Posts Tagged ‘Green’

May 3rd Elections

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

I am mainly going to focus on the council elections in my ward but first a bit more on the top level stuff.
These are mainly local council elections and so while national issues and the politics of Westminster have an effect they are not the primary purpose of these elections, electing inadequate councillors locally in order to send a message nationally is unwise because the skill of the particular individual is more likely to have an effect at the councillor level than at the MP level. There is also a fairly significant divide between national party politics and local party politics and those involved at the two levels may not agree with each other and so should be assessed on their own merits.

In terms of elections where I can’t vote: In Inverness Millburn I would heartily recommend my mum, Anne Thomas, candidate for the Green party. Not just because she is my mum but because I know she really cares, has good policies and has demonstrated her commitment to the local community in various voluntary capacities. In Burley in Wharfedale I would probably vote for Matt Palmer (Conservative and my cousin) if he is standing because though I don’t agree with him on everything he is solid and will do his best to do his constituents proud. In London I would be voting for Ken Livingstone because he was Mayor when I lived in London and did a really good job and while Boris has also done some good things I think Ken would do it better.

However I get to vote in Kings Hedges, and so it is my privilege and duty to do so to the best of my ability.

In terms of the people who have attempted to contact me and persuade me to vote for them there are two candidates Nigel Gawthorpe (Labour) and Neil McGovern (Lib Dem). The latter is currently a councillor and has made at least 6 deliveries of election material (some of it rather repetitive) against Nigel’s two pieces. No other parties of candidates have made any effort so I am inclined to believe both that it is a two horse race between Labour and the Lib Dems. Either the Neil really cares a lot about our vote or he is desperate.

I am a big fan of evidence based policy so lets look at the policies being articulated.

Labour: more dog waste bins, full time dog warden, litter trail from Tesco to C.R.C, Motorist rat run on Ramsden Square and Northfield Avenue [I haven’t noticed a problem on Northfield], fly tipping on Minerva Way, two Lib Dem former councillors have joined Labour, more affordable homes, 20mph citywide, ensure drains cleared, help residents clear snow and ice, start an energy cooperative [nice policy], more public seating.

Lib Dems: saved local library, want new Post Office (claimed closed by Labour), stop Labour’s plan to restrict the number of shared houses in Cambridge [as someone who lives in a shared house that is a fairly major concern for me, Labour haven’t refuted this claim but I haven’t seen them proposing it either], ‘Heatseekers’ to come and help people reduce heat leaking from their homes, money for fixing roads and pavements (apparently Labour did not support increasing this, particularly for pavements [which are quite bad]), Labour taxed Council tenants £1500 to spend in big cities, been councillor for the last four years and hard working. Helpful map and reminder of when and where to vote the day before voting.

Based on all that I am inclined to vote for Neil McGovern (Lib Dem) on the basis that he seems pretty committed and hardworking (at least for elections, I hope that continues throughout the year) and has some good policies though I might send him a letter saying “These were policies that Labour had which I thought were good and were not on your list, please do them too”.

In any case if you can vote tomorrow, do. (07:00-22:00 at a polling station near you, there is no excuse)

Who should I vote for?

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Now I am a floating voter and my final decision will be made in the ballot box on Thursday (though I have a fair idea who it will be for). It is my duty and privilege to vote and to vote for both the best candidate(s) for my constituency and the best party for the country.
As someone who likes to think that they have half a brain I want to be making my decision based not on irrelevant details such as who my parents/friends support. I want to be voting based on the merits of the beliefs, skills and policies of the candidates and on the beliefs and policies of the parties they represent.
Now obviously it is necessary to do some tactical voting under our current first-past-the-post voting system (though hopefully we will have something better before the next election) and so that is another thing to take into account.

The Peterhouse Politics Society held a hustings which I attended and which allowed me to assess the MP candidates in person which was quite useful. I found it ruled out Daniel Zeichner (Labour), I wasn’t that impressed with Nick Hillman (Conservatives) either though he did a better job as a candidate than Zeichner: he was constrained by the policies of his party from doing well in my eyes :-).

I have watched the first election debate and the second election debate and I have downloaded the third debate which I will watch later.

This afternoon I have been experimenting with various websites which claim to be able to help you decide who to vote for. I have found the experience interesting (though it didn’t really tell me much I didn’t already know).

A comparison of the various websites I have tried in order of preference
Website Pros Cons
They Work For You’s Election website
Asks how much you agree or disagree with a series of questions and then shows you your candidates answers.
By far the best interface (and data) for determining what the candidates I can vote for think.
Weights all the candidates based on how close they are to what I agree with.
Very transparent on how it is working out which party I agree with.
Produced by MySociety who have produced some pretty cool stuff.
Not quite as good at dealing with national policies – it is focusing on local politics.
It could be extended to also cover councillors and party leaders to give it both national and even more local coverage.
Vote Match
Similar to the above in that it asks you whether you agree/disagree with a series of statements and then tells you how this compares with national party policies
Possibly better at national politics as that is its focus. Lacks transparency on how it is calculating the result.
Doesn’t tell you what each party thinks about each statement as you go along.
Vote for Policies
Gives you a selection of 4 policy areas (to pick the ones you care most about) and then presents you with a set of policy statements from each party showing their policies in that area.
Uses actual party manifesto data to help people determine who to vote for I was initially confused by the interface and filled the first page in wrong and had to go back and correct it.
It would be greatly improved by better granularity on policies within the same sub-area of policy.
It only allows the selection of the one you like the best from the available options and doesn’t allow any credit to be given to the policies which would have come second (or any pain to be served out to parties who have a policy which means that I would never vote for them in a million years (e.g. “we don’t believe in global warming” (RAGE))).
Who should you vote for?
Another how much do you agree/disagree with the following statements quiz.
Has a few other political quizzes which among other things determined that I am an idealistic lefty :-) (but then I knew that) Doesn’t say how much each party agrees with each statement as clearly as theyworkforyou (though this information is available in the onhover text.
Active History
Presents choices between policies from the three top parties.
Uses actual manifesto data Only chooses between the top 3 parties and so isn’t so useful in Cambridge where the Greens have a good chance. It also feels to simple (like voteforpolicies in that it only lets you choose the policy you like the most but doesn’t give any wait to policies you would have put second). People like me who know what policies parties have can guess which is which reasonably easily.

Vote For Policies’ constituency results are also quite interesting as it indicates that the Lib Dems are wrong in their two horse race (between them and Labour) claims for Cambridge. Rather it is a three horse race: Labour, Greens, Lib Dem. Of course this data isn’t that reliable.

The Guardian’s pole of the polls indicates that the Lib Dems have failed to make the breakthrough I might have hoped for.

But in answer to the question it is for me a toss up between the Lib Dems and the Greens who both have a reasonable chance of winning in Cambridge (though the Lib Dems are more likely to win). I think on average I agree with Lib Dem policies more frequently than Green policies (but I consider the environment to be very important) however Tony Juniper is standing for the Greens in Cambridge and he is the most qualified candidate standing. However if I vote Green and they loose then I am fairly sure that the Lib Dems will win instead and that is another result I quite like. I suspect that this is a fairly rare situation for voters to find themselves in. Hopefully we will get STV before the next elections and then everyone will have a better chance of their vote counting.

Election Day

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Today 4th June 2009 is the day of the European (and local council) elections.
This is the first election in which I can vote, and I will most definitely be voting.
If you are reading this and can vote but aren’t intending to I really think you should.

Part of the reason for writing this is to solidify my decision as to who I am going to vote for. Now at all previous elections since 1997 which is the first one I remember I would have voted Labour had I had a vote. At this election I will most definitely not be voting Labour. There are a number of policies on which Labour would have to make U-turns before I would consider voting for them, ID cards and centralised databases of far too much personal data about innocent people are a couple of things which mean that I can’t support them, there are other reasons such as various wars (I marched against the War in Iraq back at the beginning of that whole mess) and their Complete failure to do anything much about the Climate Change.
Now it appears from their election leaflets that the Conservatives are backward looking eurosceptics and as such they won’t be getting my vote either.
Now who does that leave? Well there are a whole pile of loony parties a few I have never heard of and two parties that appear fairly sane and which I have heard of. These would be the Liberal Democrat Party and the Green Party.
Now my father who has voted Labour since forever and been a member of the Labour party just as long is not voting Labour at this election but instead Green. (or at least I think he is). Things have changed.
Now what is the most important issue which we face? The most important issue that we face is Climate Change. Now Blair said that and he was right, but then he was good at talking but bad at actually doing things.
We have until 2015 to cause CO2 emissions to peak. That is a very tall order but when the alternative is the extinction of 90% of life on earth there isn’t really any choice.
Now I think that the Liberal Democrats understand that the environment is important but will my voting for them tell the other parties how important the environment is?
Now the European elections have proportional representation which means every vote counts in a way that first past the post doesn’t. So I think that for the European elections I will be voting Green.
And then I ask myself the question, how much do I care. And the answer is that I care a lot. I care if people live or die. I care about the future. I am going to find out what happens in this grand experiment we are playing with our world. I am going to see millions of people die due to Anthropomorphic Climate Change in my life time. That is something I can’t prevent. The choice is this: how many millions will I watch die. I live in the hope of a better world. I believe among other things that we should leave the world in a better state than we found it.

And so here at my first vote I shall make a choice between life and death. To that choice I have only one answer Life. For the sake of the children I hope to have one day. For the sake of my family and friends and of their children. For my own selfish sake and because one of our fundamental responsibilities is the stewardship of this planet.

I think I shall vote Green twice once in the European and once in the Local Elections.
I shall never give up hope, even through the horrors we will witness in this century we can make a better world. I care enough to cry for, I care enough to live for, I care enough that even this coward will stand up and be counted.

VOTE: For Life, Freedom, and Democracy.