Jennie links today to an article on the OpenDemocracy website about the BBC coverage of NHS reforms. I'm afraid I didn't finish reading it. I generally have a little rule, if I'm reading something that claims to be factual and come across something that's egregiously annd blatantly false, I find it hard to take anything else it says seriously, if it gets something wrong that I know to be wrong, how many other things wrong are there that I don't know about?

If the article is headlined two years of censorship and distortion , then I expect it itself to not distort facts. That's fair, right? So, here's the the first substantive point the article makes:
1) Legitimacy – the bill no one voted for

In the run up to the 2010 general election, David Cameron frequently pledged that under a Conservative government there would be “no more top-down re-organisations” of the NHS.
Note, no citation there; he only actually said that once that I'm aware of, in a speech (a long time before the election as well). But how many times have you heard politicians and activists and campaigners opposed to NHS reform parrot that line out?

It's a lie. It's not true. Anyone saying it is either willfully distorting the facts or hasn't bothered to check them.

Y'see, Page 45 through 47 of the Tory 2010 manifestopdf includes such things as
We have a reform plan to make the changes the NH S needs. We will decentralise power, so that patients have a real choice.
...
We need to allow patients to choose the best care available, giving healthcare providers the incentives they need to drive up quality.
So we will give every patient the power to
choose any healthcare provider that meets NH S
standards, within NH S prices. This includes
independent, voluntary and community sector
providers.
...
We will strengthen the power of GPs as
patients’ expert guides through the health
system by:
• giving them the power to hold patients’
budgets and commission care on their behalf;
• linking their pay to the quality of their
results; and,
• putting them in charge of commissioning
local health services.
Centrepeice of the manifesto. Couldn't be clearer. That article starts with a lie, and then builds on it, therefore I gave up.

Saying "I disagree wtih this" is fine, in 2010 I was out there campaigning heavily against them, but saying "no one voted for it" is a blatant lie. 44% of voters in my constituency voted for a candidate backing these reforms. 39% did nationally.

The Big Lie is beginning to spring to mind about this one.

Wouldn't it be nice if the opponents of measures would actually argue their case? Y'see, I don't know what to think about the Govts NHS reforms, but when those opposed spend more time lying about them, distorting facts, scaring people, and similar than they do actually addressing the substantive issues, it doesn't make me think they've actually got valid arguments. If they did, why lie all the time?

How about you?
Clegg's speech at conference includes the line
A new economy that works for families. Where men and women can choose how to balance work and home. That’s why Liberal Democrats are bringing in shared parental leave and more flexible working.
This is a very cheering thing to see. I knew it was likely on the cards and was being worked on, but actually having it confirmed in the Deputy Prime Minister's conference speech is a very cool thing.

Because, basically, it's my idea and policy. It wasn't just me, but when I first took Jennie to conference she stewarded a consultancy session and suggested it to the policy working group that included people who're now ministers. At her next conference when she was a fully accredited voting rep, it was in the policy paper that working group created out of the consultations. Jennie swears it wasn't just her talking about it, but I wasn't there & I know she did propose it.

But we'd been talking about it at home in advance as it was something I felt would be very helpful, not just for our family arrangements but also to help solve ongoing disparities. Scarily? I first started thinking about it after Tim Worstall convinced me maternity leave was a big contributor to the gender pay gap issue, both directly and through covert discrimination. So, there we go. A flagship policy that grew out of a conversation I had online with a former UKIP press officer and candidate...
This pretty much sums up the reactions of large swathes of talking head commentators over the last week:



When I look back to what I've read about previous riots in London over the centuries, when I look at corruption scandals or financial collapses, it really does put into perspective how lucky we are and have been.

I mean, seriously, riots across all of London, no one very few killed[1] and the London murder rate actually goes down?. Total deaths nationally five, including three men run down by a car.

The bankers are finally brought down, not by deliberate deceit, not by active fraud or theft, but by incompetence and optimism.

Parliament is brought into disrepute in a corruption scandal. What over? A few grand on a duck house, a few grand over claimed on a mortgage, etc. Compare that to many other countries today? Compare that to corruption scandals in the past in the UK?

Moral decay? We've never had it so good.

Scary, isn't it?

ETA: Apparently there's been a death in Ealing that I had overlooked, the post is amended to reflect that.
Today has not been a good day. I spent most of the afternoon and early evening at the count, watching friends lose their seats or not gain them, then watched ballot papers get piled higher and higher in the "No" slot, and then had to clear a big pile of potentially spoilt ballots, which overwhelmingly meant me saying "yup, that person clearly meant to vote No" a lot more than the other way around.

So tonight, I'm watching Victoria Coren on Have I Got News For You (not a single guest I can't stand, this is a step up) and looking for things that make me laugh. This is doing the rounds:

golf club rules list

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] webofevil, reposted by [personal profile] andrewducker and [personal profile] theweaselking. It's apparently very genuine.

Any and all links to funny, irreverent stuff that have nothing to do with politics, especially not the bloody awful AV referendum, very very gratefully received. As long as it's not LOLcats.
One suspects C. P. Scott would be annoyed with the sub editor who wrote this headline:

Liberal Democrats to fight next election as totally independent party

What's next from the supposed bastion of liberal journalism? Pope confirms Catholicism? Bear faeces found in woodland? Hazel Blears is short?

Note to journalists: In Australia, the Coalition parties have maintained separate identities and run independently despite governing together for the best part of the last century. In the UK, the last Liberal National / Conservative coalition effectively started in 1931, they agreed an electoral pact in 1947, and the Nationals eventually gave up and formally merged into the Conservatives in 1968. That was 37 years, not 6 months.

So in the incredibly unlikely event that history tries to repeat itself, it'll take 3 decades of perpetual coalition. I don't think that's at all likely myself.

Ye gods, they call themselves a quality newspaper?
I'm a liberal. I don't like banning things. I'm an environmentalist, I think destroying the planet is a Bad Thing, and am fairly convinced by the science on climate change. But, as is always the case, liberalism wins out. Banning traditional lightbulbs is a bad idea.

Sometimes, they're the most efficient method of both heating and lighting something; lava lamps my be kitsch decorative junk not to everyone's taste, but there's no reason to ban them. Snake and reptile housings also benefit from a combine light/heat source, etc. Sometimes, they're simply a very cheap alternative, and when you're living on very little money at all, and generally don't use lights that much but need to have them, they're an acceptable option.

The answer, therefore, is not to ban them. The liberal answer is to apply a pigouvian tax on them. You can even, if you like, apply a pigouvian subsidy on the much more expensive, complex and hard to dispose of safely "environmentally friendly" bulbs containing mercury and other expensive poisons to make them cheaper. But banning something? It's just asking for trouble:

German heatball wheeze outwits EU light bulb ban | Reuters (via)
Rotthaeuser has pledged to donate 30 cents of every heatball sold to saving the rainforest, which the 49-year-old sees as a better way of protecting the environment than investing in energy-saving lamps, which contain toxic mercury.
I think Herr Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law deserve a little bit of praise for their Heatball project. And they're not even breaking the law, just showing it up as the futility it is.
Words fail me. Remember the creationist 'zoo farm' that Debi and I wrote about a few years back?

They've won an education award , specifically a "Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge" awarded by the Government backed Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

A Government backed charity has issued an accreditation award to a science denying establishment that's been heavily criticised in the past for its animal welfare standards, and that links heavily to www.earthhistory.org.uk, a site seeking to rewrite the science to justify young-earth creationism. They seem to want to blame Darwin for Mao, Hitler and Stalin (SRSLY).

The front page of the Learning Outside the Classroom site currently says:
A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy. All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise. To view the new Department for Education website, please go to http://www.education.gov.uk
Is dealing with this crap within Sarah's remit?

FYI: All links to earth history and the zoo farm itself have rel="nofollow" added, I avoid using that too often, but there's no way I want to give them any link credit at all.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] davegodfrey has applied actual science to some of their claims.
So, Boy George did his first budget yesterday, and it was nasty. But I somehow suspect the nastiness was inevitable, and it was a lot less nasty than it would've been if it'd been a Tory-only administration. Labour have decided to spend their political capital attacking the Lib Dem junior partners for the nasty, instead of the senior party, and there's no sign whatsoever from them of what they'd do instead.

I agree, completely, with Sunny on this one, their attacks are misplaced. One of the leadership candidates, currently rated as "second least awful" on my scale, has even set up a tool to email the LD leadership. Because apparently ameliorating the Tories and getting clear committments to help the lowest paid through increased tax credits and personal alloances, while increasing taxes on the wealthy through increased CGT is something we should be ashamed of. So, he wants to recruit former Lib Dems, and wants us to email the leadership. Using his tool, here's what I send:
Email to Clegg and Hughes )
Do I like the VAT increase? No. Do I like the cuts in some benefits? No. Do I like that spending cuts were inevitable and would have to happen this year or next regardless of who was in power? No. Do I like that they've ring-fenced the NHS budget so waste there isn't being hit, meaning spending elsewhere will have to fall further? No.

Have Labour said what they would've done instead? No. If the LDs weren't in coalition, would the Tories have even considered raising the personal allowance, increasing tax credits to the lowest incomes, pegging pensions back to earnings, increasing Capital Gains Tax? No.

I've voted Labour in the past. At the next election, odds are very good I'll have a second preference to allocate as well. Dear Labourites, it would be nice to have a choice as to where I'll put my second choice, currently, you're not giving me one. Wake up, FFS.
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.

OK, for those under a brick, headline news most of the last week has been the argument between the two Labservative parties over the planned National Insurance increase. It's dull and longwinded; palpably obviously, no one commenting on it in the media seems to actually understand it at all. Boy George Gideon Osborne doesn't.

I suspect Darling does, but is keeping schtum for political reasons, and I'm pretty sure Vince is doing the same. Why would they both do this? Y'see, unless my understanding of economics generally is completely off base (and I've been trying to do a lot of understanding of economics over the last 5 years), increasing National Insurance does cost jobs. Channel 4 FactCheck certainly think so. Here's why:

It's all about Tax Incidence and Marginal Costs )
It's not about the overall tax bill )
Tax incidence: who pays )
Note that when Vince has attacked the Tories on this, he's not argued with them too much over the NI stuff; he's argued with them over how they're going to pay for it; he's right to say that the money they're using is pretty much fictional, from what I can tell.

The "a price worth paying" argument

What the Govt could, and perhaps should, be doing is actually admitting that there will be a small decrease in the rate of fall of unemployment (which is basically what the above means), but that the greater economic stability makes us all better off medium term, etc etc etc. Y'know, the "a price worth paying" argument. Except that doesn't tend to go down well with the Trades Unions, who, well, are bankrolling their election campaign.

And I'm not sure, myself, that it is a price worth paying, there are better ways of raising money; capital gains tax taper relief anyone?

Isn't politics fun?

Oh, wait, no, this is several billions pounds of national debt and about 100,000 jobs we're talking about here. Not really fun at all.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

Why vote?

Apr. 7th, 2010 02:13 am
Assertion: Turnout is affected by the likelihood your vote will make a difference and the amount of campaigning the parties are doing in the area.

In areas that are considered to be "safe", a) voters are less likely to be interested and b) parties are less likely to run competetive campaigns, targetting resources and activists on marginal seats they may gain or lose.
Electoral Reform Society: Election already over in nearly 400 seats:
The Society has listed 382 seats which are ‘Super Safe’ in that they will not change hands even with a landslide on any conceivable scale. The Society points out, however, that there are many more seats where the outcome is a very safe bet, even if an upset is not beyond probability.
It is my belief that turnout is likely to go up, overall, in this election as it's the first election since 1992 where the overall result is not a foregone conclusion.

But for residents of 382 seats out of 650, the local result is already a foregone conclusion. There's a spreadsheet on the site to download; if you live in one of the seats listed, and you're not sure you want to vote, make sure you're registered to vote. Go to the polling station.

Don't put an X in the box.

Write "No Safe Seats; make my vote count" on the ballot paper.

Why should you do this? Because at an election, the returning officer must get the agreement of a representative of each candidate before a ballot can be rejected. Your already selected future MP will get to know how frustrated you are.

Prediction: after the election, if it's as close as it is now, a large number of Conservatives will complain that they were robbed and that Labour got more seats than they deserved, or words to that effect; you already see this with the "we won the votes in England" meme. What they don't take into account is that the 'safe' Labour seats are very very safe. Turnout is incredibly low in many of them; that doesn't necessarily indicate disaffection, it just indicates that there's no point in going to the polling station when you know the MPs won already. Labour seats see a much stronger falloff in turnout than Conservative seats, Lib Dem seats are in the middle.

The Conservative party says they like the voting system as is, rotten boroughs, safe seats, differential turnout and all.

It's a damn shame that they've never bothered to try and understand it.
Why is it, when you've got loads of stuff to do, there's loads of interest in the news and on t'telly, that your body throws a stinking headcold at you that doesn't affect your physical abilities at all but completely messes up your brain's ability to think?

I'm trying to put the finishing touches to a blog redesign for a friend who's actually going to pay me good, solid money. Can I concentrate on it for long enough to actually, y'know, type a line of code?

Can I buggery.

The Prime Minister has finally gone and called the General Election, so it's 4 weeks and 2 days until we all get to go to the polls (or not, according to preference), and after that the really interesting stuff starts. Can I get my head into the right space to write about it? Dinnae be daft.

I'm the election agent for three local council candidates as well as having my own campaign to run in the 4th local seat. Spent the best part of yesterday out delivering, have a new leaflet to write and send to the organiser. Except my brain won't concentrate for long enough. On top of that I have loads of volunteers to help organise (seriously, we've got more local volunteers than the Tories have, how cool is that?), but I can't even type their email addresses properly.

Still, at least I've managed to write a post for t'blog. There's a reasonable chance that this may continue. There's also a good chance I'll keep using Twitter a lot over the next few weeks; I've got a new phone with a decent internet access y'see.

So, anyone want to come to Yorkshire and help me get my brain working?
K, looks like I kinda forgot to update for awhile. Oops. You know what that means right? A backlog of silly, informative, thinkworthy or merely funny links. In no particular order:

Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around "as high as a kite". Sounds fun to me. Street View solves Dutch mugging. See? Useful. Random chance, but still useful.

Next up, researchers do study that finds obvious finding. Except it's not obvious, because if it were, you wouldn't still have idiot politicians the world over trying to pretend the exact opposite is true :-( Professor Kelly Musick and Dr Ann Meier of Cornell University have carried out a study of children whose parents stay together for the sake of the kids: ( more explanation with longer quote ) What matters is the quality of the parenting and the attitude they inculcate to opportunity, not whether they pretend to be happy for the kids sake.

Neologism of the Day—Huxleyed:

To have died with a degree of fame or notoriety that would have guaranteed extensive media coverage, save for the death of someone even more famous or notorious immediately afterwards. From Aldous Huxley, who died an hour before President Kennedy was assassinated. Usage: "Farrah Fawcett was completely Huxleyed by Michael Jackson."

And on that subject, this comic is particularly apposite:
( 'A famous person has died, we go live to somewhere tangentially related' )

One of my favourite authors is, as many of you know, Charles Stross, also known as [info - personal]autopope, he's up for the Hugos, again, this year, and has been writing an auto-biographical series of blog posts for the last week or so that I've been meaning to link to as they are, frankly, quite funny, and also count as a nice little rundown of the history of how the web came to be—you can blame the need for a robots.txt file on him, and his time working for a Demon subcontractor where part of my official job description was to keep Danny the tomcat from pissing on the modem rack is also amusing.

This is really cool to know, assuming that they're on the button: All of Earth's people, according to a new analysis of the genomes of 53 populations, fall into just three genetic groups. Unlike in many other species, we have multiple possible mutations that could make us, for example, short, and populations famous for small stature, like pygmies, simply have a large number of them instead of one specific key change. Same applies to things like the ability to tolerate cows milk.

Now, simple little question, how many colours are there in the following pattern (via):
( Spiral image pattern with clever optical illusion )
Yup, that's right, there are ( look at the image first damnit! ) colours there, funny how our mind tricks us by filling in assumed blanks, full explanation at Bad Astronomy.

Not sure about this one: science explains why Yorkshiremen like pies so much. Um, I like pies, and I only moved up here 18 months ago (SRSLY, a whole 18 months). Shame that decent non-meat pies are a pain to get hold of. Still, really happy about this one: Alastair Reynolds scores unprecedented 10-year, 10-book deal from Gollancz for his 'mean line in alien cultures and technology'. Completely different writing style to Charlie, but one I also really like, and it's nice to see grand sweeping plots with a background that seems to make sense. In 'so obvious now you think of it' mode, I concur with [livejournal.com profile] rhodri, I really hope that the designer of The folding plug makes lots and lots of money, especially the multi-plug adapter design. I wants them I does...

Slightly more seriously, [info - staff]denise got interviewed for American NPR, and it's another case of stating the obvious until people listen—social networks that try to make money from ad revenue are going to be in trouble, much better to provide a service people actually want (in DW's case, damn fine blog hosting with a good feed aggregation service bolted on) and charge users for it in some way. By the way, no link for this one, Livejournal is soon going to allow people to host their own adverts on a revenue-sharing model; I personally have less of a problem with this than the way they're plastered all over the dormant basic accounts now, but some of you might like to know...

On the subject of blogging, one of its principle strengths has always been what's called "the long tail"—( defined )this tail is getting a lot shorter. Charles Arthur at The Guardian explains why. ( I mostly agree )

Back to silliness. The US economy was too reliant on crap made by General Motors. Have a look at this: Ten Vehicles That Bankrupted GM. Seriously, these things sold? Ouch.

Now, it can't have escaped the notice of most of you that have met me that my wardrobe is, shall we say, a little bit monochrome. [livejournal.com profile] susannah_banana claims I'm not a goth because I'm not goth enough. She's one of the DJs at one of the top goth nights in the UK, but she's wrong, here's why: About Goth [stereo] Types - All Types. I am #19, and I claim my £5. (created by [livejournal.com profile] sinju, a now defunct journal that was very very cool while she was still documenting her time in Japan).

WANT

More sciency stuff: Flourescent lightbulbs are not the saviour they're being sold as and incandescents have still got some light in them yet. Personally, I can't stand reading by the horribly light they output (we use candles by the bed) and they set of my photic sneeze reflex something chronic.

BASTARDS

One of the best uses of animation within a webcomic I've seen, very cleverly done.

Royal British Legion to Nick Griffin MEP, leader of the BNP: Stop it, Mr Griffin. Just stop it. First rule of politics: don't piss off the veterans association.

OK, that's loads. I've cut the images and longer explanations, but left the rest open for easy clicking—if I do a post this long again is that still the best plan?
Original post on Dreamwidth, I prefer to keep all the comments there, if you have trouble using OpenID let me know, it's still in beta and subject to improvement.
K, looks like I kinda forgot to update for awhile. Oops. You know what that means right? A backlog of silly, informative, thinkworthy or merely funny links. In no particular order:

Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around "as high as a kite". Sounds fun to me. Street View solves Dutch mugging. See? Useful. Random chance, but still useful.

Next up, researchers do study that finds obvious finding. Except it's not obvious, because if it were, you wouldn't still have idiot politicians the world over trying to pretend the exact opposite is true :-( Professor Kelly Musick and Dr Ann Meier of Cornell University have carried out a study of children whose parents stay together for the sake of the kids: more explanation with longer quote ) What matters is the quality of the parenting and the attitude they inculcate to opportunity, not whether they pretend to be happy for the kids sake.

Neologism of the Day—Huxleyed:

To have died with a degree of fame or notoriety that would have guaranteed extensive media coverage, save for the death of someone even more famous or notorious immediately afterwards. From Aldous Huxley, who died an hour before President Kennedy was assassinated. Usage: "Farrah Fawcett was completely Huxleyed by Michael Jackson."

And on that subject, this comic is particularly apposite:
'A famous person has died, we go live to somewhere tangentially related' )

One of my favourite authors is, as many of you know, Charles Stross, also known as [personal profile] autopope, he's up for the Hugos, again, this year, and has been writing an auto-biographical series of blog posts for the last week or so that I've been meaning to link to as they are, frankly, quite funny, and also count as a nice little rundown of the history of how the web came to be—you can blame the need for a robots.txt file on him, and his time working for a Demon subcontractor where part of my official job description was to keep Danny the tomcat from pissing on the modem rack is also amusing.

This is really cool to know, assuming that they're on the button: All of Earth's people, according to a new analysis of the genomes of 53 populations, fall into just three genetic groups. Unlike in many other species, we have multiple possible mutations that could make us, for example, short, and populations famous for small stature, like pygmies, simply have a large number of them instead of one specific key change. Same applies to things like the ability to tolerate cows milk.

Now, simple little question, how many colours are there in the following pattern (via):
Spiral image pattern with clever optical illusion )
Yup, that's right, there are look at the image first damnit! ) colours there, funny how our mind tricks us by filling in assumed blanks, full explanation at Bad Astronomy.

Not sure about this one: science explains why Yorkshiremen like pies so much. Um, I like pies, and I only moved up here 18 months ago (SRSLY, a whole 18 months). Shame that decent non-meat pies are a pain to get hold of. Still, really happy about this one: Alastair Reynolds scores unprecedented 10-year, 10-book deal from Gollancz for his 'mean line in alien cultures and technology'. Completely different writing style to Charlie, but one I also really like, and it's nice to see grand sweeping plots with a background that seems to make sense. In 'so obvious now you think of it' mode, I concur with [livejournal.com profile] rhodri, I really hope that the designer of The folding plug makes lots and lots of money, especially the multi-plug adapter design. I wants them I does...

Slightly more seriously, [staff profile] denise got interviewed for American NPR, and it's another case of stating the obvious until people listen—social networks that try to make money from ad revenue are going to be in trouble, much better to provide a service people actually want (in DW's case, damn fine blog hosting with a good feed aggregation service bolted on) and charge users for it in some way. By the way, no link for this one, Livejournal is soon going to allow people to host their own adverts on a revenue-sharing model; I personally have less of a problem with this than the way they're plastered all over the dormant basic accounts now, but some of you might like to know...

On the subject of blogging, one of its principle strengths has always been what's called "the long tail"—defined )this tail is getting a lot shorter. Charles Arthur at The Guardian explains why. I mostly agree )

Back to silliness. The US economy was too reliant on crap made by General Motors. Have a look at this: Ten Vehicles That Bankrupted GM. Seriously, these things sold? Ouch.

Now, it can't have escaped the notice of most of you that have met me that my wardrobe is, shall we say, a little bit monochrome. [livejournal.com profile] susannah_banana claims I'm not a goth because I'm not goth enough. She's one of the DJs at one of the top goth nights in the UK, but she's wrong, here's why: About Goth [stereo] Types - All Types. I am #19, and I claim my £5. (created by [livejournal.com profile] sinju, a now defunct journal that was very very cool while she was still documenting her time in Japan).

WANT

More sciency stuff: Flourescent lightbulbs are not the saviour they're being sold as and incandescents have still got some light in them yet. Personally, I can't stand reading by the horribly light they output (we use candles by the bed) and they set of my photic sneeze reflex something chronic.

BASTARDS

One of the best uses of animation within a webcomic I've seen, very cleverly done.

Royal British Legion to Nick Griffin MEP, leader of the BNP: Stop it, Mr Griffin. Just stop it. First rule of politics: don't piss off the veterans association.

OK, that's loads. I've cut the images and longer explanations, but left the rest open for easy clicking—if I do a post this long again is that still the best plan?

ETA: I'm getting a massive pile of spam comments on this specific entry, all in Japanese script from what I can see, so I've set anonymous comments to be screened and turned off notification emails, if you want my attention for this post email me directly?
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.
A nice little mix of stuff in this lot, though the politics averse amongst you should be warned that with elections next week there's a fair bit on that, though not much of it is serious. Posted to both LJ and DW with comments open for technical reasons that I can't be arsed to fix, LJ version: Europe, books, maps and snails—MOAR linkspam
A nice little mix of stuff in this lot, though the politics averse amongst you should be warned that with elections next week there's a fair bit on that, though not much of it is serious. Also posted to DW with comments open, linkspams don't crosspost easily due to limitations at Delicious.
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 )
Daily collection of links and thoughts that weren't worth a whole post.

  • 12:56 Just took over from @johnbm from telling in the #skircoat by-election #
  • 13:48 My Tory teller colleague has been replaced by a certain Cllr Keith Watson. He who defected from us just after reelection. #skircoat #
  • 16:12 Telling at a different station, just took a number from a girl who looked about 12. i'm getting old. #skircoat #
  • 20:14 Been out knocking up in the most confused set of back terraces ever. Now back telling for the last shift, then home. #skircoat #
We lost by 118 votes out of over 3000 cast. Ah well, was a good showing and we can build on that once the Independents are out o the picture, I'll put more on Halifax Lib Dems later.
Microblogging using LoudTwitter and Twitter. [livejournal.com profile] matgb_twitter is there if you're mad enough. Hopefully I've fixed the recursion problem, and if you'd rather this was cut, then editing your LJ code to do so is easy.
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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