Comments for en-gb 30 Thu 03 Sep 2015 15:12:17 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Cossackgirl 88.SidGlad we share an angle (if not a full point) of view.I'm off to check today's threads for pearls of wisdom scattered there while I was distributing "tea and sympathy" to some unbelievable people (two 85 year old ladies who each took about 30 minutes to describe her quarrel with the other! And that's just for starters. What a day I am having!!)One day I really must go to the Beach... Tue 23 Jun 2009 18:51:18 GMT+1 Sindy Cossackgirl - agreed, you'd have to have NOTA (or something like it) if voting was compulsory. But I also think that anyone who really can't bring themselves to vote for anyone at the moment (bearing in mind we have a fair range of options available) should give some indication of where their sympathies lie. Mon 22 Jun 2009 22:04:07 GMT+1 Cossackgirl 75. SidSorry I wasn't here before - I am afraid I am quite nocturnal in my blogging activities, RL being what it is.My point about NOTA is different and a tad personal. I only want it if COMPULSORY voting is introduced, which is some time away, but I believe is not such a bad idea. Presumably, there will be some punitive measure (a fine?!) for the transgressors, which some people will choose to pay out of principle. What I want is a facility for the disenchanted to say "a pox on all your houses" without it costing them money, but not involving a trip just to spoil a ballot paper (that can be done even accidentally). If you don't want NOTA how about "VOP" - voting under protest! Anything to register disenchantment under obligation.As to your first point, yes, I know, I know, but chin up, with Labour such a disaster - who knows, second place may be just around the corner... Mon 22 Jun 2009 19:27:08 GMT+1 Sindy D McN - no, that's not tactical voting, because it is guaranteed not to work. Your second preference votes only come into play if your first preference has been eliminated from the contest.This applies to STV and AV. Mon 22 Jun 2009 17:16:10 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid 83, Going tomorrow. Mon 22 Jun 2009 16:15:48 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid 83, When we vote for Lib Dem leader or president, I never vote for more than one person because I don't want anybody else moving up. Or I put the second favorite last if my choice is the number one favorite. Is that tactical voting? Mon 22 Jun 2009 16:11:20 GMT+1 Sindy D McN @ 81Depends what you mean by tactical. As regulars here will know, I'd favour STV in multi-member constituencies. With STV you can vote for your first preference even though you might think they don't stand a chance, as your second preference will come into play if your first choice is excluded.You could, of course, vote for a candidate you don't like - would that count as tactical?How was France, by the way? Mon 22 Jun 2009 15:50:09 GMT+1 David_McNickle fJd 76, It achieves nuffink. You might as well stay home. Unless you live in a country where voting is compulsory. Mon 22 Jun 2009 15:32:33 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid 75, Are you saying that you can't have tactical voting with other kinds of voting? Mon 22 Jun 2009 15:30:14 GMT+1 Sindy Chris @ 77 - the problem is, who is going to give NOTA teeth? Certainly not parliament. It's an appealing idea in some ways, but unlikely to happen. Mon 22 Jun 2009 12:45:49 GMT+1 Sindy fjd @ 76At the moment, people express their dissatisfaction with what's on offer by not voting or by voting for what one might call 'fringe' parties. (Someone has pointed out elsewhere that a low turnout can also be interpreted as general satisfaction with the way things are.) The main problem I see with that is that we don't know why people don't vote - and the same applies to NOTA.Perhaps we should have a NOTA option with the requirement that you give a brief explanation (e.g. no party left wing enough, no party pro-animal rights, no one in favour of capital punishment, no independence for Wessex candidate etc.) Mon 22 Jun 2009 12:43:12 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti corneliac1234 @ 73, your URL is removed every time you post it. It seems to be a bit of a waste of your time, really. Mon 22 Jun 2009 12:22:25 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti Sid, if NOTA had some teeth, like if it won then nobody went to parliament, or they were all put in the stocks, or something, then people might well use it rather than vote for the two main parties; and if they did that, the Lib dems might even win through being disliked by fewer of the people who vote Lib Dem than the two main parties are by people who vote in a despairing way for the one of them they detest less. Mon 22 Jun 2009 12:10:37 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn Sid (75)"NOTA - despite many people arguing for this, I really don't see the point - what does it actually achieve?"Well Sid, I think if people felt that if they had a vote that gave them the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction, (dissatisfied enough to feel that even the nearest party to representing them is too far away to justify their vote), wouldn't this at least get more people out of the armchair and into the polling booth? And, wouldn't the opportunity arise between the armchair and the booth for the voter to change their mind in the act of putting the X on the ballot? We often hear that a number of people don't really know how they will vote until they get into the booth despite what polls say. Polls have been wrong you know. You never know it might even go in your favour? Mon 22 Jun 2009 09:58:59 GMT+1 Sindy Cossackgirl - yes, we could elect 450 Lib Dem MPs - the problem is, people say they'd like the Lib Dems, but they won't win, so they vote for the least worst of the other two. It is a problem with FPTP that it encourages tactical voting (i.e. not voting for what you want, but voting against what you don't want.)NOTA - despite many people arguing for this, I really don't see the point - what exactly does it achieve? Mon 22 Jun 2009 09:02:07 GMT+1 David_McNickle I thought it was Eddie Mayor. Mon 22 Jun 2009 08:54:31 GMT+1 corneliac1234 <RICHPOST> A very healthy activity and highly recommended for other offices.<BR /><BR />Cornelia Cunningham<BR />[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator][Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]</a> </RICHPOST> Mon 22 Jun 2009 06:31:25 GMT+1 Cossackgirl (70) Or even Eddie Mair. Sun 21 Jun 2009 20:45:02 GMT+1 needsanewnickname Welcome, ladyallotmenteer.The PM report on the FM switch-off was featured on 'Feedback'. The story looks as if it'll run and run. Sun 21 Jun 2009 19:23:09 GMT+1 ladyallotmenteer I have just gone through the performance of becoming a blog member just to say that I am a huge fan of P.M. and Eddie Mare. I love his sensitive approach and that he can introduce humour and irony in a way that no one else can.Keep doing what you are doing.Thanks Sun 21 Jun 2009 18:13:35 GMT+1 Cossackgirl Oops, I am a bit too late to catch Quentin_Cripes, I did enjoy his 42/57/61.a few reflections:1/ meritocracy and the quality of our chosen representatives. Trusting somebody to represent us in Parliament, most people would want a person "just like us", only a very much better, stronger, purer version of ourselves, closer to the ideal we aspire to. In a word, a CHAMPION to speak and act on our behalf. Stands to reason that nobody wants to vote for a morally degenerate character. Which in part accounts for the total outrage over expenses, dashing the "knight without reproach" image (on a subliminal archetypal level, I hasten to add). Feet of clay, and all that...2/ I have always voted LibDem and I noted a prolonged and very interesting debate on FPTP vs PR on this Blog. A few years ago in the middle of a live family debate on this topic, I just had to ask isn't it true that there is a LibDem candidate in EVERY constituency during the General Election. Yes. Then, if the electorate wanted it so, they could return a LibDem Government, couldn't they? Not without PR, say my dear families. Excuse me, but if the PEOPLE want it, they CAN elect 450 LibDem MPs or some such number and we shall have a LibDem government under FPTP. Interestingly enough, these days Nick Clegg is saying precisely that when asked about future coalitions. No, he wants to be elected to government. Good for him.3/ Reluctance to vote at all is normally a sign of contented electorate, even though low turnouts give democratic legitimacy a dodgy tinge. If one of our big Parties announced that, upon being elected, they will introduce capital punishment, conscription and the basic rate of tax of 45%, what do you reckon the turnout is likely to be then? I am old enough to remember Michael Foot's "longest suicide note in history" Manifesto and its aftermath. People will RUN to the polling booths if they see any good reason for it. So I support compulsory voting with NOTA and fixed-term parliaments. Sun 21 Jun 2009 17:49:08 GMT+1 Thunderbird Can you believe that weve had the British Grand Prix and the planet hasnt warmed up enough for us all to spontaneously combust..... Phew Sun 21 Jun 2009 17:34:10 GMT+1 needsanewnickname Thanks, Charlie, an interesting read. Sun 21 Jun 2009 16:58:46 GMT+1 Sindy Bon voyage! Sun 21 Jun 2009 15:42:15 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid 58, I'll mull that over in France. Sun 21 Jun 2009 15:26:15 GMT+1 Charlie Some of the detail of how it all came about.The Telegraph's "Rat Boy" has done well. Very well. A name to look out for... Sun 21 Jun 2009 14:30:25 GMT+1 nikki noodle bon voyage Quentin I have enjoyed following this discussion.and I am thinking about having ONLY candidates names on ballot papers (@36) - that does sound like a very good idea. Sun 21 Jun 2009 13:55:37 GMT+1 Sindy QC @ 61 - likewise. Sun 21 Jun 2009 13:27:43 GMT+1 Quentin_Cripes Sid @ 60I salute your commitment to democracy - but I wonder if you would hold to it as you mounted the scaffold in Trafalgar Square on your way to the guillotine.I agree with you that a system of completely independent individuals would not function and you would need some form at least of allegiance (though that allegiance might well be nuanced and changeable). I don't propose to ban parties - just to redress fairly radically the balance of power away from the organisation and towards the individual.I don't *insist* that electors vote wisely - I just want to see a system which *encourages* them to vote in an informed and thoughtful way.I am off for a few days now - so thanks for an enjoyable discussion. I get the feeling that we are not so far apart. Sun 21 Jun 2009 12:46:14 GMT+1 Sindy QC @ 57I agree with some of what you say ...BUT: I'd always prefer a worse government people had chosen to a better government they hadn't.I don't use maverick as a pejorative term in this context - but I do think that a parliament full of mavericks would struggle to function efficiently.And finally - you do seem to want to insist that people vote wisely; I'd like that, but I don't think you can insist on it, any more than you can insist that someone goes to a decent garage mechanic. Sun 21 Jun 2009 12:14:31 GMT+1 Charlie I rarely listen to rumours. I just spread them! So, now we know where to look first..."Obama Justice Department Loves SecrecyBy Scott HortonMore evidence of the Obama teams repudiation of its commitment to transparency, this time as it tries to keep Dick Cheneys darkest secrets. Todays Washington Post reports (on page A17, which is where the paper generally buries the truly important news):..." Sun 21 Jun 2009 12:05:58 GMT+1 Sindy D McN @ 56Your 44 picked me up on my 38 which was a reply to Quentin's 36. If you look at 36 and 38 you will see that we (Quentin and I) were talking about general elections - hence the references to MPs, constituencies, STV in multi-member constituencies etc.Your complaint ("You forgot Distrint and County Council elections. Or Unitary if you've got one.") is rather like RSM's complaints - i.e. takes my comments out of context.Nonetheless, it was offensive of me to liken you to RSM, and I unreservedly withdraw my flippant remark. Sun 21 Jun 2009 12:03:18 GMT+1 Quentin_Cripes Sid @ 49"the whole point of a democracy is that everyone has a vote and they can use it how they like"No problem with that. All I'm against is presenting information to voters which actively encourages them to use their vote in an irresponsible and prejudiced way."Elected dictators? They behave like that already!"Precisely. I think what we both want is pretty similar."a higher turnout would make them think more people are watching them"Holding the government to account is a full time job and is much better done by a few, well informed people with power, than by large crowds of the semi-engaged. It is what the House of Commons ought to be doing."who decides what's good?"I think the people are (a) good at assessing outcomes, and (b) fairly good at assessing people's character - particularly if they have a chance to become familiar with a person and how they act. They are not generally good at evaluating complex policy issues. People know whether a car is running smoothly and have a reasonable chance of choosing a credible mechanic - but not very many people could tell you how to fix the engine.This is not because I think that people are stupid (some are and some aren't) - but just that they do not have the time or inclination to read themselves into making a complex decision. And why should they?"Would you be happy with no voting at all under a benign dictator?"I would be delighted with a benign dictator - all the benefit of good government with none of the slog. But I wouldn't trust the dictator to remain benign very long - power corrupts etc."if they were all mavericks, nothing would get done.""Maverick" is just a pejorative label given them by the party whips. People like Charles Clarke and Frank Fields are probably a couple of the best ministers that Labour has had - and they certainly have coherent policy programmes. But now they are labelled "mavericks" only because they refuse to take instruction from the party mafia. The best are exiled to the back benches while some of the worst make it through to the front bench. Sun 21 Jun 2009 11:15:09 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid 55, What you mean 'we', Kemosabe? Sun 21 Jun 2009 10:52:50 GMT+1 Sindy D McN @ 52We were talking about general elections. Not district or County or European or Unitary or school parent governor or local horticultural society or students' union. Sun 21 Jun 2009 09:54:51 GMT+1 David_McNickle Is a Florentie death by eating too many of them or by throwing them at someone? Sun 21 Jun 2009 09:18:57 GMT+1 David_McNickle fJd 51, Just sent a new Glass Box, but we are off to France for two weeks. As I said elsewhere, the front door key is in the doghouse with doberman. Pincher to see if she bites. Sun 21 Jun 2009 09:08:52 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid,OK, you didn't."When we vote in this country, we vote for two things: a local MP who represents our constituency, and a national government, which runs the country. We have to do these two things with a single vote, and it really doesn't work." Sun 21 Jun 2009 09:00:58 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn There is a cover up happening on parliamentary reform. Don't listen to what they say until you see tangible action. Don't be fooled by them when they say it will be put out to independent bodies. What, who are these independant bodies!? Sun 21 Jun 2009 08:50:39 GMT+1 Sindy D McN @ 44No I didn't - you're turning into RSM. Sun 21 Jun 2009 08:41:08 GMT+1 Sindy QC @ 42The elitism I referred to was to do with voters - you seem to be suggesting that if they don't know who they're voting for without the benefit of party labels they shouldn't be voting. But the whole point of a democracy is that everyone has a vote and they can use it how they like.Elected dictators? They behave like that already! I'd hope that a higher turnout would make them think more people are watching them - especially if we abolished safe seats (which STV would accomplish)."I am more interested in good government than in representative government." Ah, I see. Again, I'd say that we get the government we deserve. If we persist with a crappy voting system and voter apathy, we're never going to get good government. Personally, I'd rather have representative government than good government (who decides what's good? Would you be happy with no voting at all under a benign dictator?).I do agree (as Cossackgirl suggests) that parties of one sort or another will always emerge. I've nothing against maverick MPs - but if they were all mavericks, nothing would get done. Sun 21 Jun 2009 08:38:33 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn This post has been Removed Sun 21 Jun 2009 08:34:33 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn Quintin, Sid, Chris, Cossackgirl.You see, you throw the classic problem that us mere mortals have to grapple with at election time that no politician does.I agree with all of you in some of the things you say. Enough so as cause a dilema about whom I give my vote to. Imagine if/when you get four really, really good candidates standing in the same constituency. Couldn't they share it or something for six months or a year each until the next election?But, in an election, only one of you would be elected in any said constituency. Also, no candidate will ever expose themselves by revealing what is not good about their policies. I would have to rely on candidates to denigrate each other unless it was all done in a gentlemanly manner. I guess thats politics party politics though. Wouldn't there be an argument for the good old public hustings and meetings of old as well as TV and radio dissemination? I don't know?Just One question for Quintin @ 42in which you said;"then that is exactly what people are crying out for: not MPs who are like us (as many of the pm panel argued for) but MPs who are outstanding and command our respect".If we have MPs who are outstanding and command our respect, I fail to understand why on earth they can't be like us as well? Isn't this inverted elitism or just an unfortunate choice of words on your part? Sun 21 Jun 2009 08:27:16 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid 32, Work on it. We are off to France for two weeks. The front door key is in the dog house with the doberman. Sun 21 Jun 2009 07:59:20 GMT+1 David_McNickle C_G 35, Thank goodness I can't vote. Sun 21 Jun 2009 07:57:23 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid 38, You forgot Distrint and County Council elections. Or Unitary if you've got one. Sun 21 Jun 2009 07:56:06 GMT+1 David_McNickle How does one Cripe? Sun 21 Jun 2009 07:53:59 GMT+1 Quentin_Cripes Sid @ 38: if "elitism" means favouring an entrenched or hereditary group, then I am not elitist. But if it means favouring meritocracy, then that is exactly what people are crying out for: not MPs who are like us (as many of the PM panel argued for) but MPs who are outstanding and can command our respect.I don't want to exclude anyone from voting. You don't have to have a university education to find out the name of the politician you want to vote for and see it you like them. If you lose your vote because you can't be bothered to do that, then you haven't lost anything that you value.The people who get hot under the collar about high voter turn out are not the apathetic voters on the margin, but the politicians who want to claim a "democratic mandate", which they think authorises them to behave like elected dictators. I am more interested in good government than in representative government. Up to a certain point, there is no conflict between the two. Proper democracy is very good at throwing out the incompetent and corrupt. But democracy starts to be a problem when you start asking people questions which they are not qualified to answer. I don't want to be asked whether we should accept the European constitution - I haven't even read it (and neither have 99.9% of the rest of the electorate). Politicians who demand such referendums are using the people as a pawn in their own political games. Trying to present complicated policy decisions in a way that encourages popular participation inevitably means simplifying and sloganising, and it doesn't take the electorate long to work out that they are being patronised.Sid @ 30. The electorate do not need to know what 646 MPs stand for - just what the candidates in their own constituency stand for. And I would anticipate some kind of system of primaries, so that the final round of voting in each constituency was reduced to 2-4 candidates.My "Royal Commission for Hustings" would give you all the platform you needed to communicate with the voters without all that tedious, intrusive door-stepping. And the process of rigorous debate that it would encourage would also cut out most of the superficial celebrity candidates.Cossackgirl @ 41. I agree: the model of the "maverick" MP is exactly what I would like to see spread.I also agree that you would need some sort of party groupings in order to make it possible to form governments - and that these would probably emerge anyway as did the "Canningites", the "Pittites" etc. in the mid 19th C. These groupings exist today - the only difference is that they conduct their battles at Party HQ and not in the Commons.Real power would lie with the MPs and not the grouping or organisation, which would become fluid as MPs shifted their allegiances. In the current situation, the "Brownites" would have melted away long ago. Sun 21 Jun 2009 06:50:41 GMT+1 Cossackgirl 39. Chris_Ghoti" I'd be strongly in favour of voting for the individual rather than for the party, as a general thing."I agree in principle, simply because I am more into people than institutions (because they are the devil ;o)).A couple of points:1/ More than a few colourful, independent-minded long-standing MPs have such a personal following in their constituencies that, so long as they represent a certain political Party, that Party gets elected. BUT, if things went pear-shaped in Parliament, those MPs could stand as Independents and still get elected. I think there were some precedents in the past, but no names come to mind right now. Some such acquire the soubriquet of "maverics MPs" or "real characters" and the whips leave them alone as much as possible, but others are just truly strong and independent in spirit, but see their Party program as the best deal going.2/ There is a limited number of options on every issue confronting human society since the dawn of time. Opinions are distributed along the line between the polar opposites, but the majority normally prefer to avoid extremes.So if you vote in 600+ complete individuals who didn't tell each other what they think or stand for, the moment the debate starts on a real life problem, like-minded, "similarly inclined" individuals will start forming groupings to push for their preferred way of doing things. They will give themselves collective identities through names such as Jacobins, or Conservatives, or Bolsheviks, or Liberals, or Christian Democrats. And you are back to political parties in no time. There is always good old Anarchy (the mother of order), of course, but even Bakunin finally reluctantly accepted that before everybody becomes individually free, human nature must undergo radical changes. Certainly after the Russian revolution large territories were temporarily left to total anarchy, and the people who suffered violence, rape and horrendous abuse of every sort were the poor, the weak, the old, the young, the sick. I believe there were towns in the American Wild West begging for a sheriff, due to similar problems, or have I watched too many cowboy films? Sat 20 Jun 2009 22:52:15 GMT+1 Sindy Chris @ 39That's not how I read it at all. But it could be me that's wrong.In any case: when I last stood for parliament, there were approx 70,000 electors in the constituency. How might I have communicated with them all? I was a teacher, I couldn't take time off work - so what would you suggest? At one minute per household, it would take about 600 hours, or 80 days (at 8 hours a day) to knock on every door and talk to people.Without the image projected by the party, it would be impossible to tell enough people what your policies were. I suppose that's why we have political parties. But people don't even know what the parties stand for - how could they know what 646 individuals stand for? Sat 20 Jun 2009 22:31:14 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti Sid @ 38, I think that meant "if people don't know [what party] the person they are voting for [is in]," etc., in the context. I could be wrong. It seems to me to be a really good idea, though: I'd be strongly in favour of voting for the individual rather than for the party, as a general thing. And I'm heartily blowed if I see why advertising for political parties, at considerable expense, is worth having, especially since it is almost entirely devoted to saying how bad the other lot are rather than saying how good the party broadcasting it is. (No, not the Lib Dems so much, but if the Big Two aren't allowed to we can't very well make exceptions.) Sat 20 Jun 2009 20:26:31 GMT+1 Sindy Quentin @ 36When we vote in this country, we vote for two things: a local MP who represents our constituency, and a national government, which runs the country. We have to do these two things with a single vote, and it really doesn't work.Why don't you think that our national government should reflect roughly the way the people have voted? If it really doesn't matter, we might as well just go for dictatorship."If people do not know the person they are voting for, then what are they doing in the polling booth at all?"I'm afraid that sounds a bit elitist to me. I agree that it would be nice if more people were more knowledgeable about politics - but would you really remove the vote from those who knew less than you? Sat 20 Jun 2009 20:19:22 GMT+1 nikki noodle @ 36I think I agree with everything you say. thankyou.n-n Sat 20 Jun 2009 18:55:32 GMT+1 Quentin_Cripes Sid @ 29I agree that STV is not nearly so bad as closed list. But the argument for STV is still based on proportionality, which I think is a red herring. Proportional to what? Colour of eyes? Which football team people support? Criminality? You wouldn't ask for proportional representation in respect of these things. Then why do you require proportionality in terms of political party? This amounts to the selection of MPs based on the organisation to which they are prepared to sell their right of independent judgement. A right which they hold on trust from their electors.The argument for PR rests on the assumption that when we go to the polls we are voting for a particular political party. Anyone who votes for a *party* cannot be surprised when they find that the *person* they have voted for is a venal, third-rate party hack.We should back a system that will encourage us to vote for high callibre men and women, who will use their judgement independently.You will not achieve this by a new formula for counting votes; but rather by measures that will cut the dependency of candidates on party to get elected.For starters remove all mention of political party from the ballot paper. If people do not know the person they are voting for, then what are they doing in the polling booth at all?Secondly, ban all political advertising, which only hands power to the people who have the richest friends.Third, set up a Royal Commission for Hustings to organise and broadcast e-hustings for every constituency in the country, so that everyone would have a chance to find out, on a level playing field, what the men and women they are electing are made of. Sat 20 Jun 2009 18:36:19 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti DMcN @ 31, I can get it down to ten words that cover all the systems."Vote for whoever you want to; the government gets in." Sat 20 Jun 2009 17:36:28 GMT+1 Sindy re 31, 32That particular article is the longest one I've written ... I keep adding to it. Sat 20 Jun 2009 17:35:19 GMT+1 invisibleatheist 28. Cossackgirl I live with a Main Redactor then! I'll tell her when she's in a good mood.Meanwhile, young people are being gassed and shot on the streets of Tehran. Army officers have refused to fire on demonstrators, most of whom are carrying the Koran as defence. Videos here and news all the time on Twitter. Sat 20 Jun 2009 16:42:11 GMT+1 Sindy David @ 31Ah yes - I remember you asking if anyone could provide a 25 word summary of different systems - is that right? Shall I have a go? Sat 20 Jun 2009 15:51:16 GMT+1 David_McNickle Sid 29, Your 'here' was wayyyyy too long...and you conned me into looking at it again. Sat 20 Jun 2009 15:38:27 GMT+1 David_McNickle fJd 18, I've got another Glass Box to send. After I photographize it. Sat 20 Jun 2009 15:36:50 GMT+1 Sindy Quentin_Cripes @ 27PR would only make it worse if we went for a closed list system, and I don't hear anyone calling for that. (Such a system is bad, of course, because the parties have power over who gets on to the lists.)STV in multi-member constituencies (which most people who have looked into this agree would be the best system) allows the voter not only to choose between parties but also to choose between the various candidates within their preferred party. This takes power from the parties and gives it back to the voters.The system we have at the moment gives huge power to the parties. Where I live, once a candidate is selected by the Conservatives, I know who's going to be my MP for the next 40 years. What choice is that?I've written more here if you're interested. Sat 20 Jun 2009 14:37:54 GMT+1 Cossackgirl 25.IASorry, your post wasn't there last night before I left!I suspect they mostly allow Latin phrases, but still salute you. As the poet said, "We sing a song to the madness of the brave!"In fact, "redactor" in Russian means "editor", quite correctly reflecting that the expenses have been "edited". Thus the Editor-in-Chief would become "the Main Redactor" (as of a Russian newspaper, or a publishing House etc). Sorry about this light philological diversion... Sat 20 Jun 2009 13:42:16 GMT+1 Quentin_Cripes Agree with invisibleatheist - it was a beauty contest of names with hardly any interesting ideas. At the heart of the current problem are political parties, which behave like Mafia, subverting the decision of a court of law by packing the jury with its own appointments, then systematically bullying and bribing their people to make sure they do what they are told. Who with any integrity would become an MP in such a system?Not one of the PM speakers even began to address this central problem. PR would of course make the problem worse by giving party even more control of MPs' re-election.Really disappointed that there is no-one there I can vote for. Sat 20 Jun 2009 04:33:06 GMT+1 Cossackgirl Actually I came here to post on a different matter, still concerned with expenses. Human nature being what it is, little has surprised me, except perhaps for the meanness of that claim (rejected) for a fiver put into the collection plate in church.UNTIL TODAY, when it was reported on the BBC TV that a Labour Goverment member, the Welsh MP rejoicing in the name of Huw Irranca-Davies, submitted a claim for the case of whisky he had donated to a local raffle. We were not told whether his claim was paid or rejected, but that it was MADE is enough for me. I have been often asked to draw the tickets, after giving a talk to some WI branch, in a modest raffle to which some old ladies donated a box of biscuits, or a cheap bottle of wine, or some bubble bath. I have a stash of small unwanted presents (scented candles mostly) that I bring to add to those tables.And then - they add the proceeds of the raffle to my fee, to make a bigger donation between us to the Macmillan Cancer Support. Fri 19 Jun 2009 19:44:34 GMT+1 invisibleatheist 22. CossackgirlReductio ad absurdumI fear no mods Fri 19 Jun 2009 19:39:47 GMT+1 invisibleatheist 18. funnyJoedunn I just said good luck. Fri 19 Jun 2009 19:36:04 GMT+1 gallantSocrates All Ruling Elites are terrified that the majority should be free and most can never be in this epoch, under the current system.... and Religion and Nationalism are two Man made social constructs that help this process....along...although economics shaped in the Capitalist way that really control the actions of most people...especially when everything is turned into a without large sums of dosh you have very little control over your own actions (for most of the time)...where-ever you are in the world...hoping that the Iranian leader does not think that we are all 'evil' living in this little Nation I do have many Islamic friends...Brian V Peck Fri 19 Jun 2009 19:34:31 GMT+1 Cossackgirl 16. XVIt's just possible that you would have better luck if you look up a different spelling, namely "reducted".That, of course, originates from "reduce", which is closer to what was done with the records: the amount of information available to us was reduced, as the forms were reducted.In fact, there is an excellent Latin phrase which I shall not use for fear of the mods, but it has an equally valid English translation: "reduction to absurdity", which I believe fits the case in point perfectly... Fri 19 Jun 2009 19:09:22 GMT+1 Sindy XerxesVargas - I'll second that. Fri 19 Jun 2009 18:40:05 GMT+1 Charlie "The PM Editor Joanna Carr..."Oh Dear... Poor "Joker". What could you have done to deserve this..? Fri 19 Jun 2009 18:18:27 GMT+1 Lady_Sue (1) mittfh: you might need glasses... it looks like 'A Florentine Death' by Michele Giuttari to me - a much more interesting choice of reading. He was the former police chief of Florence, now turned author. (I know only because I happen to have read it - very good it is too).Great PM tonight - though I doubt Eddie will ever get a job with 'Big Brother' or 'X Factor' or whatever other ghastly programmes where they read out lists of phone numbers. Fair play Eddie, you did your best but I far prefer it when you are getting stuck into some weasely politician or charming some little old lady (I live in hope). I was so impressed with Carey - what a statesman. Where was Greg Dyke calling from? Tim was great and A. L. Kennedy redeemed herself somewhat.Off to see if I can vote from here or if I have to high-tail it across the border in the morning. Fri 19 Jun 2009 17:36:26 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn Invisible,Thanks for tomorrows lotto numbers. Fri 19 Jun 2009 17:25:46 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn Invisible (2 7 9 11 14 15)In broad agreement. How about standing for speaker? Fri 19 Jun 2009 17:24:46 GMT+1 Stewart Love I'm starting to get a touch annoyed at this constant use of the word "redacted". The first time i became aware of it was in reference to the documents around Binyam Mohamed's torture. Now with the MPs expenses it has been wheeled out again. Isn't the correct word "censored"?Redacted is defined by put into suitable literary form; revise; draw up or frame (a statement, proclamation, etc.).Neither of which really apply to the current situation. They haven't been revised or edited, they have had some bloody great boxes of black marker pen put all over them. Which even by the most charitable standards could not really be termed as "editing" or "revising" the receipts.It seems to me that this is one of those news management issues when the word redacted is used because censored has negative connotations. Which is hardly surprising, if annoying.What I'm more surprised by is that news organisations, the BBC included, have been taken in and are regularly using the word. Can we not go back to the more correct and clear "censored" please? Fri 19 Jun 2009 17:15:43 GMT+1 invisibleatheist Can we have the result with the cash the BBC has made alongside it?Transparency and all that, Eddie? Fri 19 Jun 2009 17:00:21 GMT+1 invisibleatheist The religion chappy is even further divorced from reality. That magnificent building can be the Parliamentary Museum, pull in the foreign tourists, get Madame Tussauds involved peopling it with figures through the ages, probably best not to have Blair he might get damaged, but all the PMs could be there, with a Gerald Scarfe 3D Thatcher, livern the place up, make a few bob.Government has grown like a cancer on our society and must be trimmed back so they aren't bringing in thousands of pieces of new legislation every year. Let them eat bread like the rest of us. Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:54:16 GMT+1 steelpulse "I see no ships"?Bernie Ecclestone's "interview"? That is a keeper, PM. Or rather BBC - I heard it too on "Drive".As to being informative - it wasn't much better than that one from years ago which garnered the responses from an overseas leader of effectively "I am not answering that" to every question asked. Sometimes as I said - silence is an option. From Formula One that may seem like a novel choice - silence. But hey....! Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:48:47 GMT+1 Thunderbird Baa Baa little sheep...... Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:47:07 GMT+1 invisibleatheist The first and most important thing to do is diss the political parties. There can be 'leanings' as markers for what candidates stand for, but they should all be independents, with all the experience many speak of, no career politicians please and definitely no whips and party discipline. Too often we hear government talk of danger to /effect on / threat to the labour party, never the country. Party loyalty which ultimately means to 'the leader' is what's sick at the heart of this system. It means that the strongest willed / most determined/ruthless gets the position and then everyone sucks up to them as they choose their gang.The army officer chappy is as naive and politically unaware as every other career soldier I have ever heard voicing an opinion. They all think and speak like him in the officers mess, it's part of the culture. Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:46:22 GMT+1 David_McNickle mittfh 4, I said not to ask me that! Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:38:44 GMT+1 invisibleatheist I'm not impressed with this beauty contest of 'names' we are asked to telephone vote for. The BBC hasn't a very good record with telephone polls, and asking PM listeners to spend out on phone calls [how much?] rather than here on the blog, for something rather trivial since it's a question of a raft of changes, not one person's preferred options.A more useful exercise might be to draw up a numbered list of changes, which everyone can vote for three of - voting on blogs is in advanced stages and I'm sure the blog techies can manage that - then the top 12 [say] can be put into the form of a referendum to be put to the wider public, perhaps via the BBC or some other extra-governmental method. While all these worthies have points I could agree with, I have no desire to vote for yet another ego who would solve our problems for us, already part of the problem surely.PR should, of course, head the numbered list. Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:38:44 GMT+1 Dr Bee ;-) invisibleatheist.. I had to hold back from ranting about various other things, like sightseeing helicopter rides andddoooops. <zip /> Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:29:45 GMT+1 invisibleatheist I'd like to hear Formula 1 was being abandoned because of the pollution factor and climate change. I suppose it will continue until the oil runs out though.Dr_Bee, beat me to it, snap! Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:23:45 GMT+1 PhilWalmsley I have fallen foul of the moderators, also the Government, since I am not allowed to blog on Windows Live. How much power does this Government Hold? They are trying to control that which is happening on the www. But they cannot contol the web. An interesting point. Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:23:25 GMT+1 Dr Bee Formula One - In the shadow of your report and interview on climate changes last night it seems ironic to me that anyone should care about anything other than ending motor sports. Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:21:53 GMT+1 mittfh David (3):So, what is [you know who] going to read? :) Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:21:10 GMT+1 David_McNickle I'm taking Brian Viner's book on holiday. He paid me to say that. PS Don't anybody ask what Viner is going to read. Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:17:47 GMT+1 invisibleatheist This old man just hasn't a clue. He lives in a closed world of 'faith' which excludes reality. A fascist supreme leader. When they start blaming the West, which has stayed clear of making comments, you know they're on shaky ground, they've already lost the fear factor. Let's hope this sorry episode damages Islam's grip on Iran and they start on the long road to modern, secular democracy. Or another revolution could be needed. Fri 19 Jun 2009 16:13:50 GMT+1 mittfh "A Florentine Death" by Michael Crichton....interesting choice of reading material. At least it's not something by James Patterson (I hate those ads...) Fri 19 Jun 2009 15:59:06 GMT+1