Friday, 8 May 2015

Politics

For most of my life I have not been "in to" politics at all, but over the recent years I have found that there are things that affect me, my family, my staff, and my customers. Basically, politics matter. This is something that is quite hard to get over to the younger generation sometimes.

One of the biggest recent turning points for myself was David Cameron making the most amazingly uninformed talk that was basically suggesting banning encryption. I was really quite shocked. I really expected some clue from our leaders or at the very least those that advise them. You cannot expect politicians to know every area of industry - but why make speeches about an area of industry without getting the advice to make a speech that makes sense.

The election has been a bit of a surprise. A friend of mine, Julian Huppert, lost his seat. This was a real shame, regardless of "party politics" Julian was one of the few people in parliament that had some clue about science and technology. That was a real shame, and I hope he stands again. The surprise is the Lib Dems being virtually wiped out!

It was no real surprise that Theresa May was on the rampage, even before the majority was declared, suggesting that the "snooper's charter" may finally be pushed through. "Nanny state" may be here at last, and that is a whole new battle for all of us. As an ISP it has huge technical issues, but there are, of course, huge moral issues which we all face with this.

Which party would I want in power? I really do not know that any one party makes sense. I'd want smaller government that remembers it works for us and is not there to control us. I'd want evidence based legislation that is proportional and reasonable. Do any of the parties offer that?

So I worry about the next 5 years.

17 comments:

  1. Ever thought about a relocation to Lovely Scotland? If this result is any indication, the end of the union is imminent....

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  2. "So I worry about the next 5 years."
    I've been feeling this today about the snoopers charter and the NHS. I know a few people who work for the NHS and they are astonished people Conservatives got in given what they seemingly have planned for the NHS.

    I worry that we are a few years away from companies (in it for their profit and shareholders) providing health services rather than an organisation who doesn't have to please shareholders or turn profit.

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  3. The conservatives no doubt will introduce more censorship and reduce privacy. There will be additional unenforcable laws such as age rating all music videos.

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  4. I can't help but think they are shooting themselves in the foot with the censorship and snooping laws - With everyone being affected, It'll push more and more stuff to be encrypted by default, which means they won't be able to spy on people that they have a legitimate need to spy on (with court orders, etc).

    How are they going to snoop on real criminals if *all* traffic is going over Tor (or similar) anyway?

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  5. Cameron has a slim majority. There will be back bench revolts as happened to John Major now the majority is small enough the back benchers and tory rebels know they have some influence. This will end badly for the tories and labour will get in next time as the tories are seen to be divided. I see no reason at present why John Major's history won't repeat itself.

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    1. That assumes that the Labour party don't embark on a period of self-destructive navel-gazing and appoint unelectable leaders as they did in the aftermath of the Thatcher victory. I'm not sure the signs on this one are good. In any case they have a bit to go before the "There's no money left" note and GB plundering the pensions is behind them as far as I'm concerned.

      Cameron has a slim majority as you say, so expect the unpopular stuff to be pushed through early before by-elections eat into his margin and while he can still claim to have a mandate.

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  6. The shocking thing for me is not that the conservatives have gotten in again (and lets face it, I'd rather see the conservatives in power than labour) but that UKIP, who took 12.6% of the vote, yet only got 1 seat, and the SNP who took 4.7% of the vote and got 56 seats!
    There is something seriously wrong with our electoral system for this to have happened. Mind you, with only 66.1% of people bothering to vote, it's no real surprise it's a mess again...

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    1. There are some issues with the percentages on that, compare the percentage per contested seat, and things look a lot more reasonable.

      UKIP stood in 624 of the 650 seats, the SNP in 59 of them. At some point I'll work out the max vote that each could have got, which will get a better set of percentages than those given here.

      FPTP encourages (or should encourage) parties to only stand where they think they have enough support. That the SNP were sensible and did this should not be counted against them. They worked the system out, and used it in a logical and sensible manner.

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    2. OK, I found a good data set for this at http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/flatfile.html or more precisely at http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/electdata_2015.txt

      My workings for the following are here: https://goo.gl/PLLTKa

      UKIP stood in 624 Seats. Those seats contained 44,684,664 eligible voters, of whom 29,528,063 cast their ballots. Of those voters, 3,881,099 voted for UKIP. Thus, of those who could vote for UKIP 8.69% did so, or 13.14% of those that could and bothered to turn up did so.

      The SNP only stood in 59 seats. Those seats contained 4,094,784 eligible voters, of whom 2,910,465 cast their ballots. Of those voters, 1,454,436 voted for the SNP. Thus, of those who could vote for the SNP 35.52% did so, or 49.97% of those that could and bothered to turn up did so.

      I think that basing the argument on the percentage of the total electorate that could (or did) vote is totally the wrong thing to do, and means that you're inherently saying that any independent candidate has no democratic mandate, as they are never going to be able to stand in more than one seat.
      That said, this is no defence of FPTP, more that the criticism of it based on comparing percentages the way that the media has generally done is not really fair.

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    3. When I looked at the system used in the EU elections, that made much more sense to me. You allocate seats based on a formulae to ensure proportional distribution. FPTP doesn't do that.
      I think the biggest problem is that we've changed how we vote and who for quite a lot since the system was originally implemented, which is why it's no longer working!

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    4. As I've been discussing elsewhere, the issue isn't if we should change the system (I think a lot of people agree on that), but what we should change it to.

      Looking at the options around at the moment, I think that I'd favor a system of larger constituencies with an AV voting system within them, and a second vote for a regional top up pool based on the D'Hondt method. This is similar to the system used in the GLA.

      The larger constituencies with AV voting allow for people to have a definitive MP standing for them, someone who can't say that they are not interested in you. It also allows independent candidates and smaller parties to stand in targeted seats, and AV gives them a slightly more realistic chance of being elected, given the increased constituency size that would otherwise work against them.

      The regional D'Hondt top up gives some proportionality to the system, allowing parties that have a broad support base, but not enough support in a specific area to have some say too.

      I'd be keen to keep the votes for the two parts separate, as I could see a situation where you had an excellent constituency MP that you wanted to support, but didn't like what their party stood for overall.

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    5. Greater London Assembly, those that are supposed to keep the mayor in check, but have virtually no power to do so (other than by voting down the budget, which AFAIK can only be done if two thirds of them agree to it, and as over on third are normally from the Mayors party, this is highly unlikely to happen)

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  7. re Scotland - you could look at it another way - S.N.P. 56 MPs & 51% of the vote - only 1 Tory of course - and still we get Cameron......

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    1. Current SNP success is a temporary blip produced by the referendum. It's going to take another couple of general elections to get a feel for the long term situation, and that assumes no more scottish referenda in that time.

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  8. It's stuff like this that worries me:

    "For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens 'as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'" - David Cameron.

    Surely, if we haven't done anything wrong you SHOULD leave us alone. If David doesn't like that something is not against the law that he thinks should be, he needs to change the law not threaten us.

    We are all criminals now...

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    1. 1984 and all that. Welcome to the thought police.

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