miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
So, I went to the Euro election count last night. So did a lot of other local political types. Our MP, Craig Whittaker, was there, along with our new councillor for Brighouse. Labour's PPC JoshFG - in fact loads of Labourites. Some Greens. Myself, and a small hardy band of masochistic Lib Dems.

You know who wasn't there?

Not a single Kipper. Not one. You know why? Because they treated the election count the same way they will treat the positions they have been elected to - with an utter breathtaking arrogance. One of the ones who has been elected to replace the lovely, hard-working, intelligent Edward McMillan-Scott has already declared that he's not going to go to any debates*:I have woken up in a dystopian nightmare where people who think that all politicians are corrupt, lazy, lying bastards have voted for the most corrupt, lazy, lying bastards of them all because at least they are honest about being corrupt, lazy, lying bastards. Oh yeah, and immigrants. Evil evil immigrants, coming over here, taking our [insert precious thing here]. As the joke** goes:
A car mechanic, an Immigrant and a banker are in a room with ten biscuits. The banker eats nine biscuits, and UKIP says to the car mechanic: watch out for that immigrant, she's after your biscuit
.
People from several different parties have asked me to defect to them in the last couple of days. I can understand why they have done so. Things were not great at the ballot box for the Lib Dems, and several other parties see me as a way to massively increase their diversity quotient in one go. It's not going to happen, though. I am not going to join Labour or the Tories and the inevitable Dutch auction of barely-veiled racism that started before the Euro count had even begun. When my child(ren) ask What did you do, mummy, when the fascists were rising and people were falling for their bullshit? I want to be able to hold my head up and say I fought them, and their poisonous ideology, and their vile insidious racism, and I couldn't do that if I joined Labour or the Tories with their appeasement policies***.

I'm not going to go Green because, while they are bang on with a lot of the social issues I care about, their grasp of fiscal matters is even shakier than mine, and I want to be in a party that has at least SOME people who understand economics in it. And I'm not going to go Pirate because, lovely as they are, they've got even less chance of getting anywhere than we have at this point.

So no, Liberal I am and Liberal I remain. As the lovely Jonathan Calder reminds us, from the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success - as long, of course, as there are still gardeners.

So who's going to pick up a trowel and join me?



* although the point was well-made by WhoCat on twitter that with UKIP's views, we're probably better off if they DON'T turn up to any debates
** not a very funny joke, I admit.
*** apart, of course, from all the OTHER reasons for a dyed-in-the-wool Millian Liberal feminist not to join either of those two equally repulsive parties - but this post is not about THOSE reasons.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Somewhat like "hard-working families" I am starting to have an instinctive "ugh" reaction to the use of this phrase. "Where we work we win" implies that all one had to do is deliver more leaflets, make more phone calls, knock on more doors, and the election is in the bag. While those things certainly help, other things are necessary too. It also implies that all those people who DIDN'T win on Thursday only have themselves to blame for not working hard enough; while this is undoubtedly true in some cases it's a horrific insult in others. So yeah, if I never see that phrase issuing from head office again I won't mourn.

Other things:

1, if you want to get rid of the leader, there are several methods outlined in the party constitution. Anonymous willy-waving is not one of them. I suspect that all LibDems4Change have achieved is to annoy people who might have been on their side had they been approached reasonably, and made it less likely Clegg will go.

2, Calderdale council has a fantastic new councillor in Marilyn Greenwood, but it will be massively the poorer for the loss of several of the other councillors/candidates we had standing. However, you have to deal with things as they are, not how you would wish they might be.

3, Election counts are, for the most part, like the Christmas day football match in the trenches; whatever Flag we are there under most of us are capable of civility. I spent a lot of Friday having pleasant friendly chat with people from all parties and none. But there's always one, isn't there? I'm not going to name names but I was very amused by one particular person's hamfisted attempts to patronise me, and his purple face of rage when he didn't win the seat he felt entitled to ALMOST made the rest of the pain worthwhile.

4, When life gives you lemons, bugger lemonade, slice them up and put them in a gin and tonic. And then have another gin and tonic. And then another. But before you do all that, make sure you have someone lovely there who will fry you pig-based things and give you hugs the morning after. Those people are worth more than any electoral news.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
... Today is polling day in the European and lots of local elections.

Y'all know I want you to vote Lib Dem. I'd be really happy if you went out and voted Lib Dem. But I recognise that not all of my readership is of that persuasion, and I respect your democratic right to make up your own mind. If you're not going to vote Lib Dem, though, please do go and put some sort of mark on your ballot; even if you hate all politicians. If you spoil your ballot that sends a much more effective message than just staying at home. Also it'll give me something fun to look at when it comes to the count :)

You don't need your polling card to vote, and polling stations are open till 10 o'clock tonight.

Thanks guys.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
... the lovely Alisdair Calder McGregor.

(You can find him on Twitter, linked in, blog, LDV articles, G+)

alisdairrailway

You'd vote for that, amirite? I totally would :)

Hustings was a lot of fun last night. Questions to candidates were very broad ranging (some of them longer winded than others LOL) and the turnout was not bad, to say what horrible cold miserable Halifaxness we had to endure to get to it.

On the evidence of last night, Alisdair is going to make a bloody awesome candidate. Pretty much everything he said in answers to questions was clear and succint. No rambling off on tangents. Lots of useful political points. And peppered with big meaty doses of Liberalism. Definitely a parliamentary candidate I can get behind. Which is handy, really, because he's already started dishing out orders to me...

I'm not going to make a secret of the fact that I wanted Alisdair to win this from the beginning - it'd be hard to with my imprint on the bottom of all of his literature - but I do want to say that had Janet won we'd still have a great candidate. So commiserations to Janet.

And forward to 2015. I guess there's going to be a lot more leaflet designing for ME.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
I have in my hand a piece of paper. Well, two pieces of paper and a booklet of manifestos. They arrived in a brown envelope, and are much more pleasing than the normal types of things that arrive in brown envelopes :)

Yes, it's the time of the year for LGBT+ LD elections, and they're even more exciting than normal this year because we're not just electing the exec, but the chair too. So I have 16 pages of manicfestos to read and then I get to choose who to vote for. I'm not going to tell you who I'm going to vote for, but I am going to give you a couple of Dos and Don'ts for Manifesto writing, in case you're ever standing for election for a party body
  1. Do: Put your name on it. Seriously, if I have to flip to the back of the book to see whose manifesto I'm reading you've lost my vote already.

  2. Don't: have huge walls of text in tiny font. The tl;dr reflex is hard to suppress when you have many manifestos to read. I will read it, because I am conscientious like that, but many people won't.

  3. Do: actually say something. Not just managementspeak. Say something of substance: what you believe in, what you plan to do, ANYTHING.

  4. Don't: think that a pretty design will make up for not saying anything. Pretty design is good, don't get me wrong, but content is king.

  5. Do: use pictures - but don't overuse them.

  6. Don't: patronise people. If you're talking down to people, or they feel like you are, they won't want to vote for you.

  7. Do: make people laugh if you can. This might be controversial, and certainly I only mean this for internal elections, but the person who will be getting my #1 for exec member in this election is getting it because (s)he made me LOL.
Good luck to all the candidates in this election (even the one who didn't submit a manifesto at all, bless him). I know who I'm voting for; I hope the other members of plus do too :) The voter number on the top of my ballot paper has 40 digits in it, so I guess the membership has gone up a LOT since I was a member of the exec... ;)
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
I am utterly sick of people attempting to read in the entrails of the local election results what might happen in the general election in 2015. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of why such efforts are fruitless bullshit:
  1. People vote differently in local and general elections. Recognising that the local council has very little power any more, people take council elections far less seriously. This means that turnout is derisory and the result is thus distorted by the people who DO turnout being either seriously committed to one party or another, or wanting to "send a message" by spoiling their ballot or voting for a party they know cannot win.

  2. Local elections were not held in every parliamentary constituency. This means that any extrapolation to a national result is "projection" - i.e. guesswork

  3. Time will pass between now and a general election. Political change tends to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but sometimes there IS a revolutionary change, and none of us knows what will happen in the next two years. The old adage that a week is a long time in politics still holds true in many cases.

  4. Data which applies to our electoral system is incomplete, verging on non-existent. The only polling data we have which is reliable at constituency level is from previous general elections. No polling company holds/collects data at constituency level, and most of them hold/collect data at a national level. This is USELESS for predicting the results of a general election under the first past the post electoral system, where every single constituency has its own idiosyncracies. We will never get a British Nate Silver or change the woeful quality of political analysis in the media unless this changes.

  5. The pundits in the media are crap. Relying on the proclamations of media pundits is an exercise in futility when none of them even acknowledge that they are guessing from incomplete data.
I'm sure there are other reasons that could be added to this list, but you get the idea. Basically, if anyone tells you that they can predict what will happen in May 2015 after this week's local election results, your bullshit detector should be pinging off the top of the scale.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
Have been discussing with Emma Burnell of Scarlet Standard on twitter which Doctor would win a Best Doctor poll if run under different electoral systems. And then we got to thinking we ought to test it...

We'd ideally want to have "who was the best doctor?" as the question three times, and then have twelve options to vote for (One to Eleven and then Other for the snowflakes) - one question would be FPTP, one would be STV and one AV. Theoretically the poll software on dreamwidth is good for it, but people often have problems logging in with openID etc. So, which would be the best software to use?

Aside from the fact that it would be interesting to Whovians it's also Serious Political Research, to prove that electoral systems really do affect results.

And, you know, I could at least HOPE that my beloved Sixie wouldn't come bottom in all three...
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
I've seen a huge number of theories on this, but given some politicians' disdain for actually doing research and finding things out, I suspect we'll never have a definitive answer. After all, it's much easier to pontificate from assumptions than do research... With that caveat in mind, I'd like to take a look at some of the theories.

1, Nobody votes in winter elections

Turnout in winter elections does tend to be depressed by 5 or 6 percent. This may be a factor, but it's clearly not the full explanation when in some places turnout didn't even hit 10 percent.

2, There was a lack of information about the elections

There was no freepost mailshot. The London-based national media were totally apathetic about reporting that the elections were happening (unlike the bloody London mayor, which the rest of us had to suffer ad nauseam). The government didn't push the elections either. The Choose My PCC website was abysmal, and the helpline was worse than useless. This all gave the electorate the impression that nobody could be bothered. Again, I think this was a factor, but not the full explanation.

3, There was a lack of meaningful choice

Even if you get over the hurdles of lack of information, you discover that most of the candidates were standing on identical platforms. More bobbies on the beat, less anti-social behaviour, etc. Unless you have strong ideological political convictions (which is not very many people these days) from which you could extrapolate the values of the candidate (because very few made overtly political statements) how the hell were you meant to choose between them? And if there's no meaningful choice, people won't bother to vote - I personally think this is a large part of the decline in turnouts in other elections too.

4, People object to the idea of a politician running the police

This may be true, although it shows ill-informedness about how the police were run before. Again, I think the media must take some share of the blame for this. Pretty much all of the reports I have seen have described the PCCs as replacing the Police Authority - which is something of a misconception - and have not described how the existing police authorities were comprised of local councillors anyway so were already politicised. The only thing that has really changed here is the name of the police authority - they are now police and crime panels - and the fact that the chair of the authority has been renamed commissioner and is now directly elected rather than indirectly.

5, People who object to the idea of elected police commissioners had no way to register their disdain other than to stay away

Although there have been a larger number of spoilt ballots this time, people are still unaware of the power of a spoilt ballot, and so tried to send a message by not voting. Unfortunately, we all know that politicians and the media will paint this as "voter apathy" and people "not bothering". This will increase feelings of disenfranchisement and frustration among the electorate. At some point this is going to boil over, but clearly this election wasn't it.

If you DO object to the very idea of elected police and crime commissioners, by the way, I recommend either signing Unlock Democracy's open letter to Theresa May or signing the epetition here, or both.

6, People are just generally pissed off with politicians, political media, and elections

I, personally, think this is the nub of it. And because people are just generally pissed off with politicians, political media, and elections this feeds into the perception that there is a lack of meaningful choice - if all politicians are the same and they are all venal scumsucking money-grubbing bastards, why bother to try to choose between them? It won't make any difference.

The causes of this are many and complex, but a large part of it is the electoral system which forces there two be two big broad church parties of disparate people BEFORE an election rather than coalitions forming after; a large part of it is the media who love to take politicians down and misrepresent them for sensationalist reasons; some of it is a lack of education on politics and its processes; and some of it is the dishonesty of politicians in not admitting that actually, there is very little difference between any of the main parties precisely due to the above effects.

There needs to be a sea change in politics in this country. People like Loz Kaye and even the idiot Farage are doing their best to bring that about peacefully, but powerful forces are ranged against them. The Labour and Conservative parties really don't want to see it happen because it will mean the end of their century-old strangehold on power, which is why all of the opprobrium for unpopular government decisions has been aimed by them at the Lib Dems. The dead tree media don't want to see it happen because pluralist politics is far harder to report than red/blue blue/red spats, which is why all of the opprobrium for unpopular government decisions has been aimed by THEM at the Lib Dems.

But I think it's going to happen. Whether or not it happens peacefully depends on exactly how hard the establishment resists, but we've already seen riots, record low turnout in elections, and we're seeing the demonisation and othering of everyone from the disabled to those who dare to voice dissent on twitter. It takes a lot to make British people rouse from their "mustn't grumble" natural state and revolt, but we're seeing signs of it happening. Our political class (myself included) needs to pay attention to this and do something about it, before the entire edifice gets burned.
miss_s_b: (Default)
The full results of the elections are here. Of the people who got elected, the following got reasonably high preferences* from me:
Federal Executive committee:

Daisy Cooper
Ramesh Dewan
Caron Lindsay (my first pref)
Martin Tod
On my A-list and not elected was Joe Otten. Nobody from my "Oh God No Please Not This Person" list got elected to FE.
Federal Policy Committee:

Dinti Batstone
Prateek Buch
Lucy Care
Evan Harris
Phil Willis
On my A-list and not elected were Richard Flowers (my first pref), Carl Minns, Ewan Hoyle, Jenny Woods, Mark Thompson and David Grace. Only two of the list above were on my A-list. Five people from my "Oh God No Please Not This Person" list got elected to FPC.
Federal Conference Committee:

Gareth Epps
Susan Gaszczak
Evan Harris
Justine McGuinness
Not one person from my A-list for FCC got elected (my first pref was Zoe O'Connell, and my other two As were George Potter and David Grace). Five people from my "Oh God No Please Not This Person" list got elected to FCC.
International Relations Committee has two people elected I voted positively for, but not my first pref, and only one from my "Oh God No Please Not This Person" list; and ELDR Delegation saw my top four prefs elected (Ruth Coleman-Taylor, Jonathan Fryer, Allis Moss and the honourable lady Mark Valladares) and nobody from the "Oh God No Please Not This Person" list.
All in all, it's reasonably depressing, particularly FPC and FCC. Far too many "Oh God No Please Not This Person" type folks on both of those. The only one I feel happy about the result for is ELDR, and while all five committees are important and do important work, I'd say ELDR is fourth in terms of importance to the future of the party.

Still, I got to vote, and I got to contribute positively to the election, in terms of my Q&As that about half the candidates bothered to answer. YAY for engagement, and lets have more of it next time.


* when I say "reasonably high preferences" I mean they were in my a (these people would be great), b (these people would be pretty good) or c (these people would be acceptable) groups
miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: Liz 10)
Has taken me a good four hours this evening. I very carefully ordered every candidate in all the elections, using my own personal criteria.

I'm not going to give you the full running order, but for the big three, my top choices were
- FE: Caron Lindsay
- FPC: Richard Flowers
- FCC: Zoe O'Connell

My method, if anyone cares, was to group candidates into lettered groups, and then rank them within the group. Candidates who didn't answer my/Andy's questions were ranked n for neutral, and then within n by what I know about them. Candidates whose answers I really liked got put in group a; those I quite liked in b or c; those I thought were ok in d to f. Candidates whose answers I didn't like got put in group x, and candidates whose answers I thought were truly awful in group z. Then it was a simple matter of hitting "sort alphabetically"...

It was genuinely worth answering the questions that I and Andy put - one person I had never heard of before this election ended up getting my second preference for FPC - and I was not the only person using candidates answers to rank them, from the thanks I have received in blog comments, by twitter, and by email.
miss_s_b: (Britishness: cricket)
Mark's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Fangirling: Columbo)
Shas's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: Temperance Brennan & Skeleton (Feminist Heroes: Temperance Brennan & Sk)
Susan's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (Default)
David's answers for FCC are under the cut )

David's answers for FPC are under this cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (Default)
James's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (Music: Progtastic Rock Wankman)
Evan's answers for FCC are under the cut )

Evan's answers for FPC are under this cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cuddly Cthulhu)
Chris's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: DreamSheep dreams of the Angel of the North (DreamSheep: Angel of the North)
Louise's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: DreamSheep/Matrix icon (DreamSheep: Matrix)
Julie's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (Default)
Jo's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Mood: And another thing)
Martin's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cthulhu the Six!Fan)
Ewan's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
Sal's answers for FCC are under the cut )

Sal's answers for FPC are under this cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: river song)
Arnie's answers are under the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here
miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
Charles says he has been driven to stand for these Federal committees by two key concerns:
One is the diminishing internal democracy that I perceive in the Party, with Conference being increasingly manipulated and controlled.
The other is what I perceived as a totally unnecessary debacle that was the Health Bill and our Party's response to it.


His answers for FCC areunder the cut )

His answers for FPC areunder the cut )



You can find links to all the other candidates' answers here

About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






Flattr this

Ebuzzing - Top Blogs Ebuzzing - Top Blogs - Politics





==================
Charities I support:

The Survivors' Trust - donate here
DogsTrust - donate here
CAB - donate here

==================


Creative Commons License
Miss SB by Jennie Rigg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at miss-s-b.dreamwidth.org.

Please note that any and all opinions expressed in this blog are subject to random change at whim my own, and not necessarily representative of my party, or any of the constituent parts thereof (except myself, obviously).

Printed by Dreamwidth Studios, Maryland USA. Promoted by Jennie Rigg, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

Subscribe

RSS Atom

October 2014

M T W T F S S
   1 2 3 45
6 7 8 9 10 1112
131415 16 17 1819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Style Credit

Page generated Monday, October 20th, 2014 09:42 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios