Brexit Momentum Dwindling? #FlorenceSpeech #Brexit #VoteLeave #TakeBackControl #ChangeBritain

“Brexit” means Britain’s Exit from the European Union, which is not due to happen until March 2019. Sorry to explain that, but my recent conversations with people show that many think “Brexit has already happened” and can’t understand why more money isn’t being spent on the NHS yet. So, just to be clear: Brexit is in process, but has not yet happened.

Exiting the EU is supposed to be a two-year process. But now Prime Minister Theresa May has set out her plans for a two-year transition deal which is, by any other name, extended temporary membership of the EU. Certainly, it would extend the lifeline for us to backpeddle into the EU. Indeed, the day after the referendum I was already saying that I doubt Brexit will ever even happen. History shows that the EU Fanatics just will not accept “non” for an answer. And that incorrigible EU-phile Lord Heseltine has today, I think rather accurately, said that he not only foresees us not leaving the EU, but actually joining the Euro, too. Indeed, now that we’ve decided to leave, should we change our minds we will have lost all of our opt-outs, including on not joining the Euro; oh yes, the French and Germans will exact a pound of flesh and be out to humble us and lock us in forevermore.

So has the Brexit momentum critically dwindled?

Corbyn has forsaken his principles and Labour have reneged on their Referendum pledge to back Brexit. The Tories are weakened since losing their majority in the General Election. The party which single-handedly got us the referendum (whether you love them or loathe them), UKIP, seems to have had its moment and looks a spent force. The momentum for Brexit, which was the culmination of years of hard, focused pressure, is rapidly fizzling out. Just look at the polling data: the margin of support for Brexit is shrinking.

So, as someone who has spent half my life fighting for Brexit, I am extremely worried by the warning signs of interim deals and such. And with oppression of the Catalans by the Spanish state, and the election of anti-democratic EU fanatic Macron, I fear the future is bleak for European liberal democracy.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2016-10-05-1475670108-7560650-brexit1.jpg

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Voting Reform

vote-toss

The results of the General Election have thrown up some intriguing uncertainties. For example, will the SNP’s unprecedented success precipitate the break up of the UK?

But one thing is certain from the results: the voting system needs to be changed in time for the next General Election.

Consider this. The UK Independence Party received almost four million votes. That’s the third highest and a total 12.6% share of the vote. Yet the party only received one seat in Parliament. Yet 12.6% of the 650 House of Commons is 82 seats!

Whatever you may think of UKIP, this is a travesty and makes a mockery of any notion of British “democracy”.

But it’s not just UKIP who were done over by our voting system.

The LibDems got two and a half million votes, a 7.9% share. Yet they received 1% of the seats.

The Greens gained 1.15 million votes, a 3.8% share. They only received a single seat.

On the other hand, the SNP got 50% of the vote in Scotland, yet a whopping 95% of all seats! Not quite as dramatic, but the Conservatives won 51% of the seats on a mere 36.9% of the vote.

And bear in mind that 33.9% of the eligible population didn’t even vote! That means the Conservatives were only supported by 24% of the voting age population, yet got more than half the seats.

Our system really is winner takes all.

A lot of people I’ve been speaking to have been really quite confused. So I’ll explain our system.

The country is divided into voting areas (constituencies). Whichever candidate gets the most votes in any area wins that seat. Everyone else gets nothing. This was UKIP’s problem: they came second in 120 seats nationwide! But first in one seat is better than second in a hundred under our system.

Perhaps in the era of two party politics, our current system worked well (for example, in the 1950 General Election, the Conservatives and Labour respectively gained 40% and 46.1% of the vote and 35.2% and 46.1% of the seats). But we no longer exist in that era, and never will again. So it’s time to change.

The only arguments in favour our system are that it’s easy to understand and produces stable government. Well, I think the idea our politics is stable is now laughable. And easy to understand? How can anyone understand a party receiving 12.6% of the vote getting a mere 0.15% of the seats?

The system needs to change. That is clear. But change to what? There are so many alternatives that the mind boggles.

Luckily for us, however, the UK has been engaged in numerous pilot schemes trialling different voting systems for a while now.

  • In the London Assembly, Welsh Assembly, and Scottish Parliament, the Additional Member System is used. It is semi-proportional; winners are chosen as in the General Election, but there are extra seats for each area which are awarded proportionally.
  • The London Mayor is selected by the Supplementary Vote system. Everyone picks their first choice and second choice. If no one candidate receives 50% of the vote, then all candidates except the top two are eliminated, and all second preference votes are redistributed. The candidate with most votes after these supplementary votes are added is the winner.
  • European Parliament elections are done according to the d’Hondt method which, more-or-less accurately, gives a proportional share of seats based on share of vote. For example, in the 2014 European Parliament Elections, the percentage of votes/seats won was: UKIP 26.6/32.88, Labour 24.43/27.40, Conservative 23.05/26.03, Green 6.91/4.11, SNP 2.37/2.74, and so on.
  • In London council elections, each ward elects up to three representatives.
  • There are many other systems in use in the UK. See here for all the details.

Clearly, no voting system is perfect (this is actually scientific fact: just see New Scientist‘s article if you don’t believe me), but we need to make votes count. Some ways include more even-sized constituencies so each vote is equally valuable, instant easy right to sack any MP / call a by-election, direct voting by the population, easily triggerable referenda, and so on. But changing the electoral system is key.

My proposal

Whilst I don’t want to break the link between MP and constituency, nor introduce two kinds of MP, I think the best solution is either a proportional system based on voting regions, e.g., the four nations or sub-regions thereof, or a London-style Additional member system with the current system supplemented by proportional elected regional MPs.

The 2015 General Election results were a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. Indeed, they were a farce. Let’s move into the twenty-first century.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

References
Full results: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results

Scottish Parliament Electoral System: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/visitandlearn/Education/16285.aspx
European Parliament Electoral System: http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/your_meps/european_elections/the_voting_system.html
Other voting systems used in the UK: http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/voting-systems/
European Parliament Election Results 2014: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2014_(United_Kingdom)
New Scientist on the impossibility of fair elections: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627581.400-electoral-dysfunction-why-democracy-is-always-unfair.html#.VVYou2dFCM8

Featured image from http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/06.11/images/vote-toss.jpg

 

General Election 2015 Predictions: Aftermath

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The 2015 General Election is almost done, with less than a dozen seats left to declare. David Cameron has won, and with an outright majority.

Huw Edwards on the BBC said, “Nobody predicted this”.

Well, not quite nobody, Huw:

https://doggerelizer.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/general-election-2015-predictions/

As you can see, a nobody predicted this. If everybody wants to come to this nobody’s house and offer me a top boffin job and / or fat wodges of cash in return for my god-like insights, I will consider your offer.

But how did I get this right when top bods around the country didn’t? Was it luck? Was it insider knowledge? Was it a time machine or a cellophane-sealed batch of NZT-48?

Actually, it was simply a matter of being realistic, objective, and following the ebb and flow both on the streets (as a political activist, myself; I’m not a drug dealer) and in the media.

But my supernatural gift of foresight comes as a small crumb of relief because the party I voted for did not win. Also, I didn’t put a damn bet on!

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.link2portal.com

General Election 2015 Predictions

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I’ve been saying this for weeks, but I’ll say it here so there’s proof of how prescient and insightful I am, so all will flock hither to worship at my feet. Unless I’m wrong, of course, in which case I’ll promptly delete this post and deny ever having written it!

  • Everyone’s talking about coalition. Will it be Conservative-LibDem? Or Labour-SNP? Or Labour-LibDem? Or a “progressive” coalition of  Labour, SNP, LibDem, and Green? I personally think one party will win outright; no coalition will happen.
  • Despite the polls and the poll of polls saying for a while now that Labour will win most seats (if not an outright majority), I think that the Conservatives will win an outright, albeit narrow, majority. P.S. This is not wishful thinking: I’m not a Tory!
  • UKIP MPs Douglas Carwell and Mark Reckless will both lose their seats. UKIP will win a grand total of 1 or 0 seats.

Friday will tell whether I am a genius, or this post never happened.

featured image from http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/media/images/81891000/jpg/_81891191_f40ce8ec-ccb8-4108-892b-50ae511a42d8.jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

General Election 2015: Ideologies

 

liblabcon

The General Election is on 7th May 2015. So the question is, who should you vote for? 

There’s lots of reasons to vote for one party or another. But me, I like to know where people stand. I mean, where they really stand, not what they say. And whilst policies may change or be ill-thought-out, the fundamental underlying ideology which motivated those policies is key. Therefore, voting for the underlying ideology is a good reason to vote one way or another (even if some of the policies may be a tad dodgy).

The following represents what I believe to be a fair, one-sentence summary of the core ideology of each of most of the prominent British parties. I try to be as neutral, yet blunt, as possible — but you’ll see that I can only go so far on that point.

VOTE BNP if you believe in the rights of white, Anglo-Celtic Britons being put first.

VOTE GREEN if you believe that the environment is the single most important and pressing issue of our age and you believe that socialist-leaning policy can solve this.

VOTE PLAID CYMRU if you believe in putting Wales above everything else and that this should be done with socialist-leaning policies.

VOTE SNP if you believe in putting Scotland above everything else and this should be done with socialist-leaning policies.

VOTE UKIP if you believe that democracy is the most important issue of all and that British democracy is best served by leaving the EU and that this should be done with mixed / centrist policies.

VOTE CONSERVATIVE, LABOUR, OR LIBERAL DEMOCRAT if you like a blander style of politics with no underlying ideological commitments whatsoever.

SAY NO TO THE FALSE CHOICE OF THE “LESSER OF TWO EVILS” PHONY PARADIGM

Labour are no longer a socialist party. The LibDems are not really a liberal or a democrat party. The Conservatives are not a conservative nor a nationalist party. These three parties have no underlying ideology any more and they therefore cannot be trusted on anything they say.

futurama

The whole thing reminds me of the following skits from The Simpsons and Futurama.

The politics of failure have failed. It’s time to make them work again!
The Simpsons http://youtu.be/Tv5CT7r3Txo

[presidential candidates Jack Johnson and John Jackson having a debate]
Jack Johnson: It’s time that someone had the strength to stand up and say, ‘I’m against all those things that everybody hates!’
John Jackson: Now, I respect my opponent, I think he’s a good man, but quite frankly: I agree with everything he just said!
[…]
Jack Johnson: I say your titanium three cent tax goes too far!
John Jackson: And I say your titanium three cent tax doesn’t go too far enough!
Futurama http://youtu.be/Fs9P44voNfU, http://youtu.be/f69PnAUwv-E

People say, ‘A vote for UKIP is a vote for Ed Milliband’. People say, ‘A vote for the Greens is a vote for David Cameron’. People say, ‘Let’s vote for the lesser of two evils’. And most egregiously of all, people say, ‘A vote for anyone other than Labour or Conservative is a wasted vote’.

Well I say, a vote for something other than that which I believe in is itself a wasted vote. If I believe in Slightly Sillyism, and therefore vote for the Slightly Silly Party, then my vote is not wasted even if no one else votes Slightly Silly. Why not? Because otherwise, I’d be voting Labour or the Conservatives, neither of whom I support, and so voting for them would indeed be a wasted (and an idiotic) vote.

REJECT this phony “Vote Evil A to keep Worse Evil B out” paradigm.

REJECT this phony “A vote for a smaller party is a wasted vote” paradigm.

REJECT the LibLabCon who all share the same values and background, i.e., those of the ruling class and the old boy network, and who have no coherent ideology, i.e., no principles whatsoever.

DO NOT vote Labour, LibDem, or Conservative just because you always have. DO NOT vote Labour, LibDem, or Conservative because of what they used to stand for.

VOTE FOR an ideology. REJECT LibLabCon. Even if this means spoiling your ballot by writing a minority party in who aren’t standing in your constituency, e.g., the National Liberal Party, the English Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and so on.

Also, check out this political alignment quiz and this link to the manifestoes.

Happy voting!

featured image from https://poppyreece.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/liblabcon.jpg

John Jackson and Jack Johnson image from http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/nonciclopedia/images/2/2c/Jack_Johnson_e_John_Jackson_(futurama).jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120429093102

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

The Stunning Fall of the British National Party

BNP_logo_edit

Some stunning facts about the rise and crash of the British National Party (BNP).

  • In 2008, Richard Barnbrook was elected to the London Assembley for the BNP; the party had achieved 5.3% of the vote (130,714 votes).
  • in the 2010 General Election, the BNP fielded a record high of 338 candidates (the fifth highest after Labour, Conservatives, LibDems, and UKIP) and polled 563,743 votes: the fifth highest number of votes, and twice the amount that the Green Party (who got a candidate elected) managed.
  • In May 2010, the BNP had over 14,000 members — more than UKIP.
  • By January 2015, the party had a mere 500 members.
  • In the 2015 General Election, the BNP will field only 8 candidates — half as many as the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

The phrase “Pyrrhic Victory” springs to mind: the 2010 General Election was the BNP’s most successful, yet 267 of its candidates got less than 5% of the vote and so lost their deposit — costing the party £133,500. This more-or-less precipitated their decline.

Shit happens.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image edited from http://www.sparksunderland.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BNP_logo-620×250.jpg

References:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-the-bnp-has-almost-vanished-from-british-politics-10176194.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_National_Party

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2010

http://www.bnp.org.uk/news/bnp-crashes-through-14000-membership-mark-%E2%80%94-party-now-larger-ukip

 

2015 General Election Manifestos & Policy Guide

 

 

General-Election-2015

The 2015 General Election is a mere 21 days away. Please read the manifestoes of each of the main parties. I’ve also included links to policy guides. Place your vote with full knowledge of the facts.

Policy Guide: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/manifesto-guide

Match the party to the policy: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-video-can-you-match-the-party-policy-to-the-manifesto-10178937.html

Conservative Party Manifesto: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/14/conservative-party-manifesto-2015-the-full-pdf

English Democrats Party Manifesto: http://www.englishdemocrats.org.uk/policies/full-manifesto.html

Green Party Manifesto: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/manifesto/Green_Party_2015_General_Election_Manifesto.pdf

Labour Party Manifesto: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/14/labour-manifesto-2015-the-full-pdf

Liberal Party Mini Manifesto: http://www.liberal.org.uk/elections/manifesto.pdf

Liberal Democrat Party Manifesto: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/libdems/pages/8907/attachments/original/1429028133/Liberal_Democrat_General_Election_Manifesto_2015.pdf?1429028133

Libertarian Party, A Manifesto: http://libertarianpartyuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Libertarian-Manifesto.pdf
Libertarian Party 2015 Manifesto: http://libertarianpartyuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Manifesto-2015.pdf

National Liberal Party Manifesto: http://nationalliberal.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/GEManifesto.pdf

Plaid Cymru Party Manifesto: https://www.partyof.wales/uploads/Plaid_Cymru_2015_Westminster_Manifesto.pdf

Scottish National Party (SNP) Manifesto: <<forthcoming>>

United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Manifesto: http://static.guim.co.uk/ni/1429097117463/theukipmanifesto2015.pdf

featured image from http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article10057263.ece/binary/original/General-Election-2015.jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

General Election 2015: Find Out What To Think, Next!

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The General Election is a mere 30 days away and the politicians are desperately trying to make us choose them instead of whatever else is on the menu. But instead of setting the menu aside and just going for the same old dependable slurry that you always pick, open your mind up to change. I find think this quiz is pretty good. Take it and see who you really agree with (instead of who you think you agree with or who you want to agree with).

Enjoy!

http://uk.isidewith.com/political-quiz