Tag: ge2010

Voting time

I was hoping to write something insightful for the election. Time (well, laziness) has meant I shall spew some random thoughts instead… After the election has happened.

Things that are important to me:

  • Civil Liberties, privacy, and certain fundamentals of justice not being messed with on a whim.
  • Reforming politics and government, in a slow and discussed manner (not Blair-boy’s ‘hey I’m so bored of a Lord Chancellor, lets scrape it…. who’s turn is it on the Playstation?’). I’m actually not convinced that an elected upper house is the answer, but if it is, it needs to avoid the mistakes of whips, parties, and short term thinking. PR must surely be a better system than first past the post.
  • This includes a discussion on where we want discussions to be made, nationally or locally, etc. But this requires a public which understands that ‘local decisions by local people’ and ‘post code lottery’ are one and the same (which is used depends if the newspaper agrees with it or not).
  • A Strong economy, which encourages small businesses (but with fair rules to protect and give employees rights… they are not all ‘pointless red tape’)
  • A strong economy includes a strong financial sector. But carefully regulated to protect citizens from their mistakes and excess.
  • A strong safety net for those (and there are many) who need it, whether it be age, ill health, disability, hard times or bad luck.
  • Review of copyright and libel so they are fit for the 21st century.
  • Strong planning laws to ensure we have a quality built-environment. but with progressive and new ideas (such as shared space streets, like the excellent New Street in Brighton). Quality public buildings and spaces (such as St Pancras Station and Wembley Stadium) are important.
  • Education. I don’t have any answers but it needs to get better. Teachers need to be given space to teach, but in return they need to be good (not all are fit for the job). Endless government schemes don’t help, but nor do unions which seem to be simply against change.
  • Ideas along the lines of ‘some people misuse X, therefore lets stop – and stigmatise X’ are generally a bad idea. Examples of X are ‘benefits’ and ‘not being married (and have kids)’.
  • High speed trains are needed, to discourage air/car use, and to let people travel with ease, and to help move away from a economy focused around London.While Air/Road use should not be promoted, and in the long run other ways of living/working should be nurtured to avoid the need for travel, there is a need for some road improvements and probably (I regret) an extra runway in the South East England in the decade or so.
  • We need an enlightened immigration policy. Though we all acknowledge open borders are not suitable for this small country (I am genuinely at a loss why people manage to illegally enter the Schengen Zone – in say Italy or Eastern Europe – and then rather head for prosperous Germany or beautiful France risk their lives on the bottom of a train trying to get in to the grey UK!), we do not want to be a place where others can not come to work, or escape from prosecution. Students and educated workers bring so much benefit to this country.
  • ‘Heath and Safety gone mad’ is the refrain from the right of politics, and those who dislike the state interfering with their lives. This is easy to dismiss as the usual vile of a Daily Mail reader. Though there is argument that some things need to be rolled back. If people do really stupid things then that is their fault (obvious exceptions for children and those with learning difficulties). Vicarious responsibility can be a problem. Of course much Health and Safety law and practice is there for good reason but there are areas that need to be reviewed.
  • Working together with other European countries makes sense, we have a lot in common, shared values, and common standards benefit us all. But there are areas of the EU which seem wasteful, undemocratic, unaccountable, etc. And these need to be addressed. There needs to be clear lines of what and where the EU can legislate on.
  • Universities can be great for bringing in high tech companies, knowledge workers, and driving a SciTech, Medical, Creative industries economy. I’m not saying the tax payer should foot 100% of their bill, but cut backs have long term negative effects on a country.

This is not a full list, but just some of the ideas that came to mind. Feel free to comment.

Nick Clegg’s Fault. Beware the REAL Nasty.

Tonight is the second party leaders debate. As most in the UK know, Nick Clegg came out of the last one well, using a underhand tactic of using intelligence and good sense to answer the questions. #iagreewithnick immediately became a twitter trending topic.

The upshot of this is that the Lib Dems now have the slight chance that they will come a respectable third in the forthcoming election, instead of just a distant third. Obviously this is a matter of national emergency.

Luckily we have the great British press here to give an impartial view from the side. Especially so close to a general election. They speak the voice of the people. And act as the fourth pillar of democracy.

So on this important day, as the leaders take to the TV studio once again, with the sure knowledge the leaders of the two main parties are well primed in to stop this ‘Nick thing’, the papers are taking a reflective approach…

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We start with the Express. They tackle the emergency by having the lead story, and the two main News stories dedicated to the serious issue at hand.

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The Sun too decides the Nick of Doom is worth the lead story. They also manage to fit in the time of the debate, a welcome bit of advertising for which ever TV channel is doing it tonight (some company called Sky maybe, they’ll love the free advertising from these editorially independent chaps!).

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The Telegraph goes for a modest ‘only the lead story’ approach. No. hang on, what’s that on the bottom right there, I see Andrew Gilligan, everyone’s favourite Liberal-left columnist does some important research. And who could have foreseen the timing!

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Finally we have the Mail. Actually it looks quite tame for them. Just four articles, well, actually the FIRST four articles on their site, 222 comments and some video. They avoided any sort of emotionally charged piece by bringing up the Nazis and Hitler (but remember he wasn’t all bad).

But then I found a few more, in a novel idea of having more articles further down the page (who’d thought).

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1267921/GENERAL-ELECTION-2010-Nick-Clegg-Nazi-slur-Britain.html

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1267912/General-Election-2010-Liberal-Democrats-dirty-tricks-real-nasty-party.html

Lib Dems were the evil ones all along. Who Knew????

It’s like the fairground manager from Scooby-Doo all over again.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1267873/GENERAL-ELECTION-2010-Nick-Clegg-received-donations-directly-bank-account.html

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1267835/General-Election-2010-Lib-Dem-MPs-told-milk-expenses-leaks-reveal.html

That man on the right looks dodgy (and by dodgy I mean Working Class, obviously). God, can you imagine if the whole of parliament was fiddling their expenses.

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http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2010/04/how-to-hang-a-parliament.html

In fairness (members of the press, click here to help sort out your confusion), this is just about a Hung Parliament rather than how evil Nick is.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1267839/How-Nick-Clegg-prepared-TV-debate-Sky-presenter-tells-talk-public-like-year-olds.html

No wonder the public like him. He talks to them like they are idiots. Which of course they are!

So that’s six articles from the Mail, all published today, 22nd (except the blog post, posted yesterday).

It’s not just the press who are alerted to his evils. Twitter too has done its bit: http://www.twapperkeeper.com/hashtag/nickcleggsfault

Finally. Serious bit… If you want decent news about the UK (or, for you crazy liberals, the rest of the world). Subscribe to The Economist, and also read the New York Times Europe section. Maybe we could have papers like that.