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 )
Odds are good if you're reading my journal you're at least paying a little bit of attention to the US election campaigns currently still going. Not least because at the end of it all, the person elected gets control of enough nukes to blow up the world a few times, which is rarely the case in a foreign election. It's, um, a bit of a mess, n'est ce pas?

For those that don't normally pay much attention, the US candidate selection Primary system is usually over by now. Usually. Normally both sides have got a clear front runner and the others pull out in the name of "party unity". This year? No chance, both parties remain too close to call. The drawback of personality politics and directly elected executives, you can't just elect a local MP, you need a candidate your party is happy with. And if you have a country the size of a continent and 6 times more people than Britain, that takes just a little bit more time. So, y'know, I thought it was time to
  1. put on my psephologists head and
  2. laugh at the stupidity of the BBC pundits who're getting so much wrong.
So, the US has two parties. The Republicans are best described as a bit like the Cornerstone Tory "faith flag and family" brigade, only with more money and less sense. The Democrats are best described as Ken Clarke style one-nation Tories, with a little bit of New Labour dressing. Note the lack of British-style liberalism (US liberalism is, for the most part, not liberalism by any sane definition of the word) and complete absence of any sort of real social democrat. In other words, two lots of corporatist, money grabbing loons, with one side slightly less bad. Of course, those generalisations are based around those they elect—A lot of Democrat activists are nearly as liberal as me, and there are some sane republicans, including a fair few non-loonies. So, well, let's start with the Republicans.
The Republican nomination race )
The Democrat nomination race )

Summary

In the Republican race, the Christian/conservative vote was split, giving McCain a false lead, now that Romney has withdrawn they might just select a lunatic with no chance, which would be good. In the Democratic race, it's too close to call, and while Hillary may be a perfectly good Democrat, she's not my type of democrat, and she could lose to the non-lunatic that the Republicans may still elect. Obama is ahead, and gaining momentum, but the situation could change. Can we hope it won't?

Yes, we can...
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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