General Election 2015

And so it begins

A couple of years ago, I noted how the coalition government seemed to be rolling appalling ideas out the door on a regular basis, as if to overwhelm and confound attempts to hold them to account. Well, the new Conservative government has got straight down to continuing the policy.

Within hours of the result, it was announced that payments to help disabled people in work are likely going to be cut.

There are plans to bring in the “Snoopers’ Charter”, so that we can all be spied on by the security services.

And, yesterday, Michael Gove, one of the most hated people in UK politics, was made Justice Secretary, where he will be working to scrap the Human Rights Act and bring in a “British Bill of Rights”. Previous blather about a British Bill of Rights have suggested that you forfeit rights if you don’t uphold certain responsibilities. Given the last government’s form, one of those responsibilities could be not being poor or disabled.

As other people have done, I’m going to list the rights and freedoms set out in the Human Rights Act below, and ask- which ones to the Tories want to do away with?

Right to life

Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment

Right to liberty and security

Freedom from slavery and forced labour

Right to a fair trial

No punishment without law

Respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence

Freedom of thought, belief and religion

Freedom of expression

Freedom of assembly and association

Right to marry and start a family

Protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms

Right to peaceful enjoyment of your property

Right to education

Right to participate in free elections

The Snoopers’ Charter and removal of benefits from vulnerable people act against two of those rights, for a start. There are bound to be others.

Unlike 2013, I’m better prepared to argue and campaign against the coming disasters of another five years of the Tories. One of the ways I’m going to do this is by not dwelling too much on all the idiotic ideas they come out with. I’ll report on them here, so that more people know about them, but mostly I’ll concentrate on positive alternatives and actions. I’m a member of the local Green Party, and I’ll be campaigning with them on issues, as well as trying to find ways for folks to help themselves.

And I’m going to keep on writing. I’m going to entertain and inform in ways that are going to make them want to remove the freedom of expression from whatever mess Gove comes up with.

The Kippers have joined the tinfoil hat brigade

No, we’re not out of the #GE2015 woods yet… Ukip voters have been venting their frustration at Nigel Farage’s loss in South Thanet by claiming to vote was rigged to keep him out of parliament.

It’s not going to rank up there with the conspiracy theory greats like 9/11 and Diana, but there will always be someone who just won’t let this delusion go.

Even UKIP supporters shouldn’t feel sorry for Nige, he’s still and MEP and can carry on over claiming his expenses whilst failing to work for the British people there for a few years.

Source: #ThanetRigged: Ukip Voters Think There Was A Conspiracy To Keep Nigel Farage Out Of Parliament

The austerity delusion | Paul Krugman | Business | The Guardian

A long read, with economics related stuff in it, but worth working through.

Short, angry version- austerity is bullshit and held back economic recovery. The Conservatives are either economically illiterate or only imposed it because of pressure from big business and their rich friends. And Labour are a bunch of pathetic cowards because they’ve been bullied into promising to stick with a failed policy.

Source: The austerity delusion | Paul Krugman | Business | The Guardian

Pity the poor, picked on Kippers

I didn’t watch the opposition leaders’ debate on Thursday, but I’m guessing that it didn’t go so well for head Kipper Nigel Farage. I can tell this by the number of UKIPies whining about the “Left-leaning” bias of the studio audience. Here, for instance, is Salford UKIP’s moan. They complain that

Of the 200-strong audience, about 58 were Conservative or Ukip supporters while about 102 backed left-leaning parties – Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru or the SNP. The rest – 40 – described themselves as undecided.

The Daily UKIP (Express) put it that 2/3rds of the audience supported left (ish, in the case of Labour) political parties because, scandalously, they had been recruited to be as close as possible to the political make up of the country as a whole. It seems no-one has told Nigel that he isn’t the most popular person in the country, the second coming of Clarkson, from whose fundament the sun will never set. Despite the horrendous bunch we’ve suffered for the last five years, the country is mostly to the left of Nige.

And if the anger against reality wasn’t enough, the numbers don’t even support the complaints anyway. This was the opposition leaders’ debate. 4/5ths of those leaders were from left(ish) leaning parties yet, only 2/3rds of the audience was to the left. Farage’s constituency (the purple gang are just Tories with higher blood pressure, after all) was over represented, as far as the parties in the room went.

If UKIP can’t handle the fact that a lot of people disagree with their Dear Leader, then perhaps they’re better off not getting any power.

(Full disclosure- I’m standing for Salford council as a Green in the Langworthy ward. You should vote for me. If you’re not in Langworthy, you should vote for your own Green candidate as a proxy way of voting for me. :-P)

Vote for Policies

Unlike the polls that the papers and TV news always report on, Vote for Policies is an assessment of what policies the people of Britain would vote for. It’s possible I’m biased- because Green policies are much more popular than the polls would have you believe*- but I think the site’s results should be part of the wider media coverage of the election. Rather than seeing what today’s message failure has done to Ed or Dave’s popularity, how about seeing what people think of their policies.

Take the test, it could be enlightening. Also, it has now been brought up to date with all the released manifestos.

*As I write this, the Green Party is third, after Labour and the Lib Dems. Add the Scottish Greens to their rating and they edge, just, into second place.