Monday, May 11, 2015

Vote early, vote often

#politics101 At voting age optimistically vote for your preferred candidate or party and over the next three to six years become disappointed and disillusioned. Repeat the full process above once every three or four years until death.

Note before reading, for my own ease I use the Australian term electorate. Constituency and seat seem to be the UK equivalents.  Conservative Party = Tory.

I should not make light of our freedom to vote and choose our political leaders and parties. People fight and die for such a right in our world and we at times take it for granted. It is my democratic duty and the law tells me I must vote and vote I do. I would still do so if I wasn't compelled. As Carol in Cairns wrote, you can hardly complain about governments if you don't vote.

I don't understand the US electoral system. It seems complicated with electoral colleges, primaries, chads and goodness knows what else. In Australia we received saturation coverage of US elections and I quickly tire of hearing about it for what seem like very long months.

Not so the UK elections. There is minimal reporting here and our media only gets stuck into it for a few days at most.  The system is similar to ours although the House of Lords, the equivalent of our Senate, is not elected. Local party members for each seat get together and vote on a candidate for the seat they are contesting and that person is put forward to represent the party and for the public to choose to vote for or not, probably preferring another party's candidate. Some will vote personally for a candidate, some will vote for the represented party.

The Guardian website had this terrific live vote counting interactive map, constantly being updated as results became known. I am not sure how this will appear once published as I am not very experienced with screen grabs, but any of you can see Scotland up top with all that yellow of the Scottish Nationalist Party blitzing almost all parties. A tiny blob of red shows Labour retaining one seat, Edinburgh South and the Conservatives in blue only just retaining one seat in the south of Scotland. They grey areas when I took this snapshot were undecided seats. See the red mass in the north east of England? That is where R comes from, solid Labour. Good to see John Gray of Wales lives in a red mass too, with only a few Welsh seats in the colour blue.


Here we are with the completed map. I did have a look at what happened in Northern Ireland and it was most interesting, but I won't go into that here. NI is the bit floating off to the left. Very obvious is the red London Labour Party hole in the blue Tory doughnut in the south although it does seem to me that Labour does extend somewhat into the home counties surrounding London.

What else is there to note? See out to the right of London, the small purple bit? That is the anti immigration and anti European UKIP's only seat. It seems they lost a seat somewhere, perhaps to the steam rolling Scottish Nationalist Party. I love that the winning seat electorate is called Clacton. It sounds like the perfect place for UKIP supporters. But I am not at all snooty about UKIP. With something like 4,000,000 votes, the major parties need to have a good close look at why UKIP has such high support, even though it only won one seat in the first past the post voting system. I suspect it is from those left behind in the economic growth, those who are mixed into the social problems that can arise from high and unfettered immigration and so forth. The unlikeable and now former leader of  UKIP makes a very good point that the system is unfair when UKIP won 13% of the votes but only one seat.

Now, what are those two odd colours out on the south coast of England? A Labour red in Hove next to Brighton. Well the workers for the wealthy pleasure seekers in Brighton have to live somewhere. And look next to that? Brighton itself! All those homosexuals and leftist arty types voted Green and gave the Greens its only seat. Hmm, wonder who I am thinking of now! While the Green vote is less than half the Green vote in Australia, it has increased in this election.


The surprising result saw the resignation of party leaders for Labour, Liberal Democrats and United Kingdom Independence Party with current Tory Prime Minister David Cameron doing surprisingly well.

On a local political note, it was sad to see Australian Green's leader, Senator Christine Milne retire from parliament this week. She has done very well as party leader after taking over from Bob Brown. I watched her address the National Press Club and take questions afterwards and she was brilliant. She should go into politics I thought. We she did, some twenty five years ago. Like many Tasmanian Greens including her party predecessor, she had been arrested and gaoled for environment protest action. Australian politics will be the poorer for her future absence. Thank you Christine. 

The address should be available for Australian's to view very soon at http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/national-press-club-address/ Photo from News Limited.

32 comments:

  1. I find politics fascinating, though my tree-hugging, merlot swilling (not big on chardonnay) leftie self also finds it frightening and depressing. I agree with you about US politics though. I don't understand it, and can't get a handle on it.
    As I said to Carol, my partner hasn't voted since 1975. Hiss and spit.

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    1. EC, did the skinny one become very disillusioned in '75 and never voted since?

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    2. Exactly. And he has been removed from the electoral roll, so doesn't pay fines either.

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    3. I understand, but he does forfeit his right to complain about government.

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  2. There was a big twitter campaign to encourage the younger members of society to vote # I've voted or something like that. The result was a huge shock to many people as we assumed we would have a coalition government again. Now it's wait and see time.

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    1. Fun60, I had not heard of that. I did hear what Mr R Brand got up to though, clearly with little effect. I suspect things for the less well off will only get worse now.

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  3. Andrew, it interesting post.Who will win let's wait..

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    1. Gosia, we have a result and Cameron and the Tories are re-elected and can govern in their own right.

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  4. You are so right we hear so much about the USA elections and very little about what is going on in England and Europe even NZ has very little coverage and it's next door, why is this so.
    Merle.................

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    1. Merle, I would really like to hear much less about US elections and as you suggest, more about elections in other countries. We might get a report on the result of an NZ election and that is all.

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  5. I think the U.S. is that kind of goofy, clumsy, not-quite-bright childhood acquaintance who occasionally turns ax-murderer without notice. Stupid, annoying, loud and scary all in one. No wonder the world feels the need to keep an eye on us.
    Here in the States I'm generally considered liberal of the 'flaming' or 'bleeding heart' type. Outside the U.S. I would probably be considered just slightly left of centre I suspect. C'est la vie.

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    1. P.S. And that would likely be pronounced 'Kest la vye' by 80% of the folks here, lol.

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    2. Kest la vye??
      Really?
      I find that rather hilarious.

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    3. Jac, in some ways the world trusts the power of the US but is frustrated at the inwardness focus and we know best attitude. Kest la vye, haha.

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  6. Andrew, That's a surprise that you didn't get that much U.K Election coverage. When your elections take place we might here about the last couple of days and the victory.
    Yet we get too much coverage of the US elections.
    Apparently under something we call 'Proportional Representation' the UKIP Party, having won nearly 4 million votes, would have in fact won 83 seats in the House of Commons. Instead they end up with just one seat. Some are calling for a change in the voting system. D.

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    1. Deejohn, I am really talking about the commercial tv coverage. There was good reporting along the campaign for those who were interested and followed more reliable and serious news sources. At least one of our states uses proportional representation and it seems to function well enough. Not quite sure that I would want UKIP with 83 seats, but it certainly should be better represented.

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  7. Politics. it's all gobble-de-gook to me. There are so many differing issues, points of view, possible solutions to everything. I'll never understand how any of it works.

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    1. Pretty simple River. Once elected politicians will do whatever they have to do to get re0elected.

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  8. As much as it annoys everyone, it shows that our style of voting and not first past the post is better except when the lunatic fringe parties do deals.
    And am I right that the Australian Democrats had so few members that they lost Party statis?

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    1. Jah Teh, our federal lower house is first past the post, whereas the Senate is proportional and it is in the Senate where it all goes wrong for the major parties.

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  9. I worked hard for the Labour Party when I lived in Britain. Of course there were plenty of disappointments, but better that than the alternative. Far better.

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    1. Hels, while I do vote for the Greens, my preference always goes to Labor. I could never bring myself to preference my vote any other way.

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  10. You think you tire of US election coverage! We suffer here, and dread it. The media is all over it and thinks we nobodies must want to see it for two years prior to an election. We don't! We hate it. We hate the flaming hate ads, spewed back and forth. I do anyhow.

    We only really have two parties, although there are some smaller parties that try now and then. Republicans and Democrats. The Tea Part is a far right upspring of the Republicans and even crazier. Ted Cruz, among about 30 Republicans wanting to win their parties nomination in the primary, is completely certifiably nuts. He was talking to a group of police officers, apparently unaware they are union and taxpayer supported, about his plans to eliminate the IRS, when he becomes president. Their blank stares are priceless, in the video. They held it in. But who is that stupid? How would anything be paid for? Including the Republicans beloved war machine. We dread elections here. The hate comes out, the divisions, the promises that won't be kept and everyone knows it.

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    1. Strayer, maybe we aren't so badly off then, only viewing reports and not the real action. While whether the Democrats or Republicans are in power, and the influence of the Tea Party, is extremely important to the world, I really don't understand our local media's obsession with the minute detail. Yes, you do really seem to have a few crackpot candidates, and strangely some get nominated and elected.

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  11. Haha ~ nice analysis of the UK election results. And thank you for the link to Christine Milne's Press Club address. Australian poltical focus resumes as we await the Budget.

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    1. Carol, maybe you are not quite old enough to remember the post budget newspaper headlines of my youth, Beer and Cigarettes Up.

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  12. I'm amazed at how many people who don't vote critizes a government. In my thinking they should not even think of opening their mouths to speak...Bob Brown shaped Christine to lead the Greens, she has done well.

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    1. WA, quite so. Mind, we are fortunate to have compulsory voting.

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  13. Voting really should be compulsory everywhere I think, the thought of not exercising my right of choice whether it's successful or not is almost obscene! Apathy in this area totally mystifies moi :) Thank goodness our election process isn't as long winded as in US, that would be pretty horrific !

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    1. Grace, of course conservative governments are the ones who like voluntary voting, as the voters on the left can be lazy and apathetic apparently.l

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  14. I sat watching the BBC World coverage of the results and declarations whilst waiting for my flight to Brisbane and was entranced. Others would find it boring but I was mesmerised. The British do it all in a very British way.

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    1. Victor, I too would have found it fascinating. I rather like our own election nights too.

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