Monday, April 12, 2010

12 April 2010: Proxy

Back from holidays and it's probably time to update the blog, seeing as the last entry was getting all excited about a midweek chart show from two weeks ago.

So Delirious ended up at number 4 for the week overall, which is pretty good considering their previous highest position in the singles chart was number 16 back in early 1999. Even better considering the band no longer exists. But I couldn't buy a copy since I was abroad, and my many attempts to use UK iTunes accounts all seemed to be found out. I need a nice UK proxy.

Talking of proxies... seems Mr Brown has asked Mrs Queen to dissolve parliament and have a general election, and she presumably agreed with a big sigh, thinking "here we bleddy go again". (Seriously, how many elections has she seen now? She must be bored of them.) I've looked into voting from here and it's curious: mainly because of the constituency system but also partly because it's badly designed. I am eligible to register to vote in the last constituency in which I lived (Southampton Test as I recall) BUT when it comes to actually voting, there are two options: (1) postal ballot and (2) proxy vote. Number 1 isn't an option because they require a turnaround time of five days from start to finish - and it normally takes a week to get stuff from the UK by normal post, so that would mean I'd receive my ballot paper some two days after the election took place, let alone sending it back again. Leaving us with number 2, the proxy vote, and it seems to me that while it's ok for me to waste my time performing my usual vote (click here for details from the last UK election - have I really been blogging that long? Sheesh) it's a little unfair to ask someone else to perform the task on my behalf.

Sidenote on the spoiling thing: Before anyone goes off on one about rights, duties and privileges, I ask you to consider (1) the purpose of having an election with no actual, real choice (they had elections in the USSR, remember), (2) the purpose of representative democracy (am I represented?) and (3) Lord Hailsham's seemingly timeless remark on the UK as an "elective dictatorship", or a place which is a democracy, but only for one single day every five years.

May be different this time, due to the possibilities of a hung parliament (despite its promising name, this doesn't involve the execution of politicians, but instead means no single party has overall control of our unseparated powers). Andy has some interesting thoughts on the runners and riders from the minor parties so that's something to consider if you'd like your vote to count. But don't forget, it's first past the post in each constituency so for your Green/UKIP/Reptile vote to count, you'd need that candidate to win in your constituency before they get around to being king-makers in any minority government. Still, if just one percent of the population protest...

No, hang on, that was Doctor Who, not the actual election. Is it just me or did 'The Beast Below' fit in very nicely with the overall election theme? What is your choice: to protest about the system and thus bring about the collapse of a corrupt, unfair system or choose to forget about it for another five years and carry on in ignorance like nothing is wrong? Steven Moffat would have known broadcast dates some time in advance, and it wasn't difficult to predict the timing of this election...

No need to say much more on the first two Moffat episodes of Doctor Who, though. They were great, just great, thoroughly enjoyable, fun, deep, everything the RTD stories promised to be and rarely delivered. And Matt Smith is better that I thought he'd be too. They could do with changing the title sequence and music, though...

Finally, if you have any doubts about corrupt politicians, check out recent history of the island of Grand Turk, where I found Cadbury's Whole Nut last week. Now there is a seriously corrupt story... it must be bad when the British government wades in, dissolves the constitution and takes over control from London. We don't do that kind of thing any more... do we? Elections to be held there by mid-2011, say the leaflets from the supermarket.

Wonder if it'll be PR or first past the post?

17 comments:

Rob said...

Totally agree with you on DW. Matt Smith is great and the writing is as good as ever.

I'm on the fence about the election though since the method of voting (fptp) isn't the best IMHO.

As an aside Mr Duncan, check out this site and you won't feel so bad about not voting.

http://www.voterpower.org.uk/

DuncMcRae said...

What an EXCELLENT site, seriously that is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Thanks Rob.

Kevin S said...

I'll cast a proxy vote on your behalf if you like, Duncan. I wouldn't want you to be disenfranchised (what a fun word that is) unless by choice!

DuncMcRae said...

Hee hee! Actually I believe it's too late now, I had to get it sorted a while ago to give them time to identify that I did indeed formerly live down in the Mews.

Reminds me: while on the way back from the vacation, we met a retired couple about to set sail on a 14 day cruise that ends in Southampton. It's a year since we've been there, and over two years since moving. Still miss the old place greatly.

Rob said...

Unless you are a disenfranchised owl of course...

DuncMcRae said...

I am the nemesis of the vole...

Nick Gibbins said...

Things have actually got a bit more interesting for Issy and myself. Last time around, we were in Southampton Itchen, which is safe Labour (Denham has a majority of ~9000). However, the boundaries have changed and we're now in Romsey and Southampton North (Bassett, Swaythling and Mansbridge have all moved), which is currently a Lib Dem seat, but only a marginal one (Gidley had a majority of only *125*, ahead of the Tories, with Labour a distant third on <10% of the vote).

This is probably the first time when I can honestly say that my vote counts.

DuncMcRae said...

Indeed - I was in that constituency last time and in fact Sandra Gidley turned out to be very helpful as an MP when it came to helping with Gloria's marriage visa application - wrote us a wonderful letter of support. So she's a good 'un in my books, irrespective of party.

The site Rob mentioned - voterpower.org.uk - says that Romsey & Southampton North is the 16th most marginal constituency in the country. The additions of the northern Southampton wards probably just adds to the confusion... http://www.voterpower.org.uk/romsey-southampton-north

I'll be watching with interest.

Gareth said...

Apparently Aylesbury is ranked #384 out of 650 i.e. a very safe seat! However our MP seems a decent chap. Even a colleague of mine who hates the tories likes him. Of course she wouldn't vote for him though - because he's a tory. That's what I dislike about the PR concept - you vote for a party not the person who is going to represent you - so you actually get less say about who represents you is parliament.
BTW Happy Birthday Duncan (I think it's today!)

DuncMcRae said...

Shhhhhhh!

Rob said...

That's funny.. as this morning I had the thought 'Must remember NOT to wish Duncan a Happy Birthday'

DuncMcRae said...

Sadly Blogger does not let me edit comments left by others, and it's a little fascist to delete them.

Becky S said...

Was just going through and sorting out some old school stuff when I came across a batch of 'College Voice' back issues, one of which talks about the mock election at which you stood as (it claims) the Green/Monster Loony candidate. Was that right though? I thought it had something to do with traffic cones ...

Rob said...

Do you have Duncan's Manifesto? if so, please share!

DuncMcRae said...

Ah yes, the Raving Looney Green Giant McTrafficCone Party from the 1992 Ivybridge Community College mock election. Mostly we were concerned with replacing red traffic cones with green ones to be more environmentally friendly, although the ravages of Dutch Bollard Disease meant they were hard to find. I have the rest of it somewhere (I think), stuff about merging the Tree Preservation Society with the Liberal Democrats to stop people knocking Ashdown etc. We're about to start going through a ton of shipped nonsense to clean the room for the forthcoming baby so it may be in there, if not then it's in Devon and I may be able to retrieve it if we go for Christmas...

I believe we amassed as many as nine votes in the election itself. In that resprect I see my candidacy as a model that UKIP have been able to build on.

DuncMcRae said...

Wow, the Green Giant faction of the Loony Party actually has a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raving_Loony_Green_Giant_Party. Sadly Stuart isn't standing for election any more, but hey I got a hand-written letter from him during the campaign, and I bet I was the only one to get that from an official party leader during the 1992 Ivybridge election.

Becky S said...

I just looked him up and apparently he's a tory now. I sincerely hope you haven't gone the same way :-)