#1 By: Cory Doctorow, December 27th, 2013 10:00
#2 By: king Luma, December 27th, 2013 10:15
"So who do you vote for?"
sadly (like many voters I suspect), I find myself voting for the lesser evil (hoping to help the lesser evil defeat the greater evil). And FWIW I vote in the US not the UK
#3 By: Martijn Vos, December 27th, 2013 10:18
The problem with district systems like the UK and the US is that it's very hard for new parties to gain any ground, even if everybody is thoroughly discontent with the old parties.
What I'd probably do, if I had a party that wanted to break open a system like this, is to select candidates that fit the popular mainstream opinion of every district. If it's a safe Labour (or Tory, Dem or Rep) district, pick a candidate who agrees with all the main Labour (Tory, Dem, Rep) issues, but is more honest and transparent, and also wants to change the electoral system to something more proportional.
And then find a shipload of money to fund a big electoral/media campaign around these people.
#4 By: euansmith, December 27th, 2013 10:22
I think in my area it is a toss-up between the EDL, BNP or UKIP.
#5 By: euansmith, December 27th, 2013 10:23
You would also need to carryout a bombing campaign against the nation's biased media outlets.
#6 By: xzzy, December 27th, 2013 10:38
Does the UK have a "write in" section on ballots? I suggest all you angry brits use that to send a statement. Not with the expectation that anything you write will effect the outcome, but maybe it'll show up as an interesting footnote and start a conversation that leads to change.
At least here in the US, write-ins are almost never counted. I'd like to think that pushing up the voter turnout with votes that no on counts would get noticed by someone, especially if turnout right now is as low as the article claims.
#7 By: Jason Lane, December 27th, 2013 10:39
Hmmm, the problem is also with the voters, I mean what do you do with unimaginable un-informedness?
#8 By: IMB, December 27th, 2013 10:46
It's sad that the evil is still evil and that it's starting to become a wash, the scale tilted toward those who pay for elections and away from everyone else.
#9 By: Nelson Cunnington, December 27th, 2013 10:52
I'm in a traditionally Conservative district which has been returning a Lib-Dem candidate the past decade or so. I'm not going to vote Tory next election, and I'm as pissed with the Lib-Dems as you are, so there's a good chance that I'm not voting for them. The alternative is Labour, and to tell the truth, I'm still pissed at them for Iraq and other lesser misdemeanors, not to mention that they have little chance of getting in here.
Since my district is Cheltenham, home of GCHQ, I have in mind asking all the candidates some pointed questions about our security services, just for the pleasure of watching them squirm. But I probably won't bother.
#10 By: emmakry, December 27th, 2013 10:55
I imagine if you were to do a similar poll in the US, you'd find very similar results.
#11 By: Jason Lane, December 27th, 2013 10:56
Think it's time we gave the Green Party a try. They certainly won't be any worse than the cretins that have been running this country, well, forever.
#12 By: Charlie Stross, December 27th, 2013 10:57
select candidates that fit the popular mainstream opinion of every district
Alas, the British system doesn't let you do that: candidate selection is done by the central party HQ, with some input from the local constituency party committee (in some parties this is a rubber stamp, in others there's some teeth). Voters don't register with a party before the election and get no say in selecting candidates.
Furthermore, election spending is rigidly capped -- spending campaign money on behalf of a candidate is actually a criminal offense and you can do serious prison time for it. (Election campaign spending on an entire general election, with 650 seats in play and multiple parties standing in all constituencies, is capped at a bit less than the campaign funds of a single Congressional candidate in the USA.)
Even if you could inject a candidate for one of the main parties who suits your agenda, their hands would be tied: the parties are much more tightly managed than is the case in the USA, and the first time your MP defied a three-line whip they'd be suspended (and out on their ear at the next election unless they did it as part of a successful back-bench rebellion).
Finally, I will point to some media bias; UKIP (zero MPs, a handful of MEPs and councillors) gets vastly more TV/Radio/newspaper exposure than the Green Party (who have an MP, MEPs, and more councillors). And the Conservatives get considerably more BBC face time than all other parties combined, despite only having about 40% of the seats in parliament and rather less representation at local government level.
#13 By: Charlie Stross, December 27th, 2013 10:58
No, there is no write-in section on a British ballot. The deposit (which you lose if you get less than 10% of the turn-out) is high enough to deter many folks from standing on a whim, as well (IIRC it's around £500).
#14 By: Ibrahim, December 27th, 2013 11:12
Voter apathy is a tool of the powerful. What's the old Alice Walker quote? “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.”
#15 By: Fascinoma, December 27th, 2013 11:22
The lesser evil? What, the green party?
#16 By: Rusty Shackleford, December 27th, 2013 11:24
I have watched various interviews with Russell Brand and the interviewers are endlessly focused on trivialities to the point that I can't even understand the point of it all. The interviewer here seems so focused on the fact that Brand doesn't vote, explicitly calling him too apathetic and lazy to be taken seriously, as if editing and publishing a political magazine is somehow less effort than punching a card every couple of years or so.
(FWIW though, I support voting.)
#17 By: phuzz, December 27th, 2013 11:24
I've not voted for them before, but every time I've looked I've found that the Green party have surprisingly sensible policies. When I looked before the last election they were the only party to have policies on the internet and technology that looked like they had been written by someone who understood what they were talking about.
Our current MP (LD in safe seat) has replied to my emails in the past, which is a good sign, so I think before the next election I shall be asking some pointed questions as to why I should vote for them, and see what the replies are.
May I also mention http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ which lists the voting records of every MP, and makes it easy to get in contact with your MP. I suggest everyone voting in the UK reads up on their local MP and calls them to task.
#18 By: tré, December 27th, 2013 11:26
Barack Obama should have shown you by now that there is no lesser of two evils.
Same dragon. Two heads, saying different things. But the rest of the body still does the same exact thing.
#19 By: Jonathan Hutchins, December 27th, 2013 11:27
I was there back when Tony Blair was in power. Nobody was very hapy with the Labor party, but every single one of the alternatives had at least one completely insane item in their policy. Here's a good social and tax policy, and let's start a trade war with America. Here's a good economic policy, except for this bit about total isolation from the EU. Good sound social and financial policy, plus we need to occupy Madagascar.
Nobody wanted to vote for Labor, but everybody understood the all of the alternatives were complete disasters. That's how you ended up with Gordon Brown.
#20 By: Andy Simpson, December 27th, 2013 11:27
And unfortunately, a measure that would have helped minor parties get a toehold, AV, was voted down by the public, possibly killing electoral reform for years.
I'll probably be voting for the Lib Dems again. They've got a decent number of their policies on the books, and being the minority party they were never going to be able to get everything they wanted through. The only really catastrophic fuck-up was with tuition fees.
It's a pipe-dream, but a Lib Dem majority government would have looked pretty different. On the other hand, we know for a fact that Labour can do some mighty unpleasant things completely unaided when they're in complete power, including bringing in said tuition fees in the first place. And the less said about the Tories the better. It'll be a cold day in hell before I'd vote Tory.
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