Council Elections Voter Backlash!!!

So last Thursday in the UK we had our local council elections. This marked the first election test for the main parties since the Brexit deadline was missed in March.
First thing to say about this was that the turnout was only slightly below what is the norm for local elections in this country, so not the stay at home protest most were suspecting.
Secondly it is worth noting that there were no elections taking place in Scotland or Wales so we are unable to judge the mood of the electorate in those two countries.
Thirdly and something I do consider to be a very important point is that historically the UK electorate has used local and European elections to show their disdain for the largest two parties in parliament. The ‘protest vote’ seems to be felt most keenly when these two elections come round.
Finally historically we do tend to see the party in power loosing seats during these elections, in a very similar way that mid term elections in the USA can see the party of the President loose seats in either the Senate or Congress. So the fact the party of power loss seats in this election should not be seen as entirely surprising (although the amount lost by the Tories is perhaps more significant).

Okay so might be worth at this point showing what the actual result are:

Conservatives lost 1335 Council seats
Labour lost 82 Council seats
The Liberal Democrats gained 704 Council seats
The Green Party gained 194 Council seats
UKIP lost 145 Council seats
Independents and smaller parties gained 662 Council seats

So to start with the party currently in power at Westminster the Conservative Party, they suffered their worst hammering in council elections since a John Major led party lost 2000 council seats in 1995. 2 years after this election Major would suffer a landslide defeat to a resurgent ‘New’ Labour under Tony Blair in the general election. This also led to many years out of government for the Tories until Cameron brought them back to power in the coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
I feel it is quite ironic that the 2019 Conservative Party should be drawing such parallels with the Major led party of 1995, and I think if you look you can see some glaring similarities between the two.
Firstly we have a perceived weak leader problem with Theresa May who has lost control of her party, that is being torn apart by huge divisions on the EU (as this is what Brexit boils down to). Major was seen as a weak leader who failed to properly control his party, and there were always commentators who stated his leadership was about to come to an end. There were also huge divisions between Euro Sceptics and, Pro Europeans who had been scrapping over the signing of the Maastricht treaty in 1992 as well as other issues.
Fast forward to 2019 and we have a weak leader failing to control her hugely divided party, who are scrapping over Hard, Soft, and no Brexit.
The Tories have been punished by Brexiteers and remainers alike. Brexiteers for their inability to successfully exit from the EU, and remainers for not either stopping Brexit altogether, or advocating a softer option.
Tories did come out and state this was not going to be about Brexit but local issues, however if history has taught us anything it is that local elections have been used for protest votes for many years so this should not be seen as a surprise to anyone.
May could very well end up being one of the most disliked Prime Ministers in history! Certainly since I became interested in politics, since either Major or Brown in my reckoning, however I do see this as being slightly unfair.
I will concede that May should go, and made one of the most monumental gaffs in history when she called unscheduled election and loss her majority (made on some very bad advice as to her popularity, and the lack of support for the opposition). It is also true to say that far from uniting her party to ‘get Brexit done’ she has succeeded in dividing her party to the point some have joined with Labour to forma new ‘centre ground’ party.
However I think she took on what seems to be becoming an increasingly impossible situation to deliver a Brexit that can actually pass a vote in the house.
The main culprit in all of this of course for Brexit in the first place David Cameron immediately retreated into the shadows as soon as his ploy to unite his party back fired so spectacularly with the referendum result. This has left May having to field all the flack and ill feeling from both sides since taking on the leadership role, while Cameron sits pretty in his mansion in Oxfordshire being able to deflect almost all blame for the mess we call a parliament at the moment!!
Now I am not saying May has done herself any favours with her stubbornness,  and unwillingness to compromise to this point on virtually anything Brexit related, while all the while touting a deal that nobody in parliament can find a majority for. However I do think she was the only politician willing to take this thankless task on when Cameron washed his hands of it. Johnson, Gove and others all walked away from the leadership when it was there to be contested and May accepted the challenge that nobody else would, and whatever her reasons for doing it, she stood up.

This leads us on nicely to the Labour Party who as a perceived party of government in waiting should have capitalised fully on the capitulation of the Tories, however this has not been the case at all!!
Should Labour be a government in waiting then there should not have been a loss of seats in this election, but rather a net gain. Going back to 1995 as a point of comparison as Labours landslide general election victory under Blair was just around the corner, Labour gained 468 seats. A net loss of 82 in this local election does not fill anyone with confidence that Labour will conquer all come the next general election whenever it happens.
Indecisiveness over Brexit themselves and whether they will outright back a second referendum or not, as well as scandals involving anti – Semitism, and the fact a lot of the parliamentary party don’t like the leadership (Change UK anyone), shows us if anything Labour are as divided as the Tories are albeit on different issues.
To me another example of a weak leader who some see as revolutionary and others see as out of touch. The point with Corbyn though is I feel as though he is incredibly indecisive, but I can see why.
In my opinion Labour have in some ways an even more difficult job keeping their supporters happy than the Tories do. A large part of the heartland Labour northern support voted to leave the EU. Corbyn cannot seen to be endorsing staying within the EU as it could be a electoral disaster in Labour heartlands. By the same token in some parts of the south and London in particular there was a strong feeling to remain within the EU, and to be seen to endorse anything other than a very soft Brexit will loose support within the Labour supporting London borough’s. In many ways the Labour party is caught more between a rock and a hard place than the Tories are, however it is not exactly a performance you would be expecting to see from a future government.
In fact I did see a survey where it was claimed if the general election was held tomorrow and the votes in the locals reflected accurately then both main parties would receive 28% of the vote each, so another hung parliament.

The Liberal Democrats received a surge in numbers at the local elections, and their leader Vince Cable stated every vote for them would be a vote to stop Brexit (another example of a politician respecting democracy then!!! Yet again would be worth pointing out had the result been the other way around we wouldn’t be having these discussions, and remainers would be at best smug, and at worst dismissive).
My personal opinion of this is that the Liberal Democrats have always been the party of the protest vote, and apart from their time as the coalitions junior partner  have never translated this into seats in a general election.
The survey had them on 19% of the vote, however if we look back at the 1983 election where the Liberal/SDP alliance almost got the same voter share as the Labour party under Michael Foot but virtually no seats, I cannot see this translating to many more seats in parliament at any subsequent election.
One thing I will say however is that if nothing else the Liberal Democrats are united under their belief the UK should cancel Brexit, and sing from the same hymn sheet something the larger parties in parliament could learn from.
I may not share the position of the Liberal Democrats but I do appreciate a party that has a united view point on Brexit, even if it does fly in the face of democracy, and to cancel Brexit without putting it in to law that all subsequent referendums would be politically binding makes a mockery of the whole political process (if you cannot tell already I take exception to anyone who stands above me like a rich land owner to his staff and pats me on the head like a child while stating ‘there there you got it wrong this time so we will try again until you give me the answer I want)!!
Sorry to disappoint those who voted Yellow at this election but to think they could achieve anything like the levels of MP’s in parliament that Ashdown, or Kennedy achieved is a pipe dream.

UKIP was no big surprise as they seem to have little actual direction under any leader other than Nigel Farage, and they have very much lost their way since the referendum achieved the parties ultimate goal.
I will not endorse any racist, or sexist positions that members of this party seem to take, as I find these positions abhorrent, but it seems nobody within the party seems capable of forming an effective position opposite to the Liberal Democrats that every vote for them is a vote for Brexit.
I would of thought this could have been a natural position for this party given the fractured nature of parliament at the moment, but this does not seem to be the case.
It would seem it has been left up to Nigel Farage to once again be the champion of Brexit, and I predict here and now his new Brexit Party will make inroads in the European elections on 23rd May.

A big shout out to all those independents who achieved seats in this election. To me this is where the protest votes should have gone for a couple of reasons. Firstly I don’t think any major political party is worthy of voters time at the moment, and I feel that a lot of members of parliament should hang there heads in shame for putting self interest and party politics above the will of the people, and the answer they gave to politicians when they voted to leave the EU.
Another big reason is that a lot of these people are local residents who truly know the areas where they live, and not too tarnished by being a politician for so long that a sense of entitlement is seen as some right, and not a privilege to serve the local community (I do not suggest for a minute that all councillors who lost their seats are this way).
Finally I do think that the influx of potential fresh faces into the political arena could be the start of the next generation of leaders, and who knows we could get another perceived Churchill, rather than a Major.

In the end my thoughts are the longer the Brexit issue goes unresolved the more the larger parties will ultimately suffer at the ballot box. This might not be an altogether bad thing as we may see the back of some of the stalest politicians in the world right now in favour another generation who we can only hope would be more decisive and innovative than the current crop at Westminster.

As always my opinions are my own and thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog.

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Thank you!!!

Just a quick post to say thank you one and all for your comments and views of my last post, the response has been literally overwhelming!!!

It took 12 years to pluck up the courage to write my last piece, and I thank you all for reading.

There is more to tell, and blog entitled something like the aftermath will be written in the future detailing the struggles of grief and my breakdown of two years after the events of 2007. Maybe not straight away as it involves having to relive some very dark days.

For now I thank you for your support in this deeply personal matter.

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Our Twins 12 Years On

So its late where I am currently and I find myself reflecting.
This time of year is always very difficult for me and my partner as it marks the darkest time of our lives.
Reverse back for a moment to 2007, we had been married for less than a year and were looking forward to the arrival of twins. I remember the time vividly Easter was coming early at the end of March and we had around 3 months to go before our happy arrival.
I am always fuzzy on dates but I remember a few days before everything happened my partner had suffered pain in the car outside a local supermarket. It came and went within a few minutes and we thought nothing much about it..
I had just gotten home from work a few days later and was met with a phone call from my partners boss who informed me that my partner had been admitted to hospital with quite severe pain.
I got a taxi to the hospital and thanked my partners boss for staying until I arrived. I had zero idea what was going on, but called all relevant relatives.
After a while the pain subsided and as a precaution I was told they would be keeping my partner in over night as a precaution.
I was ultimately taken home and thought nothing further about it. The next morning I was supposed to be working but I phoned in and explained then got a taxi to the hospital (or I was picked up I can’t actually remember that bit).
I went in and my partner had been scanned by the doctor who had been looking after her (by an absolute fluke they were on call that weekend), the doctor was a twin specialist and after hearing the symptoms was very concerned.
The scan showed a condition known as twin to twin transfusion syndrome and it was very serious.
Now when I heard this term I remembered a conversation we had had with the doctor some months before where twin to twin was mentioned.
I distinctly remembered although maybe not in the right order that there was something like a 15% chance of it happening and then if it does just a 20% chance of it being the worse it can be. I am always saddened to say we hit the worst on both counts.
Now for those who don’t know I will try to explain without being too graphic, and in a way that I understood at the time.
For this to happen the babies have to share a placenta, which they did. The placenta feeds both babies through series of tubes a bit like veins or arteries that serve as the food givers to the babies.
In twin to twin some of these tubes (I guess) fuse together and cut off the supply of goodness to one twin or the other.
Upshot of this is mummy eats to cater for both babies, one baby gets everything putting them at risk of stroke, and the other baby gets nothing meaning they can no longer develop.
Now it was Easter weekend so the hospital was working on a skeleton staff in the maternity wing, however we were told should the babies survive to Monday then we would be taken to Leeds to the general infirmary (for anyone who knows Leeds). There we would have a detailed scan performed where the health of the babies would be ascertained and we would see if we were eligible to travel to London and have the placenta have pioneering surgery performed where some of the ‘tubes’ could potentially be unblocked and feeding improved for both babies.
During that weekend we were on the delivery suite of the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) and I kept asking the question to my wife (I need to stop typing partner as I am sure you read between the lines by now), can you feel the babies moving?
It was around this time we also noticed that one side of the tummy was sticking out much further than the other, this we were told was the result of one baby growing at an increased rate and the other not growing at all so the size changed.
We made it to Monday we thought with both babies still hanging on, and went to Leeds hoping against hope that all would be okay.
I think at the time I was really struggling to process what was actually happening, it was a time where nothing really seemed real and I didn’t believe it was actually happening to us or our babies!
I remember talking to the ambulance driver in the front seat on the way over to Leeds. I explained our situation and how serious we had been told it was. The two person ambulance crew waited with us until we were called in, and I cannot quite remember if we said goodbye to the ambulance crew then or after the first scan, but I do remember the driver giving my wife a hug and crying as she was wheeled into the scanning room.
So the scan was performed and we found out so sadly that one of our babies was dead, I have never really shared my thoughts on this but I just remember she was floating there lifeless and my stomach did that thing where it just drops (the best way I can describe it).
My wife became hysterical (as you can no doubt understand) and this put her in premature labour, so we were whisked to the delivery suite just in case our still living baby was delivered there and then.
The normal injections were given that  all premature labour mummies will remember for the lungs and we waited. Thankfully delivery at this point was averted and we were able to go back down and have a second scan to our living baby (apologies to any readers who find my language crude by the way, this post is just going to flow in the best way I can explain the events of 2007).
I remember in a private room where we were taken we discussed names for our babies. We had already said we were going to call them Lucy and Bryonie (not an incorrect spelling of the name as some may think), but we had never decided on which on would have which name. I remember telling my wife that the baby still living could be called Lucy and my thinking was that name had been her preference for one of the babies. Mine had been Bryonie and so I thought this would best fit our sweet angel who had passed, although I never really know why.
When my wife was scanned again we were told although Lucy was in what was to her an Olympic sized swimming pool of fluid she seemed to be healthy and relatively happy. It also just got me thinking she would have been the one who knew her sister best lying next to her for Bryonie’s whole life, I wonder if she was able to comfort her sister as she passed (I have no idea why I just thought of that now)?
We were allowed back to Bradford and the BRI and told basically the longer Lucy stays inside the womb the better her chances of survival. For Bryonie her body would have to stay in there as well and would wither away as Lucy grew, I always think she died in an attempt to save her sister that unrelenting bond all siblings seem to have to lay their lives on the line for the other. This always seems extra specially potent with twins and I will always believe Bryonie did everything she could to help save her sisters life. The ultimate sacrifice from my brave darling baby girl that I will never forget.
Between then and the 5th April when my darling girls were born we passed a very important milestone in their development.
I am not sure if everyone is aware but when you loose a baby below 6 months gestation they are not considered a person in the eyes of the law but a late miscarriage. This robs many parents of the right to call their babies people (and we know someone who this happened to just before we lost our twins). After 6 months babies are considered people in the legal sense and therefore have a right to a death certificate for example. Now there may be those of you out there who scoff at a parent who wanted a death certificate, but to us it was priceless and proved in the eyes of the law they existed. When you lose babies as we have and have so few possessions of your deceased children this certificate becomes priceless and the proof of your child’s existence is everything to you. There is nothing worth than someone telling you they never existed to begin with.

Sadly on the 5th April 2007 premature delivery of our babies became inevitable and unstoppable. Lucy arrived first and within 5 minutes had been whisked away very poorly to the neo – natal team who I cannot praise highly enough for their efforts in keeping Lucy going in her short life.
Bryonie came next still within her amniotic sack, my mum was with us when our babies were delivered and I remember her saying Bryonie was perfect, and she was she really really was!
The staff were really respectful even though she had passed on, she was weighed and wrapped up in towels just as any baby would be living or otherwise, and then one of the most tragic yet proud moments of my life!! I got to hold my Bryonie in my arms for the first and pretty much the only time. I cried uncontrollably that day and my mum said it was okay to cry and I should not try to hold back just because she was in the room.
My wife was exhausted as any new mummy can no doubt relate to but also got the chance to hold Bryonie as well. To this day I only wish I had held her for longer.
I stayed at my mum and dads that night and three things stuck out in my mind between going to leave the hospital and coming back the next day.
Firstly when I went back in to the delivery room where my wife was sleeping to get my coat I distinctly remember someone calling my name Thomas behind me. Now my wife was very definitely asleep and there was nobody else in the room at the time. I do not subscribe to believing in ghosts or anything like (although I remain a I’ll believe it when I see irrefutable proof  sceptic), but it wasn’t the first time this had happened to me. On the delivery suite in Leeds when my wife was asleep after averting early labour I was turned facing a wall and I distinctly heard a voice say Tom behind me. I do believe as well that the human mind is an amazing thing that can create all sorts in order to help with things like grief so I don’t think this can be ruled out.
Secondly I got the chance to see Lucy in an incubator before she had been fully worked on by the staff. I remember her skin was almost translucent at the time given how premature she was.
Lastly I had a drink of Brandy with my parents that night as well.

So I will conclude Bryonies story first as she deserves to  be mentioned on her own the proud daddy that I am.
Bryonie was bathed and dressed by the staff in the BRI, her picture was taken and hand and foot prints taken. She was so small and yet so perfectly formed, apart from being slightly bruised from the whole ordeal she almost looked like a baby sleeping, my perfect little star.
Bryonie was buried on the 23rd April 2007 (my brothers birthday) at the BRI’s own Snow Drop Garden at Scholemore Cemetery in Bradford.  When you stand within the garden you can see the maternity wing of the BRI, an irony not lost on either of us.
Our time was so brief and yet so potent and my sweet sweet star was laid to rest in a grave yard where so many members of my extended family are buried, including 2 of my grandparents.

For Lucy who like her sister defines the term fighter as far as I am concerned her story continued.
Moved to the LGI to have an emergency heart operation Lucy battled and fought everything including the sedation medication during her tragically short life.
Although the heart operation was a resounding success the doctors and nurses could not improve the condition of Lucy’s lungs, and she became ever more reliant on artificial ventilation to breath.
We were told the Monday before she passed that if she had not turned a corner with her breathing by the end of the week, the likelihood was she would not be able to recover.
The Wednesday after this talk I broke down in tears as the reality of Lucy’s situation dawned, and I realised even with all the money in the world and the worlds best doctors and nurses money could buy nothing further could be done to keep our little fighter alive. I even swore I would join the church and become a vicar if somehow god could intervene to save her life, yet this plea fell as most always do on deaf ears! The events that occurred in 2007 drained any lingering faith I may have had from me. Today churches are just very well engineered buildings to be admired for their architecture, rather than the message they try to sell as far as I am concerned (but that is perhaps a topic for another day).
Lucy passed on the 5th May 2007 exactly one calendar month after she was born. In her short life she had shown what fighting for survival really meant, and despite the miniscule odds didn’t know when she was beaten.
Another very poignant moment we had with Lucy happened in the morning before she died. My wife had always wrestled with the notion of turning off the machines keeping Lucy alive and wanted to speak to a doctor firstly before allowing it to happen (and what parent wouldn’t).
After all had been explained and the doctor had gone through everything with a fine tooth combe my wife agreed that this was the right decision a nurse entered the room (I swear this is almost the exact time my wife had agreed) to inform us Lucy was really struggling and needed urgent assistance. To me it was almost as if her mum telling her it was okay to go and Lucy took this as permission to join her sister who had been waiting for her all this time. Together again at last.
The night before her death my wife got to hold Lucy for the first time. The picture still has  pride of place in our living room. I remember telling her not to cry as this was actually a very happy moment, the first time you hold your baby is always special and I didn’t want to tragic consequences of the next day to hang heavy on this moment.

I got the honour of carrying Lucy to the quite family room once the machines were unplugged and Lucy was allowed to go. I say honour as this was the first time I got to hold my Lucy and even though she began to slip away while in my arms this was still my moment to be a daddy to her. If I was going to do nothing else for her in her short life I was going to carry her to the family room.
She was buried in the same vault as her sister on the 16th May 2007 (the same date as when me and my wife got together back in 2003 as boyfriend and girlfriend).
Another honour I had was to carry both tiny little coffins into the crematorium where the services took place. I would never be able to walk them down the isle at their weddings (if they ever wanted to), but I carried their coffins into that building. They were so small  and so light I remember this vividly.

So this is the story of our twins  Lucy Charlotte, and Bryonie Catherine. There lives were so short, but their impact on just me personally has been so profound. I can honestly state that my mindset completely changed during this period and this was the point in my life where I officially ‘grew up!’
It also showed me how cruel life can be, and how illogical some aspects of life are.
As time has gone on and we are now 12 years removed from 2007 there are times where I will honestly say the events of 2007 seemed such a long time ago.
However as I sit here with sore eyes and tears staining my cheeks I can also say there are times especially around this time of year when everything comes flooding back and the events of 2007 feel as though they happened yesterday. I relieve the sites and smells of that time so clearly right down to the finest details of the walk to the neo – natal department in the Clarendon Wing of the LGI.
I also sometimes find it very strange that I was born in the old Maternity hospital on Hyde Terrace behind the Clarendon Wing (which was its replacement). My life began only a few hundred feet from where we found out Bryonie had died, and where Lucy ultimately lost her fight for life.

I normally do a brief Facebook post to mark  the twins birthday but didn’t this year. Suddenly I felt compelled to grab the laptop and right the story of my twins in a much longer format for all to read. I stress this is my recollection of the events 12 years ago and  may not tally up exactly with others who were there.

I feel as I though I should end on these thoughts that have just crept into my head.
To all those who would say it wasn’t meant to be, or it happened for a reason I will retort that if you had been there an seen how hard my twins fought to live you would realise how wrong those statements are.
As for my grief? Time can make events seem a long time ago, but it is just like pulling off a plaster on a wound that has not quite healed and then picking the scab. The blood  will flow again whether you want it too or not, and time will never heal the gap that will be in my life until the day I eventually pass myself.

Thanks for reading.

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Should I Ever Vote Again?

Good evening dear readers (no idea why I started this blog like I am Danny DeVito in L.A. Confidential).
I think I am getting used to blogging again, and enjoying it!

So I am afraid I must return to my default subject politics!!
What have we learnt over the last few days in the nursery we are supposed to trust to run the country?
Well after Theresa May tried to lay the blame for a lack of Brexit squarely at the well funded doors of parliament, and the resultant inevitable parliamentary backlash. We are no closer to any decision on our countries future than we were at the beginning of this whole process.
A series of indicative votes were held trying to find a way forward and parliament tried to seize  control of the Brexit process from the government. From this we found out parliament hasn’t the first clue of what to do with Brexit, and all 8 proposals were rejected meaning we  are no closer to any solution.
Theresa May then played what I believe could be the final card she has to play and offered to step aside should her Brexit deal be passed by parliament, and the DUP have still refused to back the deal because of the Irish backstop.
There is more but as you can see from this brief synopsis we are still in a right old mess!! Nobody knows what to do with the Brexit process because only a few MP’s actually wanted to see the UK leave the EU.
Added to this the fact whatever anyone says you can not convince me that the EU is not seeking to punish us for wanting to leave in the first place, and we have a heck of a crises on our hands!

This has led to many members of the public declaring they will never  vote again because parliament will never listen to what the ordinary person in the street has to say!! So should I ever vote again?
Well the first thing to say is that an advantage of living in this country is that when we vote in elections politicians have no choice but to listen so long as we are willing to vote against the political norms.
If we vote for the same tired old parties then nothing with EVER change!!!
So we have the council elections coming up, and if no consensus has been made on Brexit and we are left in the EU for longer than the short delay originally planned, we will have European Parliament elections as well and a promise from prominent Brexiteer Nigel Farage that he will create a new Brexit party to contest the elections.
If people vote the way they have always voted, so certain areas always vote for Labour and other areas always vote Conservative, then you will never see a change to what we already have.
However if people decide to be bold and vote a little differently then I believe we should definitely vote again!

Let me delve into this in a little more detail. Up and down the country there are areas that have always voted Labour, and that area almost always returns Labour MP’s. These areas tend to be but are not limited to the old industrial heartlands of the north and midlands, and the valleys of Wales. Tory voters have tended to be in more affluent areas either of the industrial cities, or the countryside.
In each of these ‘safe seats’ the majority always seem to go with the flow of the traditional party of the area, and only a few will vote against the trend of the main parties. You also get a lot of apathy within these areas where peoples attitudes are ‘well the same person always gets in anyway so why bother at all.’ Now I live in one of those seats and without giving too much away it is a norther former industrial heartland, so Labour almost always get into the seat in question.
Political parties tend to be very content in these areas and expect to win the seat. In fact in many respects they use these seats as ‘bankers’ in any election, so can almost always calculate a minimum number of seats they will win. Now I know as with anything there are exceptions to this rule  especially in bi – elections, but for the most part this theory does hold water.

Now this is why I believe we should still vote (apart from the fact people DID die to provide us with this privilege)!
I have always believed in proportional representation as the fairest way to decide elections, even though you may not get a majority of any single party and coalitions are far more common. However this question was asked in a recent election and was voted down so it will not happen any time soon (although I feel if the argument was properly made for PR then it would have passed).
So here is my radical notion for all voters in this country. Go against the grain!!! Vote against the established parties in every seat!! Whomever appears on the ballot paper who is not affiliated with the major parties (and are not part of the supposed independent group in parliament), give them your vote.
I deplore violence threatened or otherwise that is currently being lobbied against MP’s, however a method that would work amazingly and really would impact the establishment  is to vote for the independent or the non extreme fringe party. Send those people to parliament instead of the same tired politicians who refuse to enact the will of the people.
Instead of threatening violence against the MP of a constituency who voted to leave, but refuses to represent the will of the people who put them in parliament in the first place. Make sure they are not returned to parliament the next time you get the chance to vote for your MP!!
Check out the ballot and see who is named on there then select  the candidate who doesn’t represent a major party and give them the chance to do the will of the people and not their own will.

The parties that have failed to produce what the majority of the electorate voted for should be ejected from the political process altogether and others given the chance to shine who recognise the people who put them there.
People who might represent YOU instead of just themselves, and a point I would make here as an illustration is had the vote gone the other way would we still be having these discussions about a second referendum? Well no is the simple answer to this, people are flying off the handle because the vote didn’t go the way they wanted it to. However that is probably a full blog for another day.

In conclusion I will say if you want real change the please keep voting, but change you habits. If you want to punish those we sent to parliament then for goodness sake don’t threaten violence against them! Do something that will really make the political elite stand up and take notice, vote for the candidate who is not a part  of that elite and never has been. Vote for the independent candidate of fringe non extreme party. Let the establishment know we will not simply go away, we will not do what they want and not vote at all, because my guarantee about that is this. If you fail to vote change will NEVER happen and it is what the politicians want you to do. The less people vote the more likely the established candidate will win. The more angry voters vote the way I suggested, the more likely they are to realise we exist, and we are not something they can just scrape off their shoes because they stepped on us one too many times.

‘People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.’ (V for Vendetta 2004 film).

As always my opinions are my own and thanks for reading.

 

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Social Media: A Double Edged Sword!!

So is anyone old enough to remember a life before social media?

It seems as though it has been around forever!!
For me it all started with a free profile on Friends Reunited if you remember that one, from there it seems as though I have had a profile on virtually every social media platform going.
I even flirted with my own website at one point in the early noughties, but never seemed to find any interesting content. My partner on the other hand managed to create a really cool website at one point and seems to be very talented at this.

I have to say there are aspects of social media that I really like, such as I have friends who have over the years moved away from our home town to such exotic climbs as Australia, Singapore, Canada, and erm… London. Basically places I either will never go, or have no desire to go and social media is a great way to check in with them and find out what is going on in their lives. It is also nice to let them know what I am up to in my life, and what home is like nowadays (as I am sad enough to still live quite close to where I grew up).
It offers a connection to people who I am confident I would otherwise lose contact with as I have never been brilliant at keeping in contact with people.
A good example of this is when I was growing up we moved away from a friend I had at an old school. We agreed to send letters to each other in order to keep in touch and I think I managed one. Added to this I once met someone when I was on holiday and once again we agreed to keep sending letters and I think I might have managed two!! I would also like to apologise to that person who  lived in I think Huntingdon for being absolutely rubbish!
Social media has taken out any effort in relation to writing letters and made the whole process much easier, at least for lazy people like me!!

There is also the fact you can follow some of your favourite celebrities online and find out what they are up to.
For me I really like seeing the human side of my favourite celebrities. We hold famous people up on pedestals so often that they can seem almost god like in some respects (I use the term to relate to the way the ancients would worship gods in Egypt, Rome, and Greece). However many celebrities use social media to show themselves doing very mundane things. To some people this is very boring and all some people want to see is their favourites all made up and looking glamorous, or wearing something very skimpy!!
For me however I really like the fact those I admire are in the end human beings with the same mundane jobs to do in a day as I have to. The only real difference is they have a massive  amount of talent, and I am distinctly average.
I enjoy the online games that have come on stream via social media and had the chance to shine as well.

It is here however I must also say something about the other edge to the sword.
Has anyone noticed how nasty people can be online?
Post something that one person doesn’t like or agree with (and we are not exactly talking about extremist views here),  and you can get inundated with some really quite nasty comments that can range from quite hurtful, to downright illegal.
I have personally read death threats appearing online for some people just because of something they have said, or a picture they have posted in all innocence.
It also seems we all become critics of people as well, and incredibly judgemental of our fellow humans.
I do not remember as many hurtful comments of someone posting a picture of themselves in a bikini, or with a new hair do. Or looking at a celebrity and commenting at how much weight they have gained, or how badly they have aged!!
As you can probably tell I am quite old!!!! I do remember a time when comments like the ones we now see from many people on social media were reserved from those who write in tabloids.
Now it seems many people act like a writer for the tabloids gossip section, and it is something I truly hate about social media. Why should anyone famous or not have  to endure such a torrid time for posting a picture (last time I checked mundane picture posting is not illegal)!

Why you may ask do people do this? Well the answer is very simple really.
When people post under assumed names or handles they do not feel as though they will ever be caught and therefore can pretty much say or threaten whatever they want, because nobody will  ever catch them!!
Chances are that person who has just written a comment on the wall of a celebrity they hate telling them to throw themselves off a bridge or something to that effect would never dream of spouting their mouths off like this if face to face with aforementioned celebrity.
It is the same across the board with people thinking they have a free reign on social media to say and express what they want without a thought of consequence.
I don’t name drop shows or products very often, but Saturday Night Live in the states did a fantastic sketch on the subject. Not to go through the entire script of this sketch, but the gist is people who have posted awful things on the internet have to meet the person they said something nasty against. The reaction they gave on the show pretty much mirrors what I imagine would be the reaction of real life people if the police, or worse the person they posted about were to confront them in public.

Its like with anything for every positive social media offers there are at least as many negatives. For every benefit the internet offers us there are those who will use the platform for illegal purposes, unfortunately it is unavoidable and even though the policing of the internet and social media is getting better. We will still see instances where it is being used for illegal purposes (a note here for social media and the awful atrocity that happened in New Zealand recently. Apparently the killer streamed live on social media when he carried out the act, and is something I never want to see).

My last thought would be to urge all users of social media to use the platform as it was intended and all the positives it can offer. Think about what you are typing before you type it because in the end would say what your typing to someone on the street? I suspect not if the person you target would punch you in the mouth if you said what you had just typed!! For example I know I am a big fat heap and I do not it pointed out every time I go outside!! In the end if I die early because I cannot control what I eat that is my problem not yours!!!!

As always my opinions are my own, and thank you very much for taking the time to read my splurge!!!!

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Why We Cannot Vote for Anything Different than what we Already Have?

Firstly I would like to start off this blog by offering my own condolences to the  many victims of the Mosque shootings in New Zealand that occurred this past week.
I will always struggle to understand the actions of extremists no matter where they come from, and who they claim to represent.
I can only hope justice is done for those who were murdered, and that the government of New Zealand follow thorough with the promised changes to their gun laws.

Okay so i0to my next blog post…

There have been numerous calls for a ANOTHER general election after Theresa May’s latest attempt to flog a dead horse failed!!
The only issue with this is due to the system we use to elect our members of parliament (MP’s) chances of the same tired old  politicians getting back in (or someone from the same old stock) is sadly almost inevitable.
Let me explain, for elections involving MP’s and the Westminster Parliament we use  the first past the post voting system. Its a very simple set up you vote for who you want to be the MP in your constituency and whoever gets the most votes wins the seat. Then whichever party has the most seats forms the government.
Many people have stated that this system has provided stable government in this country when other countries who use different systems have chopped and changed on a regular basis because nobody gets a majority (at least very rarely).
Only problem is it limits the amount parties who can get into parliament, and also  means a majority can be secured with far less of the popular vote than what Donald Trump had in the US Presidential elections.

A couple of very good examples of this include:

 

1983 General Election that returned the Tories under Margaret Thatcher with a landslide (still riding high on the positive feeling the government received after the Falklands War of 1982).

The Tories scored about 52% of the vote so had the right to form a  government but got 62% of the seats in parliament.
Labour won 34% of the vote, enough to finish second and received 32% of the seats.
Now interestingly the Liberal/SDP alliance won 31.2% of the votes but only received 3.5% of the seats in parliament.
Why? Well this was because Labour were very strong in traditional Labour areas and one the single seats based on the aforementioned election method, and their concentration of votes. The Liberal/SDP Alliance had support spread thinly across the country and this didn’t translate into seats in parliament.

1997 General Election that brought Labour back to power for the first time since the 1970’s, and started the whole Blarite cool Britannia movement of the late 90’s early noughties.

In this election Labour secured 43.2% of the popular vote, however managed to get 418 seats in parliament or 64%.
The Tories who capitulated at this election after so long in government managed 165 seats in parliament, but still managed 30.7% of the vote.
The Liberal Democrats achieved 46 seats and 16.8% of the vote.
Obviously the regional nationalist parties also achieved seats in parliament to make up the rest.

In recent years we have had a hung parliament twice in three elections however one thing remains pretty constant and that is that MP’s invariably come from 1 of 3 parties (Scotland and the SNP being unique to that region of the UK).
There are a few exceptions to the rule such as the SDP (who eventually merged with the Liberal party to become the Liberal Democrats), and Martin Bell and his white suite in 1997 to name but just two. However the reality is that the effect has been so small over the years that the last permanent change came at the beginning of the 20th century when the Labour party replaced the Liberals as one of the big two political parties in this country.
People in many seats have blindly voted for the incumbent on so many occasions that votes for any other party in those seats really don’t tend to count beyond being and interesting reflection of where the far right sit in each constituency.
So far there have been no blistering new political movements set up to compete with the establishment no matter how bad each party has been on trying to secure Brexit.
The independent group may claim to be the next step in our politics, but honestly I feel if any of them actually had the guts to put up their seats in a bi-election they would lose (most likely the reason they don’t).
So my conclusion must be that sadly if a general election were called tomorrow whoever won the same tired old political elite would ultimately rule supreme.

Now I know I have mentioned a fear of the rise of extremism in this country at a national political level should Brexit be stopped, and the referendum result ignored, but the fact is this could take some time to gather momentum.
I also note that many people have said they will never vote again, and the truth of this is that the politicians want this to happen because it means those who always vote, and blindly vote for the same party will ensure that the status quo party wise will be the same no matter what  is said.

The only solution (and you have heard this from me before) I believe is to introduce a proportional representation system of elections. That way the will of the people can be more accurately displayed across the country and reflected in parliament.
We desperately need a change in parliament but it is hard to see it happening any time soon.

 

As always my views are my own. Thanks for reading.

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Political Elite my Revelation!

Okay so to give a little background to myself I do have a history degree achieved many years ago now. 
One of the first things lecturers harp on about when trying to get a history degree is the lessons learned from history, how the lessons learned from the past will mean we never repeat a catastrophic event from the past. 
Or more to the point we must learn the lessons of the past or we will be doomed to repeat them. 

The sad truth is time seems to fade the lessons of the past so future generations seem doomed to repeat them. 
A prime example of this would be the holocaust or as we now similar incidents genocide (cannot believe thewse instances are so common we actually have a term for it). 
During the second world war around 6 million people mainly Jews were killed by the Nazis. 
When these appalling act was discovered as Eastern Europe was liberated during the war virtually every political leader declared we must learn the lessons of the past and this must never happen again. 
Since 1945 and the end of the second world war there have been numerous examples where this type of thing has happened again, and it is not as if the details of the Holocaust are hidden and not easily accessible. 
Examples include Zanzibar 1964 towards the end of the Zanzibar Revolution.
After the independence of Algeria from France the Harkis who had supported the French were met with severe reprisals. One estimate I read about was between 50,000 and 150,000 were killed.
Cambodia 1975 – 79 the Khmer Rouge (KR) under Pol Pot where an estimated 1.5 to 3 million people died due to the but not limited to the policy of agrarian socialism. 
Guatemala 1981 – 83 an estimated 140,000 to 200,000 people died (mainly Maya Indians) due to the military government. 
Burundi 1972 – 1993 two main exampkes here were the mass killing of Hutus by Tutsi’s in 1972, and then the reversal that occurred in 1993.
1994 Rwandan Genocide where an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people died (representing an estimated 70% of the Tutsi population in Rwanda). 
I am very sad to say I have picked out a few examples however the lisrt goes on.An example for me where the lessons of the past were simply swept under the carpet by the ruling majorities or overthrowers.

So to get back on to my policitcal revelation I need to take you back to the beginning of the 20th Century. During this period the majority of Europe was ruled one way or another by monarchies, the majority of Europes populations had no political voice (just see the rights women had to vote in the early 20th century as a good example), and MP’s consisted in the UK at least of very rich men who were wealthy (as MP’s were not originally paid for their work, unbelieveable how much they earn and can claim on expenses now I know). 
There had been new political ideas making their way onto the scene since the late 19th century with the writings of people like Karl Marx (known as the father of Communism), and John Maynard Keynes among others. However up until the 20th Century ideas such as those of Marx had made little head way on the major political arenas. 
Genrally speaking most of the monarchies felt safe and secure, as did the upper, and political classes. The attitude was very much they could do pretty much as they pleased.
The working classes and lower middle classes being fed up of being pushed around and worked to death with little regard for them sought an alternative and the scale of what was chosen in individual countries is quite stark.
In the UK we saw the rise of the Labour movement (todays Labour party), they eventually replaced the Liberals as the main opposition party evenutally became a party of government. In Russia by contrast w9e saw the ultimate rise of communism through the Bolsheviks and the two revolutions of 1917 (February and October).
In Germany we got the rise of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler, mainly due to the terrible settlement reached by the Treaty of Versailles to end the first world war. The desire to punish the Germans for the war , which was as much the fault of the UK and France as it was the Germans (and the Wall Street crash of 1929) led to the events of the second world war and ultimately the iron curtain the descended across Europe from the mid to late 20th century. 

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union became no more the world rejoiced as apparently we had entered a new era of wealth and prosperity where (you have probably already guessed) the lessons of the past would be learned, and the mistakes never repeate.
The 1990’s saw Clinton in the only remaining world super power, cool Britannia with the arrival of Tony Blair and the new labour movement from 1994 onwards, a bit of boom and bust but by the end of the decade everyone felt richer and more secure.
The noughties brought us the war on terror and at the end of this decade we had the financial crises of 2008. This has led to a decade of austerity and the rise of the policital fringes.
Okay in all honest the fringes of politics have never really gone away, for example in the UK we have always had a far right element from the Black Shirts of Mosely, to the National Front. Then we have also had the BNP, EDF, and UKIP all having varying degrees of success politically and in notoriety.
China has been Communist for the majority of the 20th Century and remains so today so it has laways been there.

Okay to my policitcal revelation then, so to the beginning of 21st century very few monarchies remained however politicians felt the same kind of comfort that was felt at the beginning of the last century. Have our politicians leanred their lessons from history? Or has greed and the general demeanour of the elite won through?
So after the worst crash since 1929 in 2008 and the decade of austerity afterwards we have an increasingly out of touch political class and the rise across Europe of both left and right (Russia still has very socialist leanings, China is still a communist state, Spain has a socialist government, and the far right has made waves across Europe).
Trump is in the White House, Brexit has destroyed British politics, and even the far right has gained political ground in Germany, does this remind you of anything in particular?
Havve the lessons of the past been learned? Well let us see what happens next but the omens of the past seem tobe coming back to bite. As the past becomes further in the past in seems the lessons get dumbed down and forgotten. I believe there is nobody still alive who fought in the first world war, and within the next 10 or so years there will be nobody still alive who fought in the second world war. The truth seems to be the further away from the lessons of the past we get through the passage of time, the more we forgot the lessons history can teach us.
I hope I am wrong but I am sad to say I may not be. 


As always my opinions are my own. Thanks for taking the time to read and I wish I had more time to write these!!!!!!  

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