Tag Archives: Politics

Tactical Voting.

Is the parties approach fair to voters?

I’ve noticed that the news media conflate Tactical Voting, with what I will call Tactical Candidature.  So let me begin with my definitions:

Tactical Voting: Is where an elector, a person chooses to cast their vote to someone other than their preferred candidate. The aim being to deny the most likely candidate a win, when the voter’s preferred candidate has little chance.

Tactical Candidature: Is when political parties collude, some parties not putting up candidates in particular constituencies. The aim being to re-direct their electors votes to another particular candidate.

I have no objection to any voter casting their own vote in what they consider to be a tactical manner. It is in fact a duty for each of us to consider how best to use our vote. It is also perfectly reasonable for the campaigning parties to urge us to vote tactically, for another candidate. That does not limit choice.

I am a bit uneasy about what I have called Tactical Candidature. In Tactical Candidature a elector’s ability to vote for their preferred candidate, or to tactically vote for a different candidate, is artificially restricted. The parties have colluded to remove voters choice. Instead of an elector choosing to vote tactically, it is forced upon them. Is this fair to the electorate? Is it properly democratic?

Religion And Politics

How politics is influenced by religion.

From time to time there are calls that religion and politics in the UK should be separated. Historically they have always been combined and if we go back to biblical times they are inseparable. It is not possible to completely divorce religion from from politics.

It has been suggested that, like in America, there should be a separation between the church and the state in the UK but, also like in America, such separation does not keep religion out of politics. It is no barrier.

It impossible to totally remove the influence of religion from politics, when some of the peoples representatives, elected or appointed, have particular religious beliefs. An analogy might be a divorced marriage. Although the couple are separated, their actions still impact upon each other.

Some might argue that the only true separation that might be possible is an atheist state, but this is a spurious argument. Atheism is non belief in a deity, or put another way belief in no deity. Some atheism is more aggressive, deliberately acting against religions, it is; less tolerant to religions than some religions are to each other, though I realise there are intolerant extremists in every religion. This atheism too is political and cannot be dismissed.

By acting against religion, atheism is then itself acting like a religion. It is evangelising a belief system, albeit believing that there is no god. Any belief system might be called a religion.

Buddhism has no deity and is called a religion, so why not atheism too? Any belief system could be called a religion. So whilst not believing there is a god, is non-political and less likely to influence thinking, believing there is no god, i.e. atheism, still influences politics.

The Absurdity Of Political Correctness (PC)

Or why you shouldn’t be PC.

I have no physical or mental defects (that I am aware of) except to wear spectacles to see clearly. So does wearing glasses, according to some ridiculous politically correct terminology, make me visually impaired? I just say that, I’m short sighted.

PC is becoming more prevalent, often making the simple harder to understand. It is like management-speak that is “spouted by self important morons in an attempt to feign intelligence and authority. Has the effect of rendering the most simple concepts completely unintelligible.” I have started to think that using PC language is not only doing many people a disservice, but can be patronising and even, sometimes, insulting. And when it is not directly insulting, it is insulting to the intelligence.

Jesus didn’t heal a visually impaired person, he gave sight to a blind man; He didn’t heal a differently-abled woman, he healed a crippled woman; He didn’t heal a man with a degenerative disease, he healed a leper.

PC wording becomes more ridiculous when we can not even quote directly from a historical document or story. Imagine if in Treasure Island, by R.L.Stephenson, Blind Pugh was Visually Impaired Pugh (so now the black spot would be delivered by a VIP). In the same story Long John Silver would not be a one legged man but a reduced limb human.

The most ridiculous type of PC is when we are not even allowed to refer to someone in the same way they talk about themself, and whilst these examples relate to disability, it is equally true when dealing with issues of race, creed or colour.

I have friends that fall into a number of the above situations regarding disability, race etc. It is because of and for them, that I reverted to natural, not PC, language. I have never, except perhaps as a child in the 60’s, when I did not know any better, deliberately insulted or upset anyone by my use of language not being PC.

The only time someone remarked on my language usage, was a time when I was trying to be PC but just ended up irritating the person I was chatting with. 

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right
to say it.” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall (often mis-attributed to Voltaire.)

Brexit Or Brit-In

Should Britain remain in or leave the European Union?

As I write this, the leave European Union campaign ahead in the polls, so let’s assume leave wins, and we go out. What happens in another generation if there is a change of heart or mind, and future generations want to re-join the EU?

In 2016 as an EU member, we enjoy various opt-outs, vetoes and a budget rebate that other nations do not get. Importantly we enjoy all the benefits while retaining our own national currency.

In 1973 we voted in a referendum to be part of the EU in 2016 we seem to be changing our mind. We could change our mind again in another generation. What then?

If in, say, 2050, we wanted to join again does anyone seriously believe we could negotiate the opt-outs and budget rebate we currently have? And as for the veto; fat chance.

If we wanted to re-join we would have no option but to accept every rule regulation and policy foisted upon us. We would have no opt-outs and no budget rebate. There would be no negotiation. We accept it all, or we do not re-join. Should we take away this away from future generations.

The leave campaign says we will get lots of international trade, and agreements with other countries, but will we. A friend pointed out to me that if we leave, we show ourselves as a country that can not work with others, prejudicing our future prospects outside the EU.

If we’re in we have influence and a chance of driving reform. If we’re out we can do nothing and we hamstring future generations because of our selfish, little britain (missing capital intentional) approach.

My heart says leave but my head says REMAIN.

Draft Investigatory Powers Bill

I recently wrote to my Member of Parliament regarding the bill of the title of this article.
His reply is a typical politicians response, which while probably factually right, does not
address the the question I posed in my final paragraph. My concerns and his response
are verbatim below.

Updated 23rd November with Luke Hall MP second response and my third attempt at getting him to answer a question himself.


To Luke Hall MP,

I have concerns about the bill referred to in the title of this message.

Whilst the law needs to keep up with the internet/digital age, I think that many of the proposed powers are excessive, maybe draconian. Aside from basic privacy concerns for law abiding citizens, I have a maJor concern on which I would like to know where you as my MP stand and, if it comes to a vote, how you will vote.

My biggest concern is that a politician, albeit a senior one, the Home Secretary can authorise snooping/spying, or whatever other name you choose to dress it up in. I think that only a Judge, independent of the political system should have this power, which is otherwise open to abuse.

I inderstand that the bill includes “Giving a panel of judges the power to block spying operations authorised by the home secretary”. This minor sop to privacy is too little too late; by the time the judges could block snooping, significant amounts of data may already have been collected. How will collected data be handled if judges later say it should not have been. What safeguards will there be?

I firmly oppose such a power being handed to any politician, it should be only in the hands of judges.

As a constituent I wish to know your position on this matter, in plain English please, not politicalese. Do you support the proposed powers being in the hands of politicians, yes or no? If yes, why?

A constituent,

Note: this is sent as an open communication that will be copied to social media.

P.s. I hope I a reply might be forthcoming this time as my previous communication elicited zero response. Not even acknowledgement.

Related documents

Policy paper Draft Investigatory Powers Bill

Will UK spy bill risk exposing people’s porn habits?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34719569
UK surveillance powers explained
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34713435
Details of UK website visits ‘to be stored for year
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34715872


Luke Hall MP’s response:

Dear

Thank you for contacting me about the Investigatory Powers Bill.

I do appreciate your concern on this vital area of national security, but let me assure you that there will be strict checks and balances in the upcoming Investigatory Powers Bill, which was published last week. The Home Secretary has been clear that there will be strong oversight and authorisation arrangements in place for all the powers contained in the Bill.

Similarly, I think it is important to highlight that there have been three separate reviews that looked at provisions in the Bill, and the Home Secretary has made clear that the Bill is a reflection of these reviews. A great deal of care has been taken to make sure there are world leading oversight arrangements within the Bill.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Luke Hall MP


 

My second try

To Luke Hall, MP,

Thank you for your reply to my concerns regarding the subject bill. Your response is reassuring and I assume factually correct, however it is not an answer to the question I asked, which was your view as the representative of the constituency I live in. I am adding the question again below, in the hope I might get a straight answer to it this time.

Do YOU support the proposed powers (in the investigatory powers bill) being in the hands of politicians (instead of judges), yes or no? If yes, why?

You can find the full text of my original communication and your reply here.

Regards,


 

On 23 Nov 2015, at 15:19, HALL, Luke <luke.hall.mp@parliament.uk> wrote:

Dear

Thank you for your follow up email with regards the Investigatory Powers Bill.

I support the efforts the Government is taking to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. In a world where the threats we face are changing in nature, we need to adapt our laws so that we can ensure we are ready to meet any challenges we may face.

Thank you again for your email.

Yours sincerely,

Luke

Luke Hall MP
Member of Parliament for Thornbury, Yate and the surrounding villages

House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
0207 219 4741
Luke.hall.mp@parliament.uk
http://www.facebook.com/lukehallThornburyandYate


 

To Luke Hall MP

Thank you for your second reply.

I have no doubt that you support efforts of government regarding the safety and security of and in this country.

You have still not answered my primary question from my last two missives.

Do YOU support the proposed powers (in the investigatory powers bill) being in the hands of politicians (instead of judges), yes or no? If yes, why?

Assisted Suicide: Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill 2015-16,

Verbatim copy of an e-mail to my MP. Only
my name and
address have been omitted.

Dear Luke Hall MP,

With the forthcoming second reading of Rob Morris MP’s bill Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill 2015-16, due on on Friday 11th September 2015, please consider the following aspects.

First and foremost, I do not support assisted suicide and I hope you will vote against it.
I think that in most, possibly all, cases of assisted suicide, the candidate is comitting a selfish act by asking someone else to participate in a killing. I deliberately used “killing” at that point, not the softer term “suicide”.

Weather or not it eventually becomes legal, I believe there are important questions that need to be considered and I would like to know your position on these and that, where relevant, they be raised by you during the forthcoming reading.

1. Do you as an MP agree or disagree with the concept of assisted suicide. That only requires a yes or no answer, something which seems alien to a lot of politicians.

2. How will the potential emotional effects to the person asked to assist a suicide be handled.

3. What protection will be given to medical staff who do not wish to participate in assisting suicide.

4. There has been much debate about the mental competence of a candidate regarding assisted suicide. How will the mental competence of someone asked to assist be assessed and who will make the assessment?

5. How and at what point will the distinction between assisting suicide and killing be made and by who?

6. Should the suicide assistant, if the bill is passed, only be allowed to be someone impartial with nothing to lose or gain by the death?

7. How will it be ensured that for both the candidate and the person(s) asked to assist neither was subjected to any undue pressure?

Your constituent,

Name and address only in original e-mail

N.B. Neither you nor the Conservative party should contact me except in response to the above communication. My contact details may not be shared for any other purpose.

P.S. I am sending this as an open communication, that I shall be copying to my social media accounts.

Half A Member Of Parliament

Should MPs be able to job share?

Two people who tried to stand on a job share basis to be candidates as Members of Parliament, are are seeking a judicial review of a ban on job sharing by MPs. Their names, their party and the outcome of the review (which is not yet decided) is not relevant to this opinion. However for more details, I have put a link at the end of this article.

I foresee problems with job sharing the position of an MP. For example when I vote for my MP, I vote for him or her on the basis of their opinions and principals. Any two people will always at some time have some area of disagreement, which I would not want between two people supposedly representing my interests as a voter.

For consistency they would both need exactly the same information on any particular subject, however such information is acquired and weather it be written or oral. There is a danger that in passing of oral information between themselves, one might be overly influenced by the other’s opinion, especially if one has a stronger character, or that a third party might not impart or express in the same way information to both sharers.

What might happen in the situation where the pair disagree on a vote in parliament? It was suggested that, in that situation, they should both abstain from voting. This too I do not agree with. I have no objection to a single MP abstaining on principal. I do not want two to abstain because they can not agree between themselves. Or worse, they disagree and one, because of particulary strong conviction on a topic, votes against the wishes of the other, or one of a pair abstains, what then? Even those who might support the basic idea of job sharing MPs must consider the implications of these questions.

When I cast my vote to elect a member of parliament, I want someone who will vote on their conscience and on principal. I do not want two people who may not agree and so abstain. In a parliament like we have now, where the majority is fairly slim, it can have a disproportionate effect, especially if there were multiple instances of MPs job sharing.

I would never vote for job sharing MPs, regardless of their political allegiance, whatever the decision of the review..

Green party pair challenge ban on MP job sharing.