Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Refutation/Debunk of yet another #No2AV Blogger... (grass roots labour)

Debunking of argument in original article at Grass Roots Labour

Arguments against AV put together by CLPD’s Secretary
Sunday, 19 December 2010

•    AV benefits the Lib Dems.  It has been estimated by the British election study team at Essex University that under AV the number of Lib Dem MPs would rise from 57 to 89, while the Tories would drop from 307 to 285 and labour from 258 to 248.
If you put tribal party issues above democracy then you may support this argument, but if you support democracy and think parties should be accountable then this is no argument at all. 

•    The only countries using AV are Australia, Fiji and the Pacific island of Nauru (The Papua New Guineans dropped it and the Fijians are having their doubts).
I have never been a fan of 'follow the crowd' just because it is a crowd (think lemmings) its the end of any progress at all - again maybe this argument suits tribal party supporters. However, of these examples only Australia is comparable - and they are doing pretty well on it.

•    AV makes coalition governments much more likely.  The Lib Dems will be the kingmakers – they are as likely to go with the Tories as with Labour.  “AV opens the door to a new political world in which coalitions become the norm, and single-party majority government a distant memory.  Defeat for AV could quickly end the Coalition Government.  But success would bind it together – for a long time to come” Vernon Bogdanor, Cameron’s tutor at Oxford.
This claim for more coalitions, quite simply, isn't supported by the evidence! Canada use FPFP and have had dozens of hung parliaments, Australia uses AV an has had even fewer than the UK.

•    AV does not take account of the second preferences of all voters, only those of the least successful candidates.  This was a point made about AV by Winston Churchill in 1931 – “The decision is to be determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates”.  In other words, an MP’s success could be determined by the preferences of UKIP or BNP voters.  This situation could therefore well lead to the major parties adjusting their policies, for example on immigration, in order to appeal to the prejudices of these voters in the hope of picking up their transferred preferences.
This could only have been written by a party tribalist - most people don't support one candidate 100% and support the others 0%. All candidates are a compromise - with good and bad points. Someone who votes BNP may well be a labour supporter who just wants stricter immigration controls. A supporter of any party may vote UKIP if they don't like being goverened from Brussels.

•    There are many more spoilt ballot papers under AV.
Is this just made up? If true, then you need to look at why they are spoilt before making any decision based on it... Its not against the law to spoil a ballot paper if you want to!

•    AV will not make politics more open and honourable.  After a general election we would see unseemly horse trading between parties, with manifesto promises and campaign commitments being jettisoned.
Again was this just made up? What is the evidence for this statement? The current UK coalition parties have acted as described here - but this is under FPTP! If anything this is an argument against FPTP...

•    AV may not produce a more proportional result than FPTP.  For example under AV in Alberta Canada, one party obtained 90% of the seats on 54% of the vote.
Like FPTP, AV isn't a proportional system, so it doesn't make sense to criticise it for not being proportional! - if proportional representation (PR) is important to you then it would be very simple to switch from AV to AV+ (which is a proportional version of AV) once AV is introduced.

•    AV has been described as an “anti-incumbent” system, which accelerates trends.
Yes and?

•    Under AV tactical voting becomes part of the electoral architecture.  AV encourages tactical voting in a structured and formalised way.
No. Tactical voting means voting for someone other than your favourite candidate to (hopefully) stop an even worse candidate getting in. Under AV you just vote honestly... nothing tactical about it... you will get the best candidate possible from your preferences. There is no 'tactical' voting under AV.

•    If you live in a constituency where Labour is in third place, your vote for Labour is totally disregarded and has no effect concerning Labour.  It becomes a full-value vote for the Lib Dems if you transfer to them.
How is this a bad thing? If your first choice can't win then you still get a choice of which of the others wins without tactical voting! Vote Labour (even if they have no chance), show your support save their deposit! Then give your next preference to the candidates in the order you prefer them.

•    It is possible for a more weakly preferred candidate to end up winning.  AV would quite often produce Lib Dem victories in constituencies that are either primarily Labour or primarily Tory.
I don't know what 'weakly preferred' means here. To win under AV you need 50% of the votes - how is that 'weakly preferred' ?

•    “AV led to a significant drop in the number of people voting in Australia – that’s why they had to make voting compulsory.  AV doesn’t help democracy, it stands in its way”.  Margaret Beckett.
Sorry, but this was just a lie - voting in Australia was declining before AV was introduced, AV actually gave it a bit of a boost.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Yet Another simple example of AV beating FPTP - so say #Yes2AV

Imagine for a moment an election with two candidates - for the sake of argument one labour one conservative.

The election gives a result of 60% to labour, 40% to conservative - so the voters get a labour MP.

Now imagine again, but this time at the last moment another candidate comes forwards - a LibDem. This (for the sake of argument) splits the previous labour vote, but doesn't change the conservative vote.

The result this time is 25% libdem, 35% labour, 40% conservative - so the voters get a conservative MP.

See what happened? An extra candidate ran, they didn't win, but they changed the result !

Some people claim FPTP is fair because the person with the most votes wins - but this example shows that just isn't so... AV demands  the winning candidate gets more than 50% of the vote. A candidate who only has 40% support could never be elected, regardless of how much the voters are initially split between the other candidates.

So say #Yes2AV !

(ps. Feel free to swap the party names around - this isn't a party political point, it is a voter/representation/democracy point)

Refutation/Debunk of another #No2AV Blogger...

Saw some yes to av arguments at at by twitter user @KerriiPrince, no comments allowed there, so debunked it here..

I like First Past The Post. I believe that the most votes should win. In most competitions around the world, the most votes wins. It’s surely common sense. It means you have the greatest support. If someone has put you second place, they clearly don’t want you to win that strongly.

It is quite possible that the winner under FPTP would lose a head to head with the 2nd or even 3rd placed candidate... This particularly benefits extremest who don't have much support, but do have very specific support. i.e. The BNP could win an election where 35% of voters are racist, but 65% are anti-racist. All it takes is the anti-racist vote to be split between two or three other parties.
(see my earlier blog really-simple-one-of-ways-av-is-better)

If we vote No2AV, we can say that it wasn’t enough. Okay, to some it will look like pro-FPTP, but those people are idiots. You can’t just assume that. In AV did pass, one would naturally assume we want AV. You can’t ASSUME that we voted yes in demand for further change. That isn’t on the ballot paper.

An idiot? Only in your opinion, I can live with that. The choice offered is FPTP or AV - yes to one is de-facto no to the other... How you interpret that is up to you.

It is a strict decision between FPTP and AV. FPTP means most votes win. Okay, someone can win with 35% of the vote, but they have the most strongest support, rather than with AV when a candidate can win on 4th preference votes. Not exactly strong support, is it?

This was your first point which I have already answered. There is no sense or logic in a particular candidate winning with less than 50% of the vote *just* because the other votes were split between a number of preferable candidates... All of whom lose...

Look at how much it would cost to change the voting system. Why would they then change it AGAIN? They wouldn’t.

'They'? its our money - the government have no money other then ours, if 'they' don't spend it as we want then it just shows that our democracy is not working as it should.

But in any case, voting under AV need be no different to voting under AV+ (a form of PR) - the only difference is the way the votes are counted - so none of the money spent on switching to AV would be wasted, it would be the 'first instalment' towards PR (if that is what people subsequently wanted).

Forget assumptions and biased views, but actually read the question. “Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the ‘alternative vote’ system instead of the current ‘first past the post’ system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?” You have a choice between AV and FPTP. Nothing else. AV is, as NICK CLEGG described, “a miserable little compromise” - it isn’t fair. And most of you know that deep down, but you feel that you should vote yes as it is your only hope of getting further reform. It isn’t, it really isn’t. And the Yes2AV campaign should stop using scare tactics to win in May.

Like most politicians, Nick Clegg has said a lot of rubbish - but that doesn't mean every thing he says is automatically wrong (or right). Don't let a politicians support (or not) influence you - the choice is simple and both systems are simple enough for anyone to understand (if they want to) so everyone can make their own choice based on the facts/arguments.

No need to 'look deep down' and 'see what you feel' - just read the facts, compare the systems and make your choice.

I will be voting ‘No’ to changing the voting system in May. I hope you will too.

Its your choice - but a No vote will be bad for the country and a disservice to future voters.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Another simple example of AV beating FPTP - so say #Yes2AV

As I spend more time Looking at FPTP and AV and having discussions and debates the issues get clearer and clearer and arguments get more and more refined. The latest simple argument to come to the surface is as follows.

The winner of an election held under FPTP could quite possibly have lost a head to head election against the person who came second (and/or even the candidate who came third!). So in a straight choice, the winner under FPTP may well *not* the most popular of the top candidates.

This is why AV insists that a candidate must have more than 50% of the counted votes - once the weaker candidates are knocked out, the candidate who is elected clearly *is* more popular than their close rivals. With more than 50% voting for them, they are the majority candidate.

There are some people who like the idea of minority parties being able to 'steal' elections in this way, (because votes against them are split between many other parties), it may even make parliament more proportional - but I certainly don't think this is the way to fix other broken parts of our political system. AV will repair our broken elections, next we can repair our broken parliament.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Rights and Responsibilities - The devils tax on your soul.

The words 'Rights' and 'Responsibilities' are often heard together.

However, if you think about when you have heard them together and think of who was doing the saying, you will almost certainly find it was someone emphasising 'responsibility' rather than 'rights'.

This is because it is a complete fiction that rights come with any responsibilities.

Rights are absolute - if something is not absolute then it is not a right at all, it is a contract for service/reward. And as contracts can be declined by either party, there is nothing to base any reliance on.

The 'rights carry responsibilities' line is deceiptful in several ways. As well as attempting to trick you into thinking your rights are in some way negotiable or come at a price set by another, it also attempts to rob you of any credit for any responsibility that you do volantarily choose to accept for any reason.

Noone is obliged to anyone else 'by right' - every act, however small, that you make to help another is yours, given freely, and you deserve 100% of the credit.

When those with power say 'rights carry responsibilities' they are seeking to tax your good will, your soul, your humanity. They are seeking to get a return for themselves for something that is already yours (a right), that must be allowed to freely exercise.

Humanity is not the responsbility of the government. Humanity used to be in the remit of the church (as a moral code - whether or not you beleive in deieties), but as the church long since sold its moral soul for 30 peices of political silver it has thouroughly vacated that position.

Right are your own, don't let the state fool you into paying tax on them in the form of an artificially imposed moral duty. And take full credit for any act of kindness towards others, it is yours to give as only you see fit.

Friday, 10 December 2010

LibDem Renegers - How they can be punished with #Yes2AV

(but only if that's what their voters really want)

Assuming Lib Dems get no 2nd or later preferences and no increase in vote, then any below 50% will be out at the next election under AV - and it wouldn't take much for those over 50% to come down a bit.

Lib Dems who voted FOR tuition fees changes

NameConstituency2010 %age of Vote
Gordon BirtwistleBurnley35.7%
David WardBradford East33.7%
Malcolm BruceGordon36.0%
Jo SwinsonEast Dunbartonshire38.7%
John HemmingBirmingham Yardley39.6%
Danny AlexanderInverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey40.7%
Stephen GilbertSt Austell and Newquay42.7%
Sarah TeatherBrent Central44.2%
Paul BurstowSutton and Cheam45.7%
Duncan HamesChippenham45.8%
Lynne FeatherstoneHornsey and Wood Green46.5%
Nick HarveyNorth Devon47.4%
Michael MooreBerwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk45.4%
David HeathSomerton and Frome47.5%
Tom BrakeCarshalton and Wallington48.3%
Andrew StunellHazel Grove48.8%
Jeremy BrowneTaunton Deane49.1%
Edward DaveyKingston and Surbiton49.8%
Sir Alan BeithBerwick-upon-Tweed43.7%
Steve WebbThornbury and Yate51.9%
Norman BakerLewes52.0%
Nick CleggSheffield Hallam53.4%
Vincent CableTwickenham54.4%
Norman LambNorfolk North55.5%
David LawsYeovil55.7%
Don FosterBath56.6%
Alistair CarmichaelOrkney and Shetland62.0%

Lib Dems who ABSTAINED on tuition fees changes

Sir Robert SmithWest Aberdeenshire and Kincardine38.4%
John ThursoCaithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross41.4%
Lorely BurtSolihull42.9%
Tessa MuntWells44.0%
Chris Huhne(at climate summit)Eastleigh46.5%
Stephen WilliamsBristol West48.0%
Martin Horwood(at climate summit)Cheltenham50.5%
Simon HughesCheltenham50.5%

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Why should someone's 2nd or 3rd preference count the same as someone else's 1st?

This is a question that keeps coming up.

Under FPTP everyone makes a single mark on the ballot and every vote counts the same. So when people think about AV allowing a number of preferences, and the final result being based on some 1st preferences, some 2nd and maybe some 3rd or even 4th, they question why a persons later preference should count the same as someone elses 1st preference.

The answer  to this is quite simple - if a persons 2nd preference is being counted it is because their original 1st prefence has been knocked out. Their original 2nd preference is their 1st preference of the remaining candidates!

So when it comes to the count, you count the 1st preference among the remaining candidates.

To extend this, to make it clearer still, even under FPTP are your 'ideal' candidates even on the ballot? If no then the person you vote for is not your real first preference - just like AV you can only vote for the 'best of who is available'.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

BBC - Last throws of a failing empire?

I have been surprised by BBC Radio 4 twice recently.

BBC were sycophantic to labour in government - it is only through favours delivered to government that they could preserve their existance as a publicly financed private company with tax raising powers.

Before Labour, with a Conservative government, the BBC were equally left wing in outlook but at that time the BBC had a place in popular imagination that was unassailable - 'where would we be with out the BBC?', just like the NHS, people had been fooled into believing that it was the envy of the world and the UK had 'the best in the world'.

However, once the BBCs virtual monopoly on broadcasting (particularly Television) was broken (initially by Sky) and with the collapse of BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting, the deeply flawed public sector satellite TV project, now taken over by by Sky, hence the current name 'BSky B') people realised that they owed the BBC nothing, the BBC was nothing special - and the BBC had been milking the public for years.

In light of this collapse of public support for the BBC and its need to re-ingratiate with the public to maintain government support for its tax raising powers, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised by what I heard - but I was.

The first surprise was during a broadcast discussion about health - particularly regarding recently released research on the regular taking of aspirin and how it reduces the risk of death from various cancers.

We heard the usual nannying, interfering (at out expense), busy bodies with an eye to generating future work for themselves speak of how the public should consult with them (and their GPs) etc before doing anything at all. Citing various obscure, small groups of people who may have adverse reactions - effectively risking most peoples health to reduce risk for the few...

Then, the surprise, a libertarian! who said that individuals are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves, and deciding for themselves whether they want or need any additional advice. I could hardly beleive my ears... The BBC giving air time to a non-collective, non-socialist, free-will supporting individual - wow!

The other surprise by the BBC was also on a health issue and the use of 'nudging' individuals to improve their health by changing their lifestyles.

The usual BBC promoted guff poured forth about improving public health by cutting smoking, drinking, fatty foods etc.

But then, again, in chimed a libertarian! who pointed out that these issues are not public health issues, they are personal health issues, individual lifestyle choices - choices for individuals to make, not for the state to interfere with.

When the health nannying interviewee went on to talk about how the state needs to counter the huge advertising budgets and drives that these 'risky' products benefit from, the libertarian pointed out the stupidity of the state actively trying to undermine honest, legal advertising by a private company by trying to match it pound for pound at our involuntary expense by producing yet more advertising to counter it.

Wow - again... The BBC are clearly rattled, they know they need to change.

Of course, this doesn't change my view that the BBC should be disbanded as a public sector organisation. Its entire hierarchy are the *wrong people* they cannot be trusted to run the organisation - trying to wheedle their way into the good books of their detractors is not going to work, we know the BBC cannot be trusted and that any improvement in their apparent independence will only last as long as it is in the personal interests of those in charge. I demand the right to vote with my wallet. As long as there the BBC retain their virtual monopoly they destroy the market for competitors, leaving us without choice.

Monday, 6 December 2010

More bogus claims against AV... (debunked)

1. AV IS OBSCURE: Only three countries in the world use AV for their national elections: Fiji, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

AV is well known and understood... so what definition of obscure is being use here?  Is the Eiffel tower 'obscure' because there is only one of it? Is Big Ben 'obscure' because there is only one of it? Are the Egyptian pyramids obscure because they only exist in Egypt and are relatively few in number?

2. AV IS UNFAIR: Supporters of fringe parties can end up having their vote counted five or six times – and potentially decide the outcome of the election – while people who backed the mainstream candidates only get one vote.

Just plain untrue - in each round of voting every valid vote is counted - if there are five rounds, then every vote will have been counted 5 times. Everyones' vote is counted the same number of times, counting towards the highest marked preference that is still in the race.

3. AV IS UNEQUAL: AV treats someone’s fifth or sixth choice as having the same importance as someone’s else’s first preference – but there is a big difference between positively wanting one candidate to win and being able to ‘put up with’ another.

In every round of counting everyones first/top preference from the remaining candidates is counted - and all count the same. In each round of counting its one voter, one vote.

4. AV IS ‘EVEN LESS PROPORTIONAL’ THAN THE CURRENT SYSTEM: So concluded the independent Royal Commission chaired by the senior Liberal Democrat Roy Jenkins in 1998

Carefully and misleadingly edited quote there missing out the qualification "and in some circumstances ... it is even less proportional". Meaning, of course in other circumstances it can be even more proportional! But as neither FPTP nor AV claim to create proportional governments the whole line of argument is rather moot.

5. AV IS ‘DISTURBINGLY UNPREDICTABLE’ – another warning from Roy Jenkins. Elections fought under AV would either wildly increase the majority of the winning party (e.g. Labour in 1997, the Tories in the 1980s) or create hung parliaments by giving the balance of power to the third party.

This interpretation of Jenkins comment is entirely the authors own. In the report the statement is unsupported. But, as already covered 'proportionality' of any government produced by of any non-proportional system (FPTP or AV) is moot. And the fact that AV in Australia has produced fewer hung parliaments than FPTP has in the UK maybe renders 'predicatability' irrelevant as we can actually rely on experience.

6. AV IS NOT WANTED – EVEN BY THE YES CAMPAIGN: Before the general election, Nick Clegg described AV as "a miserable little compromise" and the Electoral Reform Society said they did "not regard it as suitable for the election of a representative body, e.g. a parliament".

Not wanted? I want it, and so do many people I have spoken to. But, in any case, this is what the referendum is to decide! The referendum is happening the only reason to attempt to pre-judge it in this way petty politicking.

7. AV IS NO-ONE’S FIRST CHOICE: AV was not in the manifestos of either the Conservative Party or the Liberal Democrats. Many people who want voting reform have spent years campaigning for proportional representation – which AV is not.

It is my first choice for electing MPs... I can't speak for people I haven't spoken to, but 'first choice' is irrelevant, the choice we are being offered is FPTP vs AV. The referendum is on which is better not whether one or the other is perfect.

8. AV IS COMPLEX: The Government will have to spend millions of pounds explaining to voters how AV
works to prevent a fall in turnout at elections. In Australia, the only reason they have high turnout is because they made voting compulsory.

Complex? What is this claim based on? In Australia turnouts were falling before AV was introduced and actually increased slightly following the introduction of AV - voting was made mandatory *after* this. A good proportion of the people I have met who are in favour of AV don't vote under FPTP because they consider it ineffective and a waste of time - if this is typical then we can expect turnout to increase significantly if AV is introduced, as people feel their vote is no longer 'wasted'.

9. AV IS EXPENSIVE: Under AV we won’t be able to count ballot papers by hand on election night if we want a quick, decisive election result. Local councils will have to purchase electronic counting machines that are very expensive and prone to malfunction.

Again - what is this claim based on? Many results will require only one count as at present, and if there are later rounds there is no reason that they should take long as only the votes for the *least popular* candidate need to be re-allocated.

10. AV IS NOT THE REFORM WE NEED: There are lots of genuine reforms which would go some way to restoring people’s trust in politics – but changing our voting system to AV is not one of them. That’s why it’s a shame that we’re about to spend £90 million and five months debating a system that nobody really wants.

Well the answer to this is just 'tough' - its what we are being offered. FPTP vs AV. If our MPs as elected under FPTP were good at representing the public will then maybe there would be other reforms on offer -- but FPTP is self-evidently a huge break on reform, another good reason to drop it.

(Original article/blog at didn't allow comments - hence me posting here)

New intake MPs supporting #No2AV

These new bods have joined the previously announced dinosaurs in supporting FPTP as preferable to AV.

Its is worth remembering that these MPs won under FPTP, but under AV a candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to win - so many (if not all) would have gone to further rounds of counting - and it could well be that a different candidate was more popular than them.

I say 'if not all' because even those with more than 50% may have benefited from 'tactical voting' where they got votes from people who didn't really support them but wanted to help make sure that a different candidate didn't win - so had the vote been under AV where people can honestly state their real preferences even those results could have been different (if it more accurately representing the views of the voters).

NamePartyConstituency% of votes
Chris WilliamsonLabDerby North33.0%
Gavin ShukerLabLuton South34.9%
Guto BebbConAberconwy35.8%
George EusticeConCamborne and Redruth37.6%
Stuart AndrewConPudsey38.0%
Julie HillingLabBolton West38.5%
Tristram HuntLabStoke-on-Trent Central38.7%
Toby PerkinsLabChesterfield39.0%
Jake BerryConRossendale and Darwen41.8%
Karen LumleyConRedditch43.5%
Julie ElliottLabSunderland Central45.9%
Thomas DochertyLabDunfermline & West Fife46.3%
Kwasi KwartengConSpelthorne47.1%
Yvonne FovargueLabMakerfield47.3%
Karl TurnerLabKingston upon Hull East47.9%
Zac GoldsmithConRichmond Park & North Kingston49.7%
Nick BolesConGrantham and Stamford50.3%
Michael McCannLabEast Kilbride Strathaven & Lesmahagow51.5%
Priti PatelConWitham52.2%
Dominic RaabConEsher and Walton58.9%

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Really simple - one of the ways AV is better than FPTP.

Meat eaters read  this:

Under FPTP - if 79% of people in a group want burgers for dinner but evenly split between McDonalds, Burger King, Wimpy, Wendys, whereas 21% want a veggie Mung Bean Salad - then if every one votes for what they most want then every one ends up with nasty salad instead of tasty beef in a bun !! The Veggie option getting more votes than any other single option - but still on 21% of the votes.

Under AV - everyone would have ranked their choice of dinner - burger eaters probably putting the Bean Salad last (if ranking it at all). The first rounds of counting under AV would probably drop one or two of the burger joints, those voters having their vote moved to their next choice. Eventually the most popular burger joint would be selected (with over 50% of the counted votes).

Yes the vegetarian 21% would be disappointed, but if the option is 79% being disappointed - so be it.

Veggies read this:

Under FPTP - if 79% of people in a group want veggie food for dinner in Brighton but were evenly split between wanting to eat at FoodForFriends, TerreATerre, BombayAloo, WaiKikaMooKau, so the 21% who want Veal and Foie gras get to choose for everyone.

Under AV - everyone would have ranked their choice of dinner - vegetarians probably putting the Veal and Foie gras last (if ranking it at all). The first rounds of counting under AV would probably drop one or two of the veggie diners, those voters having their vote moved to their next choice. Eventually the most popular veggie joint would be selected (with over 50% of the counted votes).

Yes the carnivorous 21% maybe disappointed, but if the option is 79% being disappointed - so be it.

Everyone read this:

People who want their own way even if it means the majority are disappointed will prefer FPTP - as they can potentially win by persuading only 21% of people to agree with them. 79% will be disappointed, but what do they care if they have got their own way?

People who want their own way even if it means the majority are disappointed will prefer FPTP - as they can lean on others to vote 'tactically' the way they want them to, with threats of the most 'unwanted' option winning if they don't.

Party fanatics actively support FPTP (whether overtly or just by saying no to AV).

The rest of us, voters, will benefit from AV, parties will not.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Chief Polices Officers Contempt and Insubordination towards Theresa May

Theresa May and the Police are back in the headlines as the new government delivers on a promise for 'Elected Police Commissioners'.

However, it is worth looking back at the very first major announcement that Theresa May made regarding the police and how that has panned out.

29th June 2010 Theresa May addressed ACPO (the association of chief police officers - a private company that directly controls policing within the UK) she told those present that the wasteful, box ticking 'policing pledge' and 'confidence target' were scrapped with immediate effect.

This was also covered (with some joy) on this site:

However when we come to look at what these unaccountable Chief Police Officers have actually done following this direct instruction from the senior, accountable member of government to whom they should be obedient, I am afraid it is not good...

Chief Police Officers seem to have entirely ignored this instruction - they are known to be very left wing, and strongly supported the previous 'NuLabour' government and were enthusiastic in adopting their wasteful box-ticking exercises - but insubordination?

I contacted my local police force using a freedom of information request on 17th July 2010 asking what impact this scrapping had had on them.

They failed to reply (as required by law) and following an internal review I eventually received a reply on the 26th of August 2010 - confirming that the scrapping of the police pledge and confidence target had made absolutely no difference to Sussex police whatsoever!

I then made another request on 28th August 2010 regarding the continence of these scrapped targets
asking for copies of correspondence, minutes etc of any meetings/discussions that had occurred internally.

Following another unsatisfactory response, on 2nd October I requested an internal review of this request also. Now the 30th November I finally got a response to this, which found information not originally disclosed.

However, apart from a single circulated memo, Sussex Police seem to be claiming that no discussion or consideration was given to Theresa Mays scrapping of these targets - and there is nothing to support the reponse that they gave to my initial request!

Elected Police Chiefs - yes please, and they need to be uncontaminated by previous contact/responsibility for existing Chief Police Officers - we need people who can kick ass and stop our Chief Police Officers (and their disgusting commercial money spinner 'ACPO') showing such contempt for the people of this country and our elected representatives.

Amazon drop Wikileaks - I drop Amazon.

Christmas is coming, Amazon could well expect to be looking forward to a bumper month - but I won't be helping them...

I have just sent Amazon the following message using their 'contact us' form (
Following your withdrawal of services from Wikileaks, I will not be making any purchases through Amazon until further notice.
I will also not be doing business with any companies that use amazon webservices for their sites, and I will ensure these companies know why I am not using them (amazons contempt for the general public).
Amazon have built a business on the back of simple and rapid communication made available by the internet - for Amazon to seek to limit that benefit to others is disgraceful.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Real Reason the Conservatives are Scared of AV (secretly terrified) ?

The Conservative party is well noted for having two wings.

There is a paternalistic, aristocratic wing that holds sway at the top of the party (Cameron, Osborne, IDS, the Tory Lords etc), and there is a dynamic small-state, free-enterprise, and generally more libertarian wing (characterised by the likes of Douglas Carswell, John Redwood). It is notable that William Hague started way over to the libertarian side, but has shifted over time so is now solidly on the other wing of the party with the grandees.

These groups have been forced together because under FPTP a split between them would result in Labour holding power for ever more - the Conservative party is already a coalition of disparate forces, the current coalition government is just a widening of that compromise.

However as the conservative compromise is extended on the left (towards the LibDems) it is straining heavily on the right - the small-state, free-market, EU-Sceptics are being marginalised more and more and are getting less and less comfortable with it.

However, under AV, voting is not so crude as to allow vote splitting to 'let in' an unwanted party/candidate. Under AV it would be perfectly possible for the conservative party to split into its two natural constituents, allowing voters to prioritise paternalism against liberty without the risk of 'letting in' a far more left wing alternative candidate.

AV will free the Conservative party to split with out damaging the right of centre political postion - this will be good for voters (who will have a finer grained choice of candidates to prefer), but will be bad for the current Conservative party grandees, and hierarchy - who put their loyalty to an arbitrary organisation above freedom and democracy in the UK.

AV will destroy the Conservative Party, but completely renew a more powerful right of centre movement in the UK. Bad for the party but good for the principles it claims to support.