Tag Archive: UK


HM Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kin...

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People have been asking me a lot recently about my opinion on the monarchy, and particularly Kate and William’s wedding. They’ve also been asking me what I’m doing on Friday…

Honestly? Nothing.

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Margaret Thatcher with Ronald Reagan at Camp David

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The Conservatives have been claiming that their cuts are a necessity, mandatory because of the legacy left to them by the previous Labour government. While I’m no defendant of Labour’s track-record, it isn’t this simple. Many of us on the left of the traditional political spectrum have long argued that these cuts are too fast and too deep, motivated not by necessity but by ideology. Thatcher’s dream of small-state Britain is, unfortunately, one the Tories have never awoken from.

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AV will finally give us the chance to eliminate tactical voting.

The Reality

An excellent graphic from Anthony Smith via Mark Thompson and Liberal Democrat Voice. Nothing more need be said.

But I’ll say it anyway – no matter how complicated the actual figures that we get in an AV election may be, they’re understandable, simple maths, and can easily be worked out, especially with use of a computer.  It’s not complicated.

Tactical voting on the other hand, is a complication that should not be necessary in a true democracy. If we want a fair and just system, we must move away from First Past the Post.

 

AV system ‘would give fascists more power’ – Alternative Vote, UK Politics – The Independent.

I need to a proper series of updates soon, but life is rushed – however, this definately caught my eye.

Baroness Warsi has said that AV would let the BNP take power.

Well, for a start.. is that why the BNP themselves are campaigning for a  “No” vote? Because they don’t want life to be easier for them? Clearly, Baroness Warsi is badly misinformed, or just distorting the truth.

AV (and I could get into many, many technical arguments, or link to many other blogs), would make it MORE difficult for the BNP to win parliamentary seats. As it is, in some places they only need around 30% of the vote, whereas with AV, they would need to be the first choice of over 50% of the electorate. See how much harder that is?

I also have to make one more point. While, frankly, I find their ideas repugnant but they are a legal political party, and if people vote for them, then they will get seats, under any system. We can’t let keeping the BNP out affect our choice of electoral system. If we really want to beat the fascists, we have to show people…well, how fascist they are, and how bad they are for this country.

Muammar al Gaddafi Mouammar Kadhafi Colonel Qu...

Image by Abode of Chaos via Flickr

Over the past 24 hours, the Libyan opposition has made major gains against Gaddafi‘s forces – under the cover of the no-fly zone. The cities of Ajdabiya and Brega, crucial outposts on the main highway along the coast, have been retaken. This makes a full attack on Benghazi difficult. There are also reports emerging that the rebels have retaken the city of Ras Lanuf, a crucial oil-supplying town. Hurting Gaddafi’s economy can only help in his (hopeful) eventual overthrow.

What has changed? We changed. Thanks to the Western (and now Qatari) imposed no-fly zone over Libya, the rebels are benefitting from a huge boost in morale, knowing that the international community supports them, and from the no-fly zone grounding Gaddafi’s deadly air force.

Apparently, Ajdabiya was taken mostly because of the RAF. A devastating bombardment of the city by RAF Tornadoes led to Gaddafi’s forces melting away.

The French air force has also been suppressing Gaddafi’s air force around Misurata, a city besieged. It took down, reportedly, three planes and two helicopters last night.

Liam Fox has claimed that we will not be directly suppling the rebels with arms, citing the presence of a UN weapons embargo.  Mind you, Resolution 1973, only cites arms delivered to the “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya“, the name of Libya under Gaddafi. The Transitional Council calls the country the Libyan Republic. As France recognises the rebels as the legitimate government, are they bound by this embargo? I’m no lawyer, but it’s a point to explore…

So, that’s the latest updates on Libya. A clear change of fortunes for the rebel forces, that we can only hope will continue.