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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Just go and Vote!

Here we go then. Election day 2010 has arrived and the end of my twittering is in sight. Thank heavens most of you say.... and what will you do now that's over ? Well, like I said yesterday it'll be back to the tech. In the meantime let's try and sort out what has to be done today.

Job 1. Vote!! - Now I won't actually be doing this until about 7pm for various reasons, although I may visit the polling station which is just around the corner with daughter before she trots off to work. It's her first time, so she's in need of some moral support. I've not suggested to her who to vote for, that wouldn't be right, but she has asked who's doing what and I've pointed her at the literature and attempted to find the most unbiased guides wherever possible. If you have anyone else around you in a similar situation, I'd recommend the BBC's 1st time voters page, which really is pretty good.

Inevitably this leads to the question WHO should I vote for ? I've been round this loop plenty of times over the last 3 weeks and have made my decision. Overall I've never had an affiliation to any particular party. I have had agreements with bits and pieces of each of the major parties policies over the years and that has been mostly reflected by whichever government of the day we've had. But equally I've had disagreements with each of their policies from time to time as well.

But what happens when you don't agree? What can you do about it? How can your voice be heard? In the utopian democratic society that exists in our heads you'd like to think that you could speak to your MP and something would change. You'd like to think that your vote, for whichever party, counts for that party. You'd like to think that if your elected representative gets caught with his or her hand in the till, that you could have them removed from public office. Currently - none of these things are possible.

If you've read any of my other rants, you'll understand how disappointed I was with my local representative who chose to ignore me and my requests for his vote on the Digital Economy Bill. That's my personal evidence that my MP doesn't work for me.

If you understand the first past the post system then you'll know that in this country one person does not equal one vote (in fact in my constituency, 1 person equals 0.2 votes). In simple terms the problem is thus:

Here's a simple first-past-the-post election thanks to Auntie:

Seat 1Seat 2Seat 3Total votesSeats won
Party A13123282
Party B8715301
Party C91112320


Without looking at the "Total Votes" this all appears to be pretty fair. Seat 1 & 2 were won by Party A and seat 3 by Party B. But Party C received the most votes overall and didn't win any seats!! So the majority of the population have no representation. Clearly this makes no sense. Afghanistan, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States all use the "first past the post" system. You don't need my evidence, it's a mathematical fact that this system isn't fair.

Over the last year we've all seen how corrupt the MP's in the UK can be, thanks mostly to the work of the Daily Telegraph (which interestingly is an apparent Tory newspaper - go figure). The expenses scandal has really left parliament with not only egg on it's face, but the whole damn chicken farm! (and a duck house to boot!). And how many of those MP's are still in office?? Well, technically because an election has been called, none of them, but none of them did the decent thing and stepped down. They all weaselled and ummmed and erred and kept their jobs. Any other line of work and they'd have been out. We trust these people with OUR money and they've let us down. Can we de-elect them?? Nope! Should we be able to ?? Damn right we should!

These three points alone are the one's that have led me to my voting decision. The logic here is if the system isn't working in the first place (the foundations are wobbly) then how the hell can we expect to have a solid government based upon it? But make no mistake, I haven't made my decision lightly. I've actually read all 3 of the manifesto's. (you sad b*****d - Ed.) They all have pluses and minuses and the old adage "You can't please all the people all of the time" is true of each of them. But only one of them wants the reforms that we so clearly need, and once we have them then the peoples ability to fix the other bits becomes much stronger. That's who'll get my vote.

My Liberal Democrat candidate may not be the slickest man in the world, he may not have spent huge sums of money on glossy posters and leaflets and he may not have had an expensive education - But... he is a man of the people and as Gordon says "It's not about personality it's about policy" and as Dave says "Vote for change, not 5 more years of Gordon Brown". Fair enough - I think you're both right with what you say. He's been a local councillor for over 10 years so he knows how that works and he'll soon get the hang on London. He's not a leader, which is a good job, because he works for me, not the other way around. So that's why Jezzer gets my vote. Here he is:



I'll be off to the WTC after casting my vote and then I'm staying up until at least 4am (which is about when my constituency declares). Sensibly I'm staying in bed tomorrow, much like I'd expect Gordon to be doing, and I'd like (call me) Dave to do too. Of course with the FPP system I'm likely to be disappointed, but these are the rules that we live by in our so-called democracy.

NOW, GO AND VOTE!!!

....and I promise I won't mention it again..... unless we have a hung parliament have to re-start the entire process in a couple of months time.
 

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