Ever thought about the influence geography has on the way you vote? You probably ought to, it's had a massive effect on me. Y'see, I grew up in the 80s and did my GCSEs and A Levels in the 90s. that's under Thatcher and Major. But that's not the main reason I distrust the Conservative party, nor the main reason I hate the Tories[1]. That can be explained by a very simple statement.

Anthony Steen was my MP. He's still the MP for my parents, both surviving grandparents, two aunts and four cousins. Yes, that Anthony Steen. For a very very simple reason to hate the git[2], have a listen to this[3]:
BBC flash embed of the audio of the interview. I can listen to this again and again and again, it makes me happy ) I've met him. He visited my school a few times when I was a kid, and I met him subsequently. He really is like that. That interview has effectively ended his fairly undistinguished career. The great shame is that he's been forced out, because despite him representing one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, his behaviour since re-election in 2005 has been, well, interesting, and I reckon he'd have lost without the most recent revelations. Here are some highlights:
A summary list of some of the more egregious idiocies he's managed )

So, there you go. Due to the nature of the first-past-the-post electoral system, if you have a git like that as your MP, if you want to get rid of him, you have to vote for the candidate most likely to beat him. If you get used to voting for that party time and time again because they're the best chance of beating the incumbent git, many people begin to consider themselves supporters specifically of that party.

In 1997, I voted in my first General Election, and specifically voted against Steen. It was a vote for the Lib Dem candidate, but also broadly a vote to get the bastard Tories out and replace them with Blair. I often wonder what, if any, my partisan allegiance would be if I grew up in a part of the world where the Lib Dems were a distant third and Labour were challenging the Tories. Let alone if I'd grown up in a safe Labour area where the Tories had no chance.

One of the stupidities of the UK system is that where you live matters a lot more than who you support. I think it's about time we changed that, how about you?

Footnotes )
So, today was the 2nd annual visit of the parents. They do a lot of weekends away, spent last weekend in Cheshire at an event and have an event next weekend in North Yorkshire, so they come to visit us today and tomorrow.

So we have an attack of planned vs actual.

So, about that late afternoon arrival time... )

My Mum orders a 'snack' lunch for us... )

A damn fine evening meal, only slightly spoiled by not having enough space left in our bellies... )

Tomorrow? We might go to Holmfirth. We might go to Wakefield for the National Sculpture Park (if only just to annoy Germaine "call me Professor" Greer). Don't know yet. I do know it requires us meeting my parents and the ungodly early hour of 10am. Wish us luck.
Righty ho landlubbers. After decamping to Bournemouth for a week, we've ended up down in Devon as a) it's just down the road and b) my cousin's getting married Saturday.

This is good, especially as it means I get to go see The Pyrates again. Yup, on International Talk like a Pirate day, my mates Tim and David have booked their band a gig (I last saw them just after I moved to London last year and enjoyed the night).

So, SB and I are planning to travel up to Exeter tomorrow (partially as there's a co-op branch to pay some cheques in), and Do Stuff, then decamp to the Firehouse to see folks in the evening.

If anyone fancies meeting up for lunch mid-afternoon snack and/or coming to t'pub with us in the evening, then just shout.

Oh, if anyone wants to walk us around the new(ish) bits of town and help me not get lost, that'd also be cool...
Guess I ought to try to write something every so often here, right? Reports of my existence may or may not have been exaggerated...

So, yeah. Annual happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] foxfirefey, and indeed to my cousin Gary, ten years to the day older than me and in hospital with serious cancer (this isn't new news to me, but we share a birthday so I think about him a bit).

Meh mood,  ) but some cool stuff )I've been hacking my layout again, S2 is easier... )

Friends list reduction cut thingy )

Still, gotta finish writing this, ten minutes to midnight so the day is almost over, and cake beckons...
So, we're safely in Devon. We've Done Stufftm.

Actually got out of the house and walked all the way to the beach via the Slapton Ley nature trail this morning, threw the ball for the dogs lots, walked back up the hill and made lunch (my Granny has managed to comment that a) I'm getting a bit fat and b) I need to eat more already, I love my Granny's food).

Then we went to the local pub, listed in the Good Beer guide (Jennie had looked it up) so we knew it would have something. We go in, there are four pumps all with local beers on, which is nice. Barmaid is serving someone at the other end of the bar so we're guessing what beer will be what.

Then the barmaid turns to serve us, and as we look at each other there's one of those moments of recognition.

Hadn't seen my Aunty Mo for at least 5 years, didn't know she worked at the pub 5 minutes walk from Granny's house.

Beer was bloody good too.

Then we went up to the village fete, where Granny was making creme teas (proper Devon fasion with the cream on the scone and jam on top, none of this butter malarky on a cream tea, let alone putting the fam on first--weird foreign types do that sort of thing).

After that we took a different walk, down to Deer Bridge and along what was the old stream where I learnt Pooh Sticks with Granddad, but is now reclaimed into marshland as part of the reserve. Rather nice overall.

Gotta go, Granny's made tea. Apparently the table is straining under the pressure.

No real time tor ead other entries, we're lucky to get a wireless connection at all, but thought it was worth an entry.
As of one hour, ten minutes ago as I type this, I officially became 32 years old. Do I care? Not really. Do I have any special plans? Well, I've got the week off, so, well, I'm meeting Mum for lunch tomorrow, and going to visit Granny Wednesday, which'll be cool, haven't been to Slapton for ages.
Lunch with the 'rents )
A walk though the village, a chat with Dad )
Shopping for books )
Gaming at Rob's )

Then home, to check messages, post this, catch up with some memes I've been storing up, then turn in.

Memes and quizzes

I did a mindmap. It's too wide to display properly for the 3-column layout, so here's the link. When I say "I did a mindmap", what I mean is I aske them for one and gave them my email address about 6 months ago, and got the reply last week. Meh, it's free, so de nada.


What Goth am I? )

West Wing Character )

New layout

Also? I switched to the new Expressive Vox theme layout. Huge advantage is that the html is very clean and everything has a nicely defined class, so I can style each element. A numpty like me has managed to personalise my journal fairly well. Nowhere near finished, but it works. Tag cloud, page summary, profile, all fairly good. I did go through and delete a huge pile of one-use only tags to make the cloud look almost respectable. Now all I need is to learn how to make banners look good. Or ask someone for one, want to use the same one for here, my MySpace and possibly the column at TaKtiX.
First, many thanks to everyone who said stuff, however, I think [livejournal.com profile] dainul says it best:
/me is slightly confused by the people congratulating you. I mean, I'd hope you didn't have a particularly direct role in the proceedings.
I did nothing, all I did was turn up at the hospital. It seems weird to be congratulated; I guess it's just something to say I guess.

Still, mother and baby fine, he's quiet and behaved so far, apparently, and she's quite happy on the morphine.
Got a message from my mother as I was parking the car ten minutes ago.

Jack Alexander has arrived, 7lb 9oz (why are babies always in measures I barely understand?). Am off to see my little sister in a few minutes.
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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October 2015

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Stuff and nonsense

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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