventually got the seats or not.
* Australia: ooh, i didn't know about that aspect of it, i shall have to have a Read Up!

Thanks VERY much for the Opinions and Reasonableness, i do wish the ACTUAL debate about all this had been at such a delightful level!
posted 26/4/2011 by MJ Hibbett

Aaah, what an honour, thanks for telling me!!
posted 27/4/2011 by MJ Hibbett

Aaah, what an honour, thanks for telling me!!
posted 27/4/2011 by MJ Hibbett

Aside from policitics (sort of). I would like to thank you. My 3-year old daughter and I had our first proper sing-song in the car this morning. The song she chose for such an occassion? 'Things'll be different'
posted 27/4/2011 by Dan Lock

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