Item: Jennie put on Would I Lie To You, and the female panellist reveals she lied repeatedly to her husband before they married.

Jennie: Why did he marry her then?
Me: Jennie? She's Keeley Hawes.
(Jennie then went on to wonder why she felt the need to lie, but that's a Serious Topic)

Item: I am a listed here: Brighouse Ward: Statement of persons nominated: Calderdale Council, yes, that is the ward I actually live in, and yes, I'm actually running seriously to try to win. Last minute unplanned nomination, but that doesn't change that I could do it and would like to. This does of course mean that I'll need to be posting some 'local news' stuff over the next few weeks, as that'll be stuff I'll be concentrating on. And having spent years building up the Google presence for my name, ought to actually make use of it.

Item: Livejournal has for the best part of the last week been under a massive, sustained DDOS attack. It appears to be politically motivated from within Russia. This does of course highlight the need, if you care about such things, to backup your journal somewhere, either on your own machine or elsewhere online. I like that I've got two homes that are interoperable for my writing; if you haven't got a DW account & don't want to pay for one, I have a number of invite codes spare--I need an email address to send them to, feel free to comment or email me (matbowles@gmail.com).

Item: At the gym recently, Jennie watched an episode of Doctors, partially. It had Colin Baker in it. She didn't see all of it, so is now inflicting it on me. It has some reasonable actors and acting in it. Shame about the script, plot, etc...
Right, some links from today to amuse/enlighten/annoy/entertain.

First up, Lisa from up the road's been doing some digging on some extremist Christian lobbying groups, How to spot a fundamentalist Christian Lobby Group in your news. A guide. As a general rule, if there's a story in the press about oppressed Christians, these guys are likely to a) be involved and b) distorting or leaving out key facts. Always good to bear that in mind, I especially liked her finishing point:
THis is not about religious belief. This is concerted political lobbying, from groups interested in making it appear that christianity and bigotry are the same thing. They are not.
Next up, Andrew has a nice summary of the rationale of the main political parties, A Beginners’ Guide To The Election Part 2 – What The Parties Stand For. Now, he's as biased as I am, but it looks fairly accurate from my perspective, with a very nice summary of what the Lib Dems are about:
We believe in freedom – that the government should not interfere in you doing what you want with your life. We realise, though, that you can’t be free without enough food to eat or somewhere to live or medicine if you’re sick, so we think the government should do what it can to make sure everybody has those things
Now, if that interests you, you might be interested in getting more involved, and many of you (being the sort of smart, liberal minded person that reads my witterings) may even look at a bunch of MPs and say I could do better than that. I know I do, sometimes, especially when I see a toothless Labour apparatchik backing up the Govt line despite palpably not understanding it. If so, then The Honourable Lady Mark has a guide about How to become a Liberal Democrat MP, which is pretty accurate. He ought to know, he helped write the rules on it. And of course, if the opinion polls stay roughtly where they are or the LDs gain more, at the next GE the number of LD seats considered "winnable" looking for a decent candidate will be a lot bigger.

Now, a little legal seriousness. This is the first really online election, with broaband access as the norm. Some people, indeed many people, have voted by post already, and next week most of you will go off and vote. Publishing, including tweeting, knowledge of how other people have voted is very illegal. It's an attempt to influence the results, see; exit polls can't be published until polls close, what you saw at the opening of the postal ballots can't be published, etc. If a friend says I filled in my postal vote and voted for X, you can't mention this online. You most certainly can't tweet the number of ballots you saw for your party while at the opening of postal votes, and this is especially true if you're a former Labour MP seeking re-election who happens to be a lawyer. That would be really stupid and could get you into serious bother. And yes, many of us have got screenshots.

Now, two funnier, but still election related, points to finish off of. First of all, LOLCleggz: I Can Has Lib-Dems | Popbitch Speaks for itself really. Not all positive or supportive, not all funny, but, y'know, some are.

Last up? No idea who did this, but it is very weird to see them all scrolling past, YouTube - Some of the people the Tory Party think should be running our country...:

My local Tory candidate is about a minute in, and looks positively sane and normal compared to some of them. Which, y'know, is an acheivement in and of itself. They were all taken at Tory party conference in 2008, and I agree with Ian Whitehead, this really does look like a bad day for William Hague. Wonder how many pints of mild he needed to calm down after smiling at that lot?

Ooh, sorry, low blow...
Now the manifestos are out, the guys behind the Who Should You Vote For test have updated the question set to try to make it more accurate. Here's mine:

Take the Who Should You Vote For? England quiz

Liberal Democrat102
Green88
Labour-18
UK Independence-26
Conservative-32

You expected: LIB

Your recommendation: Liberal Democrat

Click here for more details about these results

Now, it's better than it was, and has given me a stronger distinction between LD and Green, which is good. But, I don't think that distinction is strong enough, and there's very little to nothing in there about science and technology policy (where, naturally, I agree with Evan), nor is there much in there about Green specific policies. You might be of the opinion that a deliberate policy of stunting economic growth, a massive increase in the overall taxation take, a 50% hike on alcohol and tobacco duty (which is already high) and a substantial increase in food costs are good ideas. I don't, at all. But this test doesn't ask me anything on those ideas, ergo it looks like I'm a moderate supporter of the Woo, which, y'know, I'm not.

But given my local Green candidate came as close as she can to saying vote Lib Dem tactically, I think we're doing OK:
How I learned to stop worrying and love Nick Clegg « Kate Sweeny

Now, remember, just a bit of fun, but, y'know, useful fun.

Charlotte Gore is worried that the switch to the Lib Dems in the polls is a style over substance presentation only shift. In the comments, Jennie and Steph both disagree, for different reasons. Her server won't let me comment currently, so you lucky lucky people get the text as a post.

I think Jennie, Steph and Charlotte are all correct.

Most people vote for a variety of reasons, including perception of policies, how they're explained, trust in the leader/team, who's the prettiest (or, in this case, least worst), who they think is competent, what the policies will do for them personally, what it'll do for the country, etc.

the first time in any election I've studied

For the LDs to get a chance at winning, they need air time and most people don't pay a huge amount of attention outside of elections (Rational ignorance is, broadly, a good thing in a Parliamentary system). For the first time in any election I've studied since 1983, the "third" party is getting decent air time, decent scrutiny, and a real chance to make their policy case to voters.

an electoral strategy that could actually work

But unlike in 1983, that's being backed up by an effective on-the-ground campaign in a large number of seats, with an electoral strategy that could actually work, a professionalised team of volunteers and a front man that's actually connecting well with people, especially younger, previously uncommitted/deeply cynical voters. And a weird viral effect online, something I've never seen before, and wouldn't really have been possible before.

It's not presentation. It's not policy, it's not electoral reform, it's not media coverage, it's not a competent team behind an efective leader, it's not a strong ground campaign with experience campaigners, it's most certainly not the #iagreewithnick hashtag.

It's all of those things, combined, at the same time.


And, of course, a basic tendency within a large number of people in this country to actually be liberal. Maybe not the majority, certainly not all Liberal, but Nick's actually quite good at explaining a liberal case in a way that connects, was very impressed with his crime answers in the debate.

Or maybe I'm just being too optimistic. Again.
OK, when I talked about Labour getting wiped out in 2010 a couple years back, I was semi-joking and being deliberately provocative. Or maybe I was just being prescient. Email from YouGov:
Our latest daily polling figures for The Sun (fieldwork 15th-16th April) are:

* Conservative: 33%
* Liberal Democrat: 30%
* Labour: 28%
* Others: 9%

The Liberal Democrats have surged to 30% in the latest YouGov poll, which was conducted entirely after the leader's debate, pushing Labour down to third place.
I'll say that again:
pushing Labour down to third place
Even the Sun, who commissioned the poll, are being nice:
the most dramatic shift in support for the Lib Dems was from the young, with a massive 44 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds saying they would vote for Mr Clegg
(and there's more analysis on UK Polling Report).

But, so people are saying (morons) that the seat calculators say the LDs will still get crap because of the voting system. Well yes, that's true, the calculators do. Because the calculators are rough approximations based on uniform national swing effects.

Here's the thing. I live in a tight Labour/Tory marginal. On paper. When we decided on our campaign strategy, it was fairly easy. I went through the numbers, pointed out that Labour were dead in the water with a non-existent activist base, no local Govt presense and that we ought to be fighting to win. My PPC and agent were persuaded that this was at least a viable strategy; we're fighting the Tories for first place, Labour have Lost it in Calder Valley (that was my slogan, quite proud of it actually).

Yes, there are local issues, and the sheer uselessness of the eventual Labour candidate is helping, but it'd still be a good strategy even without their implosion.

Reality: persuade voters that Labour can't win and we can, we've won

So, according to the seat calculators, seats like mine fall Tory, or stay Labour. Reality is, as soon as we persuade local voters that Labour can't win and we can, we've won (happening already). It helps, of course, that we've an incredibly strong candidate.

Uniform swing calculators cannot, and will not, take into account the effect of a strong local campaign, or even the third party squeeze effect in reverse. Once Labour voters in an area are convinced their candidate can't win, some of them will switch to us to stop the Tory candidate. I don't want to live under a Tory MP, they sure as hell don't. This sort of effect is exactly what happened in Canada when their Tory Govt got eviscerated.

Extra added bonus? A bunch of notional Tory voters now are voting Tory just to stop Labour. Persuade them they don't need to worry? Even more swing to us.

This could be the game changing election

It's probably the most critical election since 1983. Only this time, those that want real change have learnt from the mistakes of last time, and will be pushing forward with a much stronger message.

Time to abandon those narrowly chosen target seat campaigns guys. Secondary seats that on previous polls were unlikely to fall are in much more need of support if we're actually going to take advantage of this massive boost.

Seats like Calder Valley. Where we're fighting to win from 3rd place. And if the opinion polls keep showing Labour in 3rd place? We'll take it easily. With a bit of extra cash.

I'm guessing we need to go sort out an online donation system.
Those of you enjoying this supposedly "glorious" weather? Spare a thought for those of us that just cannot function in this heat. At all.

Notwithstanding the photic sneeze reflex making going outside (and even driving) a little annoying, the massively high risk of skin cancer groups I'm in from both sides of my family, my brain just seizes up when it's this hot.

I moved to the North to get away from this sort of weather damnit!

European elections linkdump and ramble )

Coherence might happen tomorrow, if I a) get some sleep and b) have a good brain day.

Appeal, if you live in London, consider voting for Jonathan Fryer, he bought me beer and is thus a top bloke )

Sorry, I said my brain was fried, right?

In the meantime, [personal profile] miss_s_b dragged me to B&Q today so she could buy more plant pots and stuff to put in them. We got more basil, rocket, oregano and other useful stuff. She also bought a chilli plant. It's a chilli that'll burn your mouth off at 50 paces. It's sat next to her at her computer desk as it needs to be brought in at night.

She's called it George.

I'm doomed.
[1]Honest, it would be.
My daily digest of texts, tweets and status updates.
  • 14:51 is eating a rather full plate of food. Trying Sosmix for the first time, rather impressive, reminiscent of old Soya McCartney pre GM scare #
  • 23:43 why is Vine trying to be Snow? You're not Snow, be someone else, you're just looking crap. Oh, wait... #
  • 23:57 cringing at the horrible cartoon pic of Alix. Ow. #
  • 23:58 Wow, Luke really is annoying. I thought it was just malicious rumour. #
  • 00:12 Why is Boy George taking so long to state the obivous? Yes, we know you need to take councils to unseat the MP, it's basic strategy moron! #
  • 00:38 laughing at Jowell, she does not look happy at all. Then again, she's got nothing tobe happy about. #
  • 02:35 is giving up and going to bed. So far my prediction was roughly right, although fewer gains and fewer losses, weird. #

Microblogging using LoudTwitter and Twitter. [livejournal.com profile] matgb_twitter is there if you're mad enough.
Not got time to do a proper write up from Yorkshire, but this is disgraceful:
The Scotsman also explains the kind of "errors" on ballot sheets that caused them to be rejected. One of these was to only cast a vote for the regional list. Both the constituency and the regional votes were on the same ballot paper. Many of the small parties only put candidates up for the regional vote. If you wanted to support, say, the Green Party - or more or less any of the smaller parties - and couldn't bring yourself to vote for one of the larger parties in the constituency, then your vote would be declared void.
The whole point of an MMS system is to allow smaller parties to run a list to get top up MPs/AMs when they know they're not going to win a constituency. To penalise their voters completely because they only wanted to vote for 'their' party? Utterly, completely, wrong. Legal challenges are in the pipeline, if this is true, and I've no reason to doubt it's not, then the parties that lost out (Solidarity, the Greens and the SSP for the most part) should be screaming blue murder. Go read [livejournal.com profile] rhythmaning's post, then spread the link. This is Great fucking Britain, we don't do hanging chads, we don't disenfranchise people, every damn vote should be counted damnit!
Well, it's Scottish Palriament elections, and non-London local elections. As the Scots are using my favourite voting system for the locals (first time used in mainland Briatin that I know of), I may be staying up late. I may also post reactions and stuff as they come. Or I may just comment elsewhere. [livejournal.com profile] doctorvee will be liveblogging at his site and on his Twitter, and there are already a few reaction posts on my friends page. However, [livejournal.com profile] rythmaning has almost certainly the best election poster ever:

Well, the benefits of working my balls of at the moment is my brain is on overtime and when it wonders, it wonders good. I solved my biggest work problem of the week Friday while eating lunch, inspiration came to me and I went back to the office and solved multiple problems with a few button presses.

Thoughts on Weblogs and NotLittleEngland )

(and, given the way my PC is chugging, it really is about time I sorted my finances and got a better one, any typos in this post are due to my typing going faster than my display catching up half the time. I'm not a fast typist as far as I'm aware.)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Anarchist)

Hmmm.

May. 7th, 2005 10:08 pm
Well, I slept in today as well, to be expected really considering yesterday, but, well, I finally left the flat again at 4pm, went to buy the papers. For the first time in a long time I bought more than just my usual Independent. To be precise, I bought the Times, Guardian, FT and Torygraph as well. Skimmed them all so far (been reading weblogs all day, I really like The Snow in Summer and Europhobia), and The Times wins 'best map' award at first glance.

Another night in... )

New NiN, B5 DVDs )

Heavy bags, pointless newspaper supplements, the lads in GW )

Weblogs, the results, the winners are... )

Reith lectures, tomorrow's game )

There's also an x-net social at the Impy tomorrow evening, if the game finishes, I might go along. Might.
Bugger, forgot to change the 'posti to' bit, so this ended up in my journal as well (briefly); a bit on Electoral Reform, the spurious "no-platform" ideal and why last night is a good reason to change is written up here in [livejournal.com profile] ukpolitics.
Veritarse lost his deposit, and is refusing to speak to the BBC reporter, she's not very complementary about him on Radio 4.

And Sarah Teather stays in Brent East. Very very cool.
How on earth did we take that?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2005/html/396.stm
145 down the list of possible seats to take? Labour majority of over 30% in the last election?

Well done to John Leech.

Oh, and kudos to the Beeb website, which is great...
Above x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] ukpolitics

In more scary rather than good news, Nick Griffin took 9% of the vote in wherever he was standing for the BNP. What a weird night so far; there is no way to predict anything right now, very (very) weird.
Well, I've got radio 4 on, I'm switching between multiple websites and TV channels, and so far, nothing interesting has happened.

Exit polls give Labour a win on a reduced majority (we knew that), but beyond that it's inconclusive. Massive swings in the second/third place positions all over the place, fun fun.

Stragnest thing is that BBC TV is about a clause behind on the 'live' feeds thant Radio 4. Very weird to listen to while watching; anyone any idea why?

Well, junk food total is going up; I keep thinking about going to cook something but, well, that means not switching between multiple tabs...
Well, I booked of the three days surrounding election day as soon as it was announced. I meant to contact the Totnes candidate (Torbay is a shoe-in) and go off campaigning lots, I know I really enjoy campaigning. What have I done so far? Nothing. Today? Watched The Incredibles. Then I watched the commentary!

Just got back in from the shops; bought a pile of junk food to snack out on. Guess I'd better renew my TV licence tomorrow and re-tune the TVs; not going campaigning so I'll watch until dawn.

Unless there's another election addict in Devon that would enjoy my company until the small hours tomorrow night while the results come in?
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

Tee hee :-D

May. 1st, 2005 02:47 pm
http://kryogenix.org/code/conposter/index.php

From [livejournal.com profile] jonnynexus

Bunker was fun last night; I just got up. Odds of driving to Exeter very slim so I'll see people whenever.
In the meantime, I'm off to trawl the net and annoy some "true fans" of H2G2 who are still whinging about the changes. I might just quote Adams at them on the subject.
OK, after a lot of people commented, I ran a brief analysis of the thing. I wrote it up here on [livejournal.com profile] ukpolitics [ETA: Now copying and pasting in here below so I've got the analysis, 19/1/2008].

I've put a Tab Delimited Text file up on my storage site (for those not used to TDT files, open with a spreadsheet or database programme like excel, and re-display the columns. Excel filters then let you choose parties and their preferences).

Essentially, many of the policies chosen are popular (or are supposed to be) LibDem policies. But the Labour policies chosen are not that popular, and not what they're really campaigning on. UKIP gets its two main issues easily highlighted at the top (for those curious, if you put in a neutral result for the two Europe Qs, but are opposed to, for example, ID cards, you're likely to show a soft positive for UKIP. Tories also get a number of their headline policies.
More detailed analysis )
So, the test, while fun, is unlikely to show you as a Labour supporter, and is very likely, if you're on the "left" to show you as a LibDem; 3 of Labour's 7 positive areas are also LibDem areas.

Is this a problem? Not if, like me, you're actively out campaigning for the LibDems. But if you want an impartial way of finding out who you should go for, one that allows for choices on all policy issues should possibly be chosen.

Remainder of original post )
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

Oops...

Apr. 17th, 2005 05:53 pm
K, guess what I did Saturday? Yup, I slept. Problem with insomnia and a full time job is you still need to drag your carcass into work each morning during the week, no matter how little sleep you've had. Which means by the weekend you're exhausted, so you catch up on the sleep. Which means your body confirms its opinion that waking up at 2pm is the correct thing to do. And so the cycle perpetuates.

And so to today. My sister rings. Did you go shopping yesterday? What did you get Mum for her birthday?

Panic shopping as the shops close )

£75 in Tesco? I only went in for some bread and some milk... )

That's why I avoid shopping. I hate wondering around looking at things, I just want to grab and go. Which means I don't stop myself from grabbing stuff. I've been so close to buying a laptop just because it looks nice a few times too many recently...

Anyway, in election news, Kilroy has been caught out as a huge, vote rigging liar. Well, ok, it was an online poll on his own website. Read how the Orange Tanned One tried to rig his own poll/ Veritas=Truth? I think not.

Cuts inserted as I realised it was a little long...
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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