Tuesday, 19 July 2011

When the Pick of the Day isn't - Journalistic integrity WIN

I was reading the Metro on the train this morning and was annoyed to find little adverts for "Body of Proof" on the Alibi Channel strewn throughout the TV listings. This made it harder to scan the listings and was not on I thought. I then noticed a big advert for the same programme on the left page. So far so commercial but I also noticed that "Body of Proof" was the top "Pick of the Day". Now, I know this is the Metro, but surely "buying" the Pick of the Day is a bit rum. But then I read the review which I quote below:

Dr Megan Hunt (Dana Delany) is a police medical examiner who adheres to all the usual US procedural drama clich├ęs: she has a traumatic past and tricky personal life, and talks in the speedy, matter-of-fact, wisecracky way that all Workaholic Females In Tough Jobs have to. Quincy is available on DVD – you’re better off buying that instead.

Seems a certain TV reviewer wasn't happy about being told what to pick!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Too little too late from the Yes campaign

So on Tuesday,  the Yes campaign finally decided it might be an idea to actually explain AV (albeit in a necessarily wooly way). Two days before the referendum may be a tad too late.

I received an addressed leaflet from the No campaign a few weeks ago and Mrs. L received one from them last week. We have received nothing from the Yes campaign. I really hope the Yes campaign has some clever targeting strategy although I'm not at all confident.

(UPDATE: I also realised I got a lovely Take a Break style booklet from the tories about AV:
Your guide to voting 'NO' in the referendum
Exclusive: David Cameron: Why I'm voting 'No'
Why can't everything be a simple as First Past the Post?

I hear from a source in another tory local party that the local parties had to pay central office for the privilege of these anti-AV booklets. Clearly tory local parties have a lot more money than we LibDems are used to!

Also on Tuesday, I had a load of last minute addressed Yes letters dumped on me from someone who in turn has had a greater number dumped on them who in turn has had them dumped on them by someone who has an even greater number dumped on them! I managed to deliver the vast majority (phew!) whilst they are still of some use but it will be no great surprise that some of the more geographically difficult ones will inevitably be ending up in the recycling bin. Also I'm not sure their targetting is that great as the chances of anyone voting from one long street I delivered is approaching zero!

Anyway this letter (from that nice Mr Richard Wilson apparently) was again, IMHO, concentrating on politicians not people. The 3 reasons it gives in order are:

1. MPs working harder for you
2. Tackling 'Jobs for life' in Westminister
3. Giving you a stronger voice

Shouldn't these be the other way round in order of importance? Isn't empowerment of the voter the most important aspect?

Throughout this so-called campaign the Yes campaign have followed the No campaign in concentrating on politicians and outcomes rather than the actual system and the benefits for the voter.

Off the top of my head:

Real Benefits to the voter/the people:
- The result more accurately/farier reflects the will of the people in a constituency
- No more voting tactically
- No more wasted votes
- Genuinely popular independents have a better chance of breaking through

Debatable "outcomes":
- MPs will work harder
- MPs will reach out beyond their core vote
- Fewer safe seats

Why the hell haven't the YES campaign been concentrating on the clear-cur benefits for the voter rather than the rather dubious claims for the political outcomes?

The vast majority of people have no experience of an MP "working" for them, so this will hardly resonate. Yet this is the Yes campaign's number one point.

Also, the more important consequence of not concentrating on the system is that NOBODY UNDERSTANDS IT! Yes, saddos like myself who have made time in their busy lives to think about such things do but I'd suggest it doesn't go much further than that. Where were the mass mock AV elections up and down the country? The Yes campaign seems very proud of their facebook app to do this but where was the non-facebook equivalent? Not everyone is going to want to install yet another app and allow it to have access to all their details and to harass their friends. And, whille we're at it, why is it that googling "yes2av" until recently didn't return the Yes campaign page at all?

Understanding and education was the only defence against the lies of the NO campaign and people are not going to vote for something they don't understand if there's even a hint that it has anything to do with politicians.

Anyway, back to Mr. Wilson, he'll explain it for people...

"The new Alternative Vote system is simple - you can just put the people you want to vote for in order of preference - 1,2,3 and so on. It's a small change that will make a big difference.

No one can win unless they receive more than half the votes. It couldn't be fairer. Your vote will always count and every MP will have to work hard to get more people on side"

Er...no . This will read to your average person as:

1) Put the people you want to vote for in order of preference
...some magic...could be a politicians' fix....
5)  Someone receives more than half the votes

That's not to mention the whole half the votes issue.

If, by some miracle, the polls are confounded and the result is a yes, I will be delighted of course.

Monday, 18 April 2011

"AV is a stepping stone to PR" - The Evening Standard

In a typical establishment diatribe against AV full of the usual half-truths, today's Evening Standard editorial also warns:

"Voting reform, ideally full PR, is the Lib-Dems' Holy Grail, and AV a stepping stone towards it."

So what do the Yes2PRNo2AV muppets have to say about that?

Sunday, 3 April 2011

There are big lessons to be learnt from Labour's handling of the economy...Labour says

Following my invitation to help out Mr.Ed, I have found this nearly mea culpa on their fresh ideas website. In the economy section, it says

"But we didn’t get everything right – and we know the challenges of the future will be different. There are big lessons to be learned from our time in government."

I'd love to hear from them what they think they got wrong and what big lessons they need to learn.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

In which Ed Miliband invites me to write his manifesto and is usurped by a Mexican design company

I got a letter from that nice Mr Ed Miliband today inviting me to tell him what my "hopes and concerns" are.
I had hoped to post a nice scan of it but unfortunately it didn't get past Mrs. LibCync so is now ripped into little bits. In a show of dedication to my readers (Sid and Doris Bonkers) I have retrieved it from the bin and done my best:

The text of the letter reads as follows (a lot of references to "people"):

Dear LibCync,

Over the past few months I have been meeting and writing to people up and down the country, asking them about the challenges their families face today but also about the future ambitions they have for themselves and their children. I know that many people feel that Labour lost touch with the British people and so one of my top priorities has been to get out of Westminster and listen to people.

It's been a fantastic experience and I've learned so much about the challenges people face at home and in work. I've also learn that the British people are resilient, inventive and hopeful for Britain.

I want to continue this valuable exercise. So today I'm asking if you'd like to tell me what your hopes and concerns are. For you, your family and your friends.

You'll find some questions online at fresh-ideas.org.uk/priorities which I hope you can take a few moments to answer.

Your ideas are invaluable and I thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Miliband
Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party

I had a look at the website and saw that they had one of these new-fangled social media thingies, a hashtag #freshideas. Unfortunately it seems that this particular hashtag is already used by a Mexican design company. Oops!

Monday, 7 March 2011

To be fair to Labour...

As I was repulsed by this article by shadow minister Yvette Cooper last week, it's only fair that I should praise senor Labour figure Sadiq Khan for this article in which he argues that Labour made a mistake by "playing tough" on crime and allowing the prison population to soar and that they didn't do enough on re-offending. He says:

"A focus on rehabilitation and reducing reoffending was seen as being soft on crime, when in fact it is effective in reducing crime."

Blimey, it read like LibDem policy, one of course Labour relentlessly criticised us as being "soft on crime" for.

Anyway, I for one welcome this sensible progressive thinking. It is, of course, a shame they couldn't have done something about it when they had 13 years of untrammeled power! (instead of shutting down the debate and appealing to the lowest common denominator in the most disgusting way)

I look forward to Mr. Khan's support for Ken Clarke's liberal prison reforms. What are the chances of persuading Mr & Mrs. Balls though? I wonder who has the greater share of the ear of Mr. Milliband?

Update: Doh! Mr. Khan isn't a minister yet but is close to Ed M. Modified accordingly.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Coalition now on the side of rapists...

...according to Labour!

That's right, whilst we're all giving a hearty two cheers to the Freedom Bill and we're all being told that with that nice Ed M in charge, Labour is eschewing it's authoritarian ways and reaching out to us liberal types, Mrs Ed B writes "Relaxing DNA rules could reduce rape convictions".

Whilst it would be easy to pull her tawdry argument apart we know these are intelligent people (aren't they?) so we must assume this is just mendacious rather than meant. However can you spot the slight (!) disconnect between these two conjoined statements:

"Cooper is alarmed that DNA will be retained only in "limited circumstances" if someone is arrested but not charged with rape."


"Labour said this was a "huge missed opportunity" because studies have shown that the reoffending rate for rape is as high as 29%."

? Sigh...

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Conservatives for AV banned from own Conference

I hear, via Yes2AV, that the Conservatives for AV group have been banned from their own spring conference. The article on ConservativeHome from their leader is here. As always with ConservativeHome, it is the comments which are more fascinating and telling than the article. These are mostly concerned with any party advantage that can be gained from any voting system instead of any principles but my favorite comment is this from "neocon":

"Keeping FPTP is no guarantee of anything .It just produced a Coalition and produced Minority and Coalition Govts in the first half of the 20th Century.

If as Prof John Curtice and the IPPR suggest that we will see many more Coalitions in the years to come with AV or FPTP then obviously we must stop this.

My view is legislate so that we only allow two political parties at Westminster and then we and labour can take turns and only have to govern on our own." (my emphasis)

I don't think further comment is required!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Welcoming Master LibCync

I've been completely terrible at blogging for a while, this is one of the reasons:

He was born last week at a whopping 9 pound 5 and a half ounces!
There is a lot less sleep going round chez LibCync, whether this will lead to more or less blogging I'm not sure! It will certainly lead to a drop in coherency levels (oi, I heard that :)!