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 )
I guess an advantage of moving to a new area is not knowing exactly how your MP will react. My old one was Adrian, who I trusted before I got to know him and I got involved in party politics again, but my new one? She's one of the Labour "awkward squad", but I never know on what issue she's going to rebel. Problem of course being that Gordon Brown is to order Labour MPs to back a controversial plan to exempt details of MPs' expenses from the Freedom of Information Act. And she's been absent for most previous votes on this issue.

She first was elected in 1997, and the Freedom of Information Act was, to me, a crucial part of the Labour 1997 manifesto. While there is a lot of overblown hype about MPs expense claims, there has been some corruption, and there are some stupidities; I agree completely with Jennie when she says stuff like You pay peanuts, and you get Hazel Blears. And Derek Conway, frantically defrauding the expenses system. Lets at least pay bananas and get apes ;) or:
I am one of those rare people who thinks that MPs should be paid a lot more than they currently are for basic salary - on the grounds that if we want the best people to represent us, we should pay the sort of wages that will attract the best - but I also think that people HUGELY resent the fact that MPs get to claim expenses for the sort of things that normal people have to buy from their own wage.
ETA: Brown has backed down. Good. [livejournal.com profile] caramel_betty thinks Whips tell Brown rebellion will be BIG. No, bigger than BIG. HUGEMONGANTIC. Still worth writing to them, they'll try and do something else. Rest of original entry below:

Letter to my MP about the vote in Parliament tomorrow )

If you live in the UK, take 5 minutes of your time

Use the easy tool with links and info that MySociety have created and contact your MP asking them to vote against this measure.
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


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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