Electile Dysfunction – That’s Democracy Folks!


I weighed up the options this evening, I really did.

I umm’d and aah’d over what the best decision was and I’m not convinced I made the right choice.

What to do on the night of what is possibly the most pivotal General Election that I have seen to date.

I could have spent the evening playing a few therapeutic rounds of Starcraft/Starcraft 2, wiping hordes of AI led foes from a digital map with the brutal might if Protoss supremacy.

I could have stuck to a strong yet stable alternative and just sat catching up on Youtubeflix-Prime or something.

I could have indulged in a random act of caring and spent the evening looking after one of my cats, who has damaged his paw and is batting his paw dressing against any hard surface as a means of attention (I’ve recently adopted a stray, against all better advice and so am dictated to by a feline triumvirate of power).

Instead I chose the many over the few and decided to write about politics, even though this isn’t intended as a political blog.

As I write this, the polls have just closed and the temptation to phone my boss and request some leeway in tomorrow’s employment attendance is strong.  I have never stayed up to watch the results come in after a General Election and waking up a year ago to the Brexit result with my 6am alarm clock was genuinely like living some kind of Kafka-cross-Cronenberg nightmare.

I’m pretty sure I’m over my obsessive-lover’s addiction with politics, I truly learnt my lesson last year.  What will be will be and my single voice is unlikely to be heard within this countries half-arsed attempt at democracy.

I am aching to find out how things turn out though.

I also have something of a confession to make… several if I think about it.

Firstly, I didn’t really choose one thing earlier, that was just a cheap allusion to the earlier choice I made in my local polling station – and even that decision was made several days ago.

I’ve broken off writing this post at several points to care for my ailing kitty (Muggle J. Fluffmonster for those in the know); I’ve even spent time with my old girl, Minty J. Blige and even the new guest, “Drifter”.

I’ve procrastinated writing this to catalogue spare swapsies in my Sainsbury’s Lego Card collection and I always Youtube whilst writing these things… so the only thing I’m missing out on is Starcraft – and a good Gin and Slimline always fills in for Starcraft.

Secondly, I’ve committed adultery of sorts – politically speaking that is; this is what is weighing on my mind I think.

Earlier today I was challenged with a question from a work colleague (a work colleague who I am diametrically opposed to both politically and ethically but that’s not important right now).

I can predict the future, can you?

The answer to that question is unlikely to please my grounded atheist or science focused readers… Yes, I believe there are means by which I can.

My colleague proposed that by the time this is posted (I’m planning on scheduling for a 7 or 8 am release on the 9th of June 2017 – it is currently half past 10pm on election night) we would see a 65 seat lead for the Conservative party and that the Liberal Democrats (my preferred party) would be a single seat up.

Another colleague predicted a hung parliament.

I was asked by other colleagues to perform a rare Tarot reading to predict the outcome – I’d like to class that as my 3rd confession but I’d like to discuss it now to further procrastinate the discussion of my political infidelity – it’s kind of relevant to that story anyway.

I have a number of Tarot decks at home but don’t usually allow that part of my life to mingle with work life.  I’m a sucker for a good solid Rider Waite deck using a strong and stable Celtic Cross in readings – it’s the way I learnt.

I also have a beautiful Haitian deck, based on Rider Waite, that I’m still experimenting with; the only remotely occult trapping I have at work is a marble pyramid that I use for grounding – like an esoteric lightning rod.

So I often rely on Facade.com to perform readings when caught without a deck.  It’s easy to read when the interpretations are fed to you the way the site does and you can randomise the layout and deck used – additional factors of randomisation are pretty handy in divination (I’m sure papers have been written about this somewhere).

Under some small pressure, I performed a quick reading on the question “Who will win the current General Election?” and did my best to interpret the results.

In brief the Tarot was adamant that the results would be balanced – hung of you like – but with a weighting towards the current opposition.

Whether that means hung with a coalesced opposition or hung with a Labour opposition, I don’t know BUT the other thing the digitally represented cards told me was that this would only be possible with a degree of political infidelity!

And that’s why I stuck to the decision I made days ago, betrayed my party of choice and for the first time in my life voted Labour.

There, I said it… I voted Labour… the Red Peril – the Opposition.

And here we come to the crux of why I feel the need to get this off my chest and onto the interwebs – I feel that I’ve betrayed my party of choice.

But here’s the thing, I feel I’m justified.  So much so, I may well send this post to my local candidate for his consideration.

After Brexit, I rejoined the Liberal Democrats – I was one of those foolish members who left after the 2015 General Election and the previous “coalition”.

I’m ashamed to say that I fell for press spin and fell out with Nick Clegg during the coalition; only after the fact realising the monumental success that man made of a bad situation.

Nick Clegg made a sow’s purse out of pig’s ear – far more productive and decent than his colleague David Hameron allegedly did.

20170608_230554I rejoined the Liberal Democrats as they are STILL the one party that best represents my interests.  Those policies I disagree with appear to be shifting (I don’t want my Defence working friends to lose their work and am paranoic enough to think we still need nukes) and I’m on an activist upswing – I WANT to make change and the Liberal Democrats are a oarty I can get on board with…

Just a few issues though: The leader, the defeatism and the begging.

I don’t like getting all Ad Hominem but Tim Farron just doesn’t hit my leadership button. He’s presentable and argues a good argument but there’s something about him that I just can’t quite put my finger on.

The good thing is, I vote on policies not personalities and so I got over that pretty much the day after he became party leader.

The defeatism is harder to get over.

ld1Earlier this year Tim Farron emailed the membership to let us know that he had chosen a direction and goal for the party… we were to become the new opposition!

Finally a great goal, albeit the replacing of the Conservatives being secondary to being the opposition but still… a good goal.

This was reinforced with a statement that we would not – under any circumstances – get into bed with any other party in a new coalition (a mistake if you ask me but there you go – strong and stable decision making from the party  leader).

Once the campaigning was under way I even saw emails related to my local candidate, a chap who had already done sterling work in my area as a Councillor.

Shortly after this though other emails started to come through; emails requesting that I abandon my own constituency to assist key seats.


In effect the party was hanging my own candidate out to dry and poaching me to work on other areas that were “close to me”. Close in a “Londoners Patronising the North” sense – Cheadle, North Leeds and Sheffield Hallam obviously being just next door to us Colne Valley yokels.

The torrent if pressure to abandon my local area as “lost” and move my efforts to “winnable” areas didn’t let up and every single email drove a wedge between me and the party.

The party was right, the chances of my candidate winning compared to the strong (and stable) Tory incumbent or the “Who’s that you say?” Labour option were slim but I felt the Liberal Democrats had hung us out to dry as a constituency.

Even that would have been tolerable.

jb1I’m used to being the underdog; it’s when I’m at my strongest.

Huddersfield’s football team aren’t called the Terriers without reason; us Huddersfuddlians are the kind who fight hardest when the odds are stacked against us.

But the party sold us out – they effectively told me what I’ve always feared, that my vote is irrelevant in my constituency.

Add to this the news that pretty soon my ward (Lindley) is one of those being shifted to a new constituency so as to reduce the number of MPs (or something).  My ward is eventually going to move into the Labour safe seat of Huddersfield – and I mean “Safe” in a “Liberal Democrats ain’t ever winning here” kind of way not a “Starcraft family catch-all term” one.

And then… then… the begging started.

Daily, sometimes multiple time s a day “The other parties have big sponsors… please give us £25” – Shit The Fucking Bed!

I barely have £25 spare to fix the cat let alone pay for Facebook adverts or leaflets to campaign for the Liberal Democrats – Age. Of. Austerity people… sheesh.

I’m not a public sector worker who gets a regular – albeit measly – annual pay rise based on inflation.  My expendable income drops every year – regardless of which set of puppets are in power.  Seriously, Red, Blue or Yellow makes no difference to my “middle-income” ass.

Even with a pay rise, I doubt I could justify spending money on the funds expected of the membership, shit son!

So yes, by polling day itself I was pretty set on a “Save the NHS at all costs” course of action and that meant betraying my party of choice and voting for a woman that lives round the corner from the house I grew up in.

I woman I know nothing about.

A woman who couldn’t even be bothered to put my council ward on her campaign leaflet’s map.

A woman who I doubt will stand up for one single local issue that I give a damn about.

But a woman who’s position as my MP may mean that I continue to enjoy NHS treatments that are free at the point of use.  A woman, who’s potential success may mean that my best friend doesn’t die from lack of treatment, a lack of funding or his own hands.  A woman who is soon going to be familiar with my name if she gets into power… I voted for her and if she wins she’d better represent my interests!

That’s all assuming the tinfoil hats aren’t correct and the outcome was already decided by Vladimir Putin and Cambridge Analytica months before we went to poll.

Oh… and we wouldn’t have these issues if we embraced proportional representation and at least UKIP didn’t stand in my constituency… small mercies eh?

I guess I’ll have to make it up to the party somehow; I’m still a Liberal Democrat at heart. That being said, if it all goes Pete Tong I’m fairly sure I’ll stand for election myself next time… as an independent or a Loony, maybe even as a Liberal.

Ten past midnight, I’m off to bed… if my Tarot reading was right, yay… otherwise… Vive La Revolution and so long Human Rights.

Peace out!


Pseudo-Democracy #debill

Most people will have heard or read this morning about the passing of the Digital Economy Bill yesterday night.

The bill was passed 189 for and 47 against. That’s 236 MPs that could actually be bothered to drag themselves to parliament for the last day before the general election and represent their constituents. 236 out of 646.

I say “represent their constituents” but did they? I wrote to my MP raising my concerns at the bill. Not only didn’t she respond to the issues I raised but she is listed as one of the 189 MPs who voted “Aye”! I know she got my letter as I received confirmation of receipt in the post.

I’ve since wrote to her again, expressing my disappointment at her choice to rush the bill through without reasoned debate. I wasn’t going to vote for her replacement anyway but had I been a Labour supporter, I certainly wouldn’t be now.

In the aftermath of the bill’s passing, many people have commented on the potential problems the bill causes but there are positives to be claimed from all of this:

Jim Killock from The Open Rights Group have stated:

this is a huge victory for transparency

He has a very good point. In rushing through this bill, not only has the UK government highlighted that the system is broken in our pseudo-democratic state; but also we find that thousands of influential voters are now aware of the flaws. Jim Killock also says:

Thousands of people watched and commented on what would have, a few years ago, been a quiet, barely public event.

The entire third reading of the bill was documented and blogged; it makes for harrowing reading. Such an important bill rushed through by only a third of parliament; and it is there for all to see. This is what democracy means in the United Kingdom. An estimated 61 million people represented under pressure by 236 individuals, a quarter of whom will have been aware of the issues surrounding the bill, the rest just happily following the party whip.

So what does this mean for the future?

You can take part in online discussions as to what to do if you’re erroneously accused of copyright infringement.

With the general election looming you can find out if your MP actually cares enough to represent you. Mine did, although she didn’t represent my point of view. (The site linked to actually says she couldn’t bothered – but I have seen the list of MPs who voted for and against, and she is listed).  If your MP didn’t turn up then maybe you could ask them why?

You may not believe it but your vote counts. I strongly believe that our country needs political reform and at present there only seems to be the Liberal Democrats willing to push for that reform. The recent US elections were won on the basis of change and I feel that we could see real change in this country, if only people would get up and vote.

Take a look at online polls and register your own opinions, see how they compare to those of others.

Have a read of some of the more eloquent articles on the bill’s passing:

The Digital Economy Bill passed: The internet watched live as a handful of MPs ignored democracy in their attempts to control that they don’t understand.

The Digital Economy Bill: a nightmare of unintended consequences

And remember, the bill can still be passed back to parliament by the House of Lords.  It’s unlikely to happen but there is still a chance that whatever parliament we have after May 6th will have the opportunity to debate this properly.  The state the bill is in at present is a travesty; on so many levels is the bill flawed that it will need to be addressed by whoever takes power.