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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