It’s been an incredibly busy few election-related months, and I want to get back into blogging, but until the dust of the election settles, here’s a gem for you.
Yesterday there was a rally for fair votes in London, under a coalition movement made up of an impressive range of organisations – check out the site for more info.
It was a brilliant moment as across the country people took the streets to demand a better, modern voting system as part of a power-sharing deal between the Lib Dems and whichever party forms the minority government (probably the Conservatives). On a side note, I don’t have a inherent problem with Nick Clegg stating that the party with the biggest vote share has first right to seek to govern – sounds about right to me. The protest was a rather loud message to Clegg that he shouldn’t forget what many think is a fundamental policy the Lib Dems have fought on for a while now. A good number of people voted for the Lib Dems solely on the basis of voting reform also, and don’t want their votes to have been wasted.
Anyway, check out this spectacular example of exactly is wrong in this country – media/business giants dictating in politics. Kay Burley ‘interviewing’ David Babbs of 38 Degrees:
It’s not so much the fact she clearly disagrees with the protest, it’s that she’s an awe-inspiring combination of ignorant, rude and obnoxious. Firstly, she’s asking ignorant questions that show she clearly doesn’t have a blind clue what is going on and why (journalism fail). Secondly, she’s just plain rude, cutting across the person she’s interviewing before he’s even had a chance to answer the last one (politeness fail).
Anyone who is vile enough to make me feel sorry for Peter Andre is pretty horrific.
So perhaps it’s understandable that the Twittersphere had special affection for a video of Kay Burley being heckled
Incidentally, I had an unbelievably fruitless conversation with a particular individual on Twitter, who exemplifies exactly the kind of reasoning (or lack thereof) that is prevalent amongst those who want to suppress the debate on reforming the voting system. Since she ignored my arguments, here they are, unhindered by those pesky 140 character limits
“are you listening to the millions who voted for priority number 1 as discussed thruout election – economy. No you aren’t”
As I responded, I didn’t see “Economy” listed on the ballot paper. It’s utterly simplistic to presume to know exactly why people voted the way they did. I can’t emphasise how stupid it is to think that EVERYONE in the country voted SOLELY on one issue. Why the economy over crime, taxes, transport, NHS, science, environment, defence, devolution, the EU, immigration, political reform, local issues, third sector, candidate credentials, expenses scandal, tactical voting, or how much people fancy the leaders? (Links entirely random and drawn from Google for illustration)
In her bizarre world, she seems to equate the election to referendum on (presumably) the Tories’ economic strategy. Since she rightly pointed out that the economy “was in all 3 partys manifestos. Twat”, I pointed out that electoral reform in some guise or other was in pretty much all manifestos, to which I got:
According to leftard @liannedemello PR was in all 3 party’s manifestos and was the voters main priority Thursday. Laugh or laugh harder??!
Er no, I said electoral reform was in pretty much ALL party manifestos, not just the big three. A further point, but as Ben Goldacre says, “it is very weird hearing politicians describing the electorate as a single animate entity with its own beliefs and desires”. In the same way, it a bit of a fallacy to call the election result a “rejection of Brown”, because by that token, it’s hardly a shining endorsement of Cameron either. If any conclusion to be drawn, arguably it’s that collectively we don’t entrust any one party with power at all.
But if you want to play that game…With regards to voting reform, some parties want to change electoral system and some don’t. Check this out: votes for the top 11 parties sorted by position on voting reform. Green = reform, red = non-reform, and grey = none stated as far as I could tell.
It seems to me that more people ‘voted for’ some sort of reform than ‘against’ it, “sweetheart”. Here’s where it got a bit fun.
“aww sweet. Libs Dems and Labour lost vote share. Get it? Did ER worry u when Labour won? No so economy over ER & fuck off… and where were you bleating on about ER when Labour won their right to govern off FPTP. Eh? Srsly FUCK off you are too thick”
Lovely(!) Actually by my calculation, the Lib Dems and Labour got almost 6m more votes combined than the Tories did. And since the Tories only got 36% of the votes, that means that 64% of people DIDN’T vote for them. But who cares about the maths, eh?
Incidentally, perhaps “Alison” should read up a bit and look at the history for the campaign for electoral reform. The Electoral Reform Society, going for 126 years, called the 2005 election result, where Labour won only 35% of the votes, but FPTP magically transformed it into 55% of the seats, “The Worst Election Ever”. In fact they were pretty damning:
No majority government in British history has ever rested on a flimsier base of public support – or, more accurately, none has since the extension of the franchise in 1918.
Sadly I never got round to putting these arguments to my dear friend, as she then reached into her stockpile of reactionary insults for me and another tweeter who had the gall to agree with me:
@liannedemello @djSway are numpties who put their wants over the electorate’s and cant argue for shit… proud of exposing stupidity and fascism of @djSway: @liannedemello who hate voters and dismiss election result… Fun dismissing those two. What part of you lost voter share so dont speak for anyone do they not get. LOL. Next!…
*facepalm* I couldn’t be bothered by this point to point out the main reason people push for PR is because more votes count than the 70% wasted in the 2005 last election. Making MORE votes count in the system is CLEARLY “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government“, is it not?…
The reason I felt strongly enough about this to write a blog post was not so much the fact that she disagrees with my position. I’d love to have a debate about the merits of strong government vs representativeness, or the need for a constituency link, or the presence of extremist parties – all valid criticisms of PR. Sadly this kind of debate is not what she was interested in, and I decided to take the higher moral ground and just give up with trying to reason with her.
I just hope that the quality of debate elsewhere is far better informed than Wot The Sun Said, Innit?