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Don’t vote tactically

Vote for who you want, no matter what, or to put it another way, don’t vote for a party you don’t want. A democratic vote was never and can never be a route to getting solely what YOU want, as an individual. It’s a way to indicate what you want, and when enough people indicate the same thing, they should get it or something like it – I suppose that’s democracy, when it’s working. It’s hugely complicated by our horrible electoral system but until we get electoral reform that isn’t going to change but we can build collective confidence in our positive choices and that will effect change and will encourage electoral reform. Sadly, electoral reform is tricky for any party in power to take a punt on, after all, they got voted in on the current flawed system and therefore unless they think a new, less flawed, more fair system would deliver the same results to at least them as the leading party, their reasonable assumption is that they would do best if they leave it alone until they’re not in power at which point it’s safe to moan about.

So, you really hate Labour, or the Tories or whoever and you’re shit scared that they will get in or get a seat in your area but a vote for the party you really want is a ‘wasted vote’ so you vote for a party you don’t really want to stop the baddies getting in, but then the party you really want gets fewer votes and the next time it rolls around everyone says a vote for the party you really want is still a wasted vote so you vote for someone else and so it goes on. The only parties benefiting heavily from tactical voting are the major ones, because they are apparently the ones with a chance and therefore who you need to vote for to keep the baddies out – after all, even the supporters of your preferred party, including yourself don’t vote for it. I wonder if it has no chance *because* even the people that support its policies don’t actually vote for it?

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Tactical voting is bound to appeal to almost everyone. We are mostly a politically uneducated island population. Ask the person next to you to usefully summarise the workings of the House of Lords, House of Commons, Queen’s Speech, Hustings, whips, seats, first past the post, proportional representation and so on. I bet they struggle. I would, so don’t worry, I’m not being highbrow. Despite my lack of knowledge on matters political, I can be made to believe that voting for a party I don’t want is ‘tactical’. This makes me feel pretty good and empowered. Yes that’s right, I’m using tactics. How could I use tactics if I didn’t know what I was doing? The OED definition of tactics begins ‘The art or science of…’. Check me out with my artistic, scientific vote for a party I don’t want slightly less than another party I don’t want slightly more.

If I challenged you to think of a way to get people in their thousands to vote for parties they don’t want you’d say that was impossible, but it’s not – it’s here and we’re doing it, aided capably by our electoral system. Election after election, both local and national we head out to the polling stations to put a cross against a party we don’t want, and why? Because we are being tactical. Clever us! Excellent use of our democratic right. It feels more like I’m being given the right to be tricked, the right to imply through my voting that I want to be lead in a direction I don’t want to go in – after all they’ve expressed their polices and plans and I’ve voted for them. It must be what I want. In some ways I can’t even blame them for that, after all, they did warn me and I said ‘yes please’… Ever wonder why we’ve had government after government of the same major parties, are they really that good, do we like them that much? Most people seem to claim the ruling parties aren’t very good and even that they don’t trust them or hate them and yet we keep on voting for them because we have no faith in the potential of success of the parties we believe in.

When it comes to the party I vote for I don’t like the idea of least worst. We had a chance for electoral reform in the Alternative Vote Referendum of 2011. I fear the process was confused with a vote on whether or not we liked the coalition and as such we lost our best chance in a long time to get a system to return what we ask for. I suppose I may simply be asking for another chance at electoral reform. Maybe it will take yet another poxy coalition to push us in that direction. Of course, this is a long game and really requires electoral reform, but it would be a whole lot shorter if we vote for what we want and keep on doing so.

I have to acknowledge after all this that I am hugely over-simplifying matters, to the point where I’m probably wrong – perhaps what I’m asking for simply can’t deliver the best results, not only at this election or any in the future. I must also acknowledge that a lot of people do know how these things work much better than me, and that they do vote tactically based on that knowledge. To those people I must concede, they understand the political landscape and take a pragmatic approach typically to minimise the negative impact of their least favoured party getting a seat locally and therefore the chance to win at a general election – they do this in good faith and with well-considered reasoning. My belief is that these people are not typical and that for the most part, especially long term this may not help most of us as it in effect playing a system. If the system needs to be played then it’s too complicated for many citizens and therefore is a system that fails many citizens. I don’t want to vote for that.

To me a vote for the party I support feels right, it sends the message I want to send both to the politicians and to my fellow citizen. It does so whether or not my party wins a seat or gets in to power. That’s what I’m doing and it’s what I think we should all do alongside campaigning for a better system where our votes really do count.

Having said all that….

https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/05/02/leader-most-seats-has-biggest-mandate/

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Party every day, party every dayayay

It’s clear from the regular supply of news articles and documentaries that what this country needs is more reasons to drink excessively. One way to bring about change is to normalise that which you are trying to encourage. You can do this by attributing a catchy or amusing name to something that typically already has a perfectly functional name. In of itself this seems harmless enough and it gives us something to smile about. One example of this would be ‘Thirsty Thursday’ – an amusing piece of alliteration that is popularly used by bars to get folks to come out boozing a day earlier than they might otherwise. It sounds fun, is somewhat logical (it’s nearly Friday so your thirst is building etc.), and it means we get a longer weekend – win-win.
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Another example I’ve heard recently and seen in action is ‘Sunday Funday’. Sunday Funday works well with Thirsty Thursday as you now have a four night weekend – oh, and you actually drink all day on a Sunday Funday. You can see the opposite of this too, when people refer to the weekday evenings as ‘School nights’. In that case it helps to normalise/encourage ‘not drinking’. Attaching this prosaic title to something as tempting as a Wednesday night can work to bolster someone’s will power as it defers responsibility for decision making – I don’t have to say ‘no’ I just say it’s a school night and immediately my peers will reduce the pressure on me – because it’s a SCHOOL NIGHT – and that means something. Sooo, what I wondered is do we now have drink-friendly names for every day of the week? I’m aware of Thirsty Thursday and Sunday Funday, I can imagine Twatted Tuesday could work or even Titsoff Tuesday. Wankered Wednesday goes without saying. But…. what do we do about Monday?!

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I’m worried that people are considering voting for UKIP

I’m worried that people are considering voting for UKIP. I wonder what they imagine are the main causes of problems in our society and what UKIP are capable of doing about them? There are a lot of good things going on in this country and the world. But there are also some very bad things. I’m sad about things such as power hungry politicians, greedy bankers, amoral newspaper editors, child abusers – both those that exist close to us and those that have been piped into our living room for years, all the while being known as the horrible manipulators they are by the very people and organisations that taught us to trust them. I feel sickened that I’ve paid for a licence to view all manner of subnormal human filth. I’ve had enough of people failing their duty of care to their children so comprehensively, every day in every way and leaving it up to over-worked teachers to be their last chance at normality before social services have to take over. I’m sick of shiny magazines telling me that I should be dissatisfied with every aspect of my life and being, and that they can sell me some of their brand of happiness via a nice little subscription. We’ve got newspapers that will take some ludicrous moral high ground in one article, and then juxtapose the article with Mandy from Essex with her tits out grinning at me on the opposite page. I can’t believe anyone likes those God-awful reality programs. All the time they are on they are informing our morals, our standards – Just because people will turn their head to look at a car crash doesn’t mean they want a car to crash yet that’s what the programme schedulers’ tell us in their defence of their abysmal, vapid output. I don’t want any more mindless TV so I don’t watch it any more and I don’t pay a licence. Those damned grinning freaks that told everyone to sell their houses or buy someone else’s so they could rent it to me and you for an inflated price? Does anyone really like the fact that even a doctor can’t afford a first time buyer house now? Now, there are many more problems in this country and of course in the wider world. We’ve got homeless people, addicts, old people dying alone at home. We’ve got prisons overcrowded and our most important services seriously under-funded and yet their staff expected to operate at an ever higher level of faultless precision, or face prosecution for trying to do the job they dedicate their lives to and used to love. We’ve got animals being abused, both domestically and commercially and our biggest supermarkets selling us horse meat is deemed a bigger problem than what the hell we’re doing shipping produce from God knows where to create unrealistically low prices. We have badgers being killed to ensure political advantage (those Tory voters don’t tend to like badgers and Cameron knows that) and much, much more. One thing I don’t see is that many of these problems are caused by immigration and yet so many people seem happy to leap on a party where their main agenda is just that. Take a look in Farage’s eyes. Would he like you? Would he respect you? Are you the kind of person he’s trying to support. Are you or your family like him? I very much doubt it. Don’t get me wrong. Cameron wouldn’t relate to you much better. Poor old Milliband seems to have had his question answering ability castrated by some unknown political genital mutilator and Clegg… Well, what can you say other than ‘oh dear’? Personally my guess is that Clegg is probably decent enough. Milliband too, if a little wet. My worry is that neither seems completely capable of winning even if they could handle the business of government itself. One thing I do believe is that building a party on hatred of some arbitrary group will not produce positive results. Parties will always need to consider immigration and criminals and bad parents or dodgy priests but you can’t have a party who’s raison d’être is to fight a single group, no matter what the group is.

In summary: crimes are committed, of one sort or another. The ones that do the most damage are the ones that betray trust and faith. This is not solely because they hurt and disappoint more, but because they draw their power from the misplaced and subsequently abused trust. They are only able to penetrate so deeply into our lives and our families and our hearts because we trust them. It’s a massively painful irony not lost on anyone that has believed in something or someone and then been used. Very few place faith in immigrants, and as such they represent very, very little risk to us or our country. Should you be worried if some foreigners move in next door? No, because you probably don’t trust them and you are therefore unlikely to empower them. Should you be worried if someone moves in that you’ve been conditioned to trust? Someone from whom you have been educated to expect a duty of care or at the very least, proper conduct? Yes, or at least yes, if you empower them without constant monitoring of how their actions meet with your expectations.

Vote for the success of the party or leader you like, but not for the demise of the group you dislike.

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Snow bloody joke

Before you moaners start asking why the UK can’t cope with a bit of snow ask yourself if you want our infrastructure to cost many times more to mitigate for something that happens very rarely and even then only for a few days. This isn’t Northern Canada for God’s sake. Ask yourself why you haven’t got your whole family snow shoes and tyre chains or why you don’t have your own grit store on your mile-long drive or a snow shovel or clothing suitable for Siberian temperatures or a quad to hand so you can nip to Asda. Whilst we’re thinking about it, (or at least in the case of many people) why you haven’t got naturally pigmented skin that can cope with the Saharan sun beating down on your neck all day to stop you moaning when it gets a bit sunny in a few months time? I for one do not want my taxes to pay for fleets of £100,000 snow lorries that we don’t need every year. Yes it’s annoying but just grin and bear it for a day or two and then it will be raining again and I just know you’ve got a rain coat.

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