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We cannot defeat poverty until we remember our humanity

28 Apr

I’m lucky.

I am half of a couple that hasn’t been struck (to date) by any tragedies.

Whilst we have several hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of mortgage debt (don’t ask the exact amount, it’s far too scary to say out loud) ; we were young adults in a generation where it was possible to get on the housing ladder based on multiples of our salaries; at a time where there were lots of mortgage options and we didn’t have to wait for someone to die so we could inherit a deposit or house.

We’ve never been in a situation where we’ve had to default on a mortgage payment; so we’ve not seen our home repossessed due to a sudden change in our fortunes.

Hubby and I are happily unmarried and have been so for 22 years, so I haven’t found myself in the situation of being a single mother.  I haven’t had to make the decision to not work because the jobs I can get hardly pay enough to cover the childcare.  I haven’t had to justify staying at home to raise my own child or been forced to take minimum wage, zero hour jobs because being a ‘mum’ is not considered work.  I’ve not been forced to go to work to spend all my wage on someone else who gets to see my child grow up.  I’ve not been shamed for making the choice to be a stay at home mum.   I have a partner, I had family around for childcare support so I had choices.  I was not a waster in society for having kids I couldn’t afford, or having kids just so I could claim benefit.  Oh no I haven’t had to wear those labels.

Whilst we’ve both been made redundant in the past, it’s never been in a town or city  largely supported by one specific industry so hundred/thousands of people with similar skills found themselves on the job market at the same time.  We did get other jobs.  We hadn’t slogged the years away in mining towns or manufacturing towns where the whole industry disappeared.  Where the job market didn’t exist any more.

We’ve also not been out of work and whilst been prepared to take anything, found every single employer considers you are too skilled for the job  and won’t take you on because they think you’ll leave for something better.  We’ve never not been rejected job after job after job because we’re too old (although they’d never tell you that); we’ve never had to experience the indignity of sitting in front of a job search advisor (or whatever they are called this month) and had to prove that we’ve applied for X amount of jobs no matter how inappropriate in order to get a little bit of money to feed ourselves.

We’ve always worked and paid our taxes but never earned enough to take advantage of the tax evasion loophole the corporations, bankers and fat cats have access to.

And, whilst we don’t have a penny of savings and our credit cards are maxed out but we haven’t been in a situation where we’ve defaulted so, we haven’t had bailiffs at our door. Or had to take out extortionate debt enhancing payday loans  We have had the good fortune of having parents who could help us in difficult times. And despite no savings and huge debts, we’ve never been struck down by illness that has then forced use to the food banks.  We are not vilified by the media and government as wasters or scroungers because we haven’t found ourselves in any of these situations.

There have been periods of time where I had to give up work because of my health, but we have always managed to sustain ourselves; so I’ve not had to justify myself for ESA or PIP and suffer the shame and embarrassment of assessments and trick questions, and assumption that I’m a benefits cheat when I’m at my lowest ebb.  I’ve not been threatened with sanctioned because I’ve missed an appointment at the jobcentre which is 20 miles away and the bus didn’t show up or I had no money for petrol in my car.  Or been too unwell, or confused to turn up on time.

I never been in a situation where I could choose private healthcare to avoid the long waiting list in the NHS due to the continued cuts in funding.  I’ve not had to be on benefits for years because my health was such that I needed an operation or medical intervention but the waiting list was so long I had no choice but to claim social support.  So I’ve not been stuck at home wanting to work but not fit to be there, physically declining in fitness as my movement deteriorates from the long wait and my mental health deteriorating from the lack of social interaction.

I can occasionally (maybe once every month or so) go out for a nice meal with my hubby and kids. I can afford to meet my friends for coffee and cake or grab a pint at the end of the week in the pub.  I can even afford a cheap holiday abroad every year.

My son did get a good education to A level.   and although we couldn’t afford to pay for him to go to university ourselves we’re in Wales and he worked hard and got A’s in his A levels, so he did get a good amount of financial support as a grant plus several bursaries.  So whilst he’ll still leave university with several thousand pounds worth of debt from having to get student loans, it will be nothing like the amount many students have.  And because of this he has gone to university, he hasn’t had to worry about starting his working life with £20-£30 K of debt and bottled out (and I don’t blame those who do).

I’m so lucky that I was born in the UK. I’ve not found my family in a war zone or under tyrannical rule. I don’t fear every day for my life, We haven’t had to risk our lives on treacherous journeys because the risk of dying in transit is less frightening than staying where we are. We’ve not arrived in the UK looking for a safe haven, where we won’t be raped, tortured or killed; only to find ourselves in the UK in a border ghetto, or sent back.   I’m not considered a drain on society. lazy, a freeloader or a terrorist just because of having the good fortune of being born in the UK.

I’m not one of the millions of people in this country who have slogged their entire life on a below average British wage, unable to save and reliant on a decreasing government pension despite having paid in my whole life.  I’ve not slogged away my whole life and paid into a pension I believed was ring fenced only to discover that a fat cat corporation  has squandered my cash or the finance companies have mismanaged my money.  (Actually that’s not true,  Hubby has lost tens of thousands from his pension pot due to financial mismanagement – but I’m sure those boys still took their admin fees and bonuses as his pension  money was frittered away)  However, we are not retired yet, we’re not yet reliant on our underfunded and dysfunctional social care system.  We’re not yet having to live solely on our State pensions, although we won’t know yet if our compulsory NI contributions through our life have been spent elsewhere and we may yet find there is nothing in the pot for us.  However, we do own our house or rather the bank does) but if the worse came to the worse we are in a positive equity situation and could move somewhere smaller  But my heart bleeds for those who did their best on their low incomes and paid their stamp and having planned for their future only to have arrived there to discover the coffers are empty.

It’s easy to (mis)judge others. Especially if you are one of the ‘lucky ones’ like me.  Even more so if you are one of the 13% of the population with private healthcare.  Or someone who can go to university without taking out a student loan; or if you earn enough to accumulate savings,; or have inherited substantial wealth; or have no rent to pay; or no mortgage debt; or never have to think twice before eating out; or take luxury holidays as a given.

It’s easy to (mis)judge others. Especially, in our society that uses a politicised media to spread propaganda and fear to terrorise and control us.

It’s easy to misjudge and to formulate a view based on your own life and how good the system is for us as individuals.  But we are all people living on the same planet, going through our daily lives with our individual and shared joys and struggles.

We should remember that wealth is often a matter of luck: the country in which we are born; the location in which we are raised; the education system to which we had access; the wealth and education of the parents we are born to; the pay rate for the job in which we have to or choose to work;  the health issues we may have inherited or befallen…..

If you have been fortunate in these and other areas and the system leaves you comfortable, then that is fantastic, but as human beings we have an obligation to care for those who are less fortunate; to advocate for those who are less articulate; to subsidise those who are less healthy; to feed those who are starving; to protect those who are in danger.  We should not just swan along in our rose-tinted little worlds where “we’re alright jack” is the order of the day, and the issues around us are not important because they do not affect us.  We have a human and moral obligation to care.  And if you have a religious faith, you also have a God-given duty to do so.

Anyway, I will end this rant in the hope that just one person in the ‘I’m all right jack’ camp reads this and thinks ‘bloody hell, look at what this government is doing to our middle and poorer classes, look at the shame and pain and disregard it is affording our disabled, our sick, our children , our future” .

If one person reads this and properly looks out beyond their own comforts to see that the current system does not work for the majority. If that one person then takes action to change the current course; if that happens then this long prose has been worth its while.

Thank you for persevering and reading to this point.  Much love, kindness and consideration to you and yours.

This blog was inspired after I read a very long but rather wonderful article yesterday by someone called Killy S Jones “The erosion of democracy and the repression of mainstream media in the UK”, I’ve linked to it and you may like to scan though it, but I can understand if you don’t, its pretty full on.  At the end are a few excerpts tha may peak your interest.

“…..Neoliberalism always gravitates towards increasing inequality, extending and deepening poverty. Fear mongering is sometimes used with a diversion or misdirection propaganda technique to mask this,……. …… The process often begins with a marginalised group being singled out and held to blame for the socioeconomic problems created by the system of socioeconomic organisation itself. Using the construction of folk devils (welfare “skivers” , “workshy” “something for nothing culture”, “culture of entitlement” or “dependency” for example), the political class and media generate moral panic and outrage…..”

“…The Conservatives commonly use a nudge technique called “social norming” …..or “bandwagon propaganda technique”…… It’s about manipulating a false sense of consensus, and normalising (their)  ideology……Political slogans like “a country that works for everyone” and the previous “all in it together” are examples of poor attempts at social norming. …” 

 “….(The media) process of delegitimisation occurred in several ways: 1) through lack of or distortion of voice; 2) through ridicule, scorn and personal attacks; and 3) through association, mainly with terrorism….”

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Grannies write to the Queen to stop fracking for the “health of their grandchildren”

29 Sep

this peaceful protest, granny power, speaks perfectly for itself without any additional input from me xx

Pride's Purge

A group of grandmothers in Lancashire have written an open letter to the Queen telling her their concerns about fracking.

And from 2pm tomorrow (Tuesday) the nanas will be delivering the letter and having what they call Nana Tea outside Buckingham Palace. They assure they will be bringing their “best crockery” in case she “pops out”.

Here’s the letter:

*The Grandmother Elizabeth,

*Please note that we address you in this way, out of respect for what we consider to be your noblest role and highest obligation: to protect the young.

We recently contacted you about the plight of Lancashire residents who have used every democratic channel available to them in the fight to stop fracking coming to their communities. If you recall, our elected county councillors refused planning permission for two fracking sites in rural Fylde: Cuadrilla then appealed and the decision will now be made by the Secretary…

View original post 487 more words

63% didn’t vote Brexit….

15 Aug

This number has been bandied around a lot post-referendum. It’s a statistical calculation used by the ‘failed’ side in most elections.  It’s the fascinating thing about statistics.  They really can say anything.  By ‘fascinating’ read ‘frustrating’, ‘annoying’ or downright ‘misleading’.

You could use the same statistical method the other way round.  That is , apportion all those who abstained (didn’t know, didn’t care, or didn’t make it to the polls) on the Brexit side.

Doing so we could conclude that 67% of the population didn’t vote Remain!!!!

In the hope at this point Remainers continue reading, I would say “stick with me, I’m writing here about statistics, not Brexit”. I’m using Brexit as an example of statistics in use.

Personally, I used a similar statistical argument after the May elections when I was aggrieved that the Tories were voted in. It’s not quite the same because we run a FPTP voting system so the Tories did actually only have 36% of the vote.  I still used the argument and added the non-voters to the other side reducing the Tory leadership to representing only 16% of the electorate. Shocking huh?

Clever old stats. Marketeers, politicians; economists and businesses around the world rely on statistics to prove their point and to make life altering decisions. but statistics can say whatever you want. simple use and compare the numbers with different things to get your point across.  I worked in Sales for a while I always managed to make the results sound positive , I just compared them with a different period or product or person….

We’re all human and we all have an opinion, so remember, assume everything you read is biased, even if it’s trying not to be.  Even this!!!! 😉

Post Referendum..wise words

24 Jun

My husband (or rather, partner), John, is a wise man.

The future is not yet written.  Everything now in the media and on social media is speculation (or guesswork, hype or scare-mongering). Every rule, regulation and agreement is up for change. Or NOT .  We won’t know the future until it is negotiated and implemented and that will involve our Government made up of MPs from all Parties, The EU Powers-that-be, The 27 EU countries and their respective Governments and the Rest of the World, talking, reacting, negotiating and implementing.

We can speculate, scare, blame, mud-sling, threaten and postulate all we like but only time will tell the truth.

As I said, John is a wise man. and amongst all that ranting and postulating and panic and speculation that has been shot at us from every direction today, came his post on FB.

“So, it is done. The people wanted a vote and we had one. It was always going to be close and, unlike a general election, this was a true yes or no question, so you will either be happy with the result, or not. I was surprised by the result. I was surprised by the engagement of so many people. I was surprised by the passion of the argument (on both sides). I was surprised by the vitriolic nature of the argument (on both sides).

But now we have a decision – a decision of the people. That is democracy – and I am also surprised that democracy has actually worked and that the government is going to do what the majority want!

If you didn’t vote, then I’m afraid you missed the boat. More fool you.

The next step is for us all to get on with it! A bit of post-match banter by all means, but the vote has been cast. If anything, the bile and vitriol has got worse… stop it both sides NOW.

The trick now is to make the decision work for us, whatever that means. Endless bitching and whining will get us nowhere.

Can we all just calm down, take a step away from the fight for a second and try looking forward in an optimistic way? The future is more than uncertain – it is unknown… that’s kind of how future is.

We are supposed to be a United Kingdom – lets act like one.”

Wise and patient words.  Let us reflect and listen.

Shame and Sadness rule the day . RIP Jo Cox.

17 Jun

Today I am left feeling bereft, horrified and fearful.

Yesterday I was horrified and saddened.  The senseless death of an innocent, vibrant young woman (mother, daughter, career woman, carer, ambassador, advocate), shocked me beyond words.  The images of her with her children brought me to tears.  The words of her husband broke my heart.

This morning I feel sick to the stomach.  This senseless, tragic death has become the advertising board for the average Brexit voter.  Jo Cox, peace keeper, humanitarian.  What would she think of us all? She has, overnight become an excuse for hate and a political shit covered stick with which to beat 50% of the population.

The Referendum is simply a UK wide OPINION POLE.  The result, unless it’s Remain, is unlikely to bring forth any government change that will result in a Brexit.  At best a large vote or a majority vote for Brexit will cause a much needed shake up in UK politics and EU structure.  But, based on the fact that no Brexit plans have been revealed to back up a political (as opposed to race hate) campaign, suggests that there are no plans to follow through on a Brexit vote if that’s what the referendum (opinion poll ) suggests.

When the Referendum first began, I was (and still am ) a Brexiter.  However.  This is a MASSIVE HOWEVER. Brexit campaign has been commandeered as a race hate, xenophobic, fascist platform.  I can’t imagine that the majority of Brexit-to-be-Voters ever wanted or expected this.  For me it’s never been about immigrants.  But the campaign has come to represent ONLY immigration and race hate.  Honest, honourable, humanitarian, Brexit campaigners have been drowned out by a collective VoteRemain spin and an extremist VoteLeave front man, Nigel Farage .

And now poor Jo Cox, whose life was dedicated to peace and humanitarian causes has become, overnight, the ‘evidence’ of a divided, race hating Britain.

I am sick. Sick to the stomach of what we have all become since we were offered a referendum.  On both sides we have become savages.  I place some of the blame on the politicians, much of it on the media. But as human beings I blame most of it squarely on the shoulders of each and every one of us .  Every individual who has lost sight of the facts and leapt onto the hate and spin bandwagon.

Shame on the people of the UK.  Shame on the people of Europe and the world who are choosing to add fuel to the fire.  Shame on us ALL

Jo Cox;  Human Being, Woman, Mother, Wife, Daughter may your memory cease to be tarred with anything other than your goodness and kindness . RIP

In, Out, Shake It all About

7 Jun
I’ve refrained so far from blogging about this but I can no longer contain myself. Sorry!
I’m sure we’re all just about sick to death of the EU Referendum and its spin, scare-mongering, slagging off and assumptions about each side from each side.
My main though is that if it were to make any significantly dangerous difference we would not have been given the chance to vote.
My second main thought is that its important to vote… especially the younger and new voters…  have a political/economic interest in your future, you have earned that right
And my third main thought… well, I’ll share that at the end if you make it that far!
Personally I’m voting leave, but you may think differently, that’s fine, it doesn’t make me a racist or you an idiot, or any other personal attack comments being flung about.  Find out as much as you can.  Don’t think you’re the only one who feels like they’re lacking enough facts to vote.  Trust your gut and go to the polls.
Be sure of this though. There’s no unbiased information out there . There CAN’T be any factual information about the future of a post brexit UK because it hasn’t happened yet; plus we’ve never left the EU before and nor has anyone else in the same way ; plus it will depend very much on actions and decisions yet to be taken after the vote if the Brexit is a majority. We also CAN’T be factual about what will happen after if we remain. again it hasn’t happened yet; it will depend heavily on how the EU treat us if we stay after being so vocal about wanting to potentially leave; and the decisions our representatives make on our behalf post-referendum.. so everything is best guest and biased to the views of the side presenting the statistical analysis…. remember all the fear created about not taking on or taking on the Euro – all bullshit in the end but presented as fact!! The banking collapse, etc etc …we are not good at predicting the future even when it potentially involves no significant changes…. the world is like that.
 
ANYWAY:
 
The information below is borrowed from a chap called John Wright (many thanks Mr W)
 
Democracy doesn’t exist in the EU especially if anything it’s a secret dictatorship.
 
This one of the best explain actions I’ve seen so far about the EU referendum Credit goes to John Wright.
 
There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about June 23rd, and people want to know the facts. Here are some:
 
You are not voting to leave the EEA or WTO, meaning all of the UK’s trade and benefit agreements will remain unchanged should we leave, until such a time that the UK decides to renegotiate them for any reason.
 
You are not voting to leave NATO, meaning our security agreements remain unchanged. Should we receive an act of hostility from a non-NATO member, then NATO countries are obliged to come to our assistance. This does not change.
 
You are not voting to leave the UN, G8 or G20, meaning Britain will have the same voice on the world stage as it does today.
 
You are not voting to leave Europe!! The UK will still, geographically, be part of Europe. Non political organisations aligned to Europe will still extend membership to the UK (I.e. sports governing bodies, and so on).
 
You are not voting to stop recognising Interpol, Europol and neither are you voting for SIS / MI6 to stop dealing with other intelligence services in the fight against terrorism and global, organised crime.
 
You are not voting against being able to travel to Europe, contrary to the belief of some fools recently on TV. The UK has always maintained stricter border and passport controls than many EU members. This will not change. You will still use a passport to go on holiday and you will still be allowed entry to countries in Europe. You may even get chance to skip queues by using the non–EU queues at the airport (the only point so far that is my opinion, and not necessarily a fact).
 
The UK economy will benefit to the tune of £billions in the first year after we leave.
 
Medical and science research will not simply stop. The UK pays into the EU to then get money back in the form of funding. The UK will now be in control of this money and can choose to fund whatever UK-based medical, science, art or other research it chooses.
 
Farming will not lose money because of EU funding being cut. The UK negotiated a rebate of some monies that the UK pays to the EU, in order to subsidise UK farmers. Instead of asking for our money back, we can give it straight to farmers. No change there.
 
You are not voting against human rights. The EU Convention on, and European Court of Human Rights are not part of the EU. Until parliament passes a new bill of rights for the UK, these will still apply, as will precedents already passed down to UK courts from Brussels.
 
You are not voting to kick anyone out of the UK or block access to anyone. Neither are you voting to stop recruiting valuable European workers into things like the NHS. Like my other point about passports for travel, the UK is already outside of the Schengen zone and so migrant workers must enter the UK with a valid passport before and after June 23rd. That will not change. British borders maintain full control of who comes and goes. Should someone have the skills to apply to work in the NHS, then they will still be permitted travel and given an opportunity to apply for a job. Worst case, points based assessment, like the US, Canada and Australia use, will come into effect. The UK is likely to negotiate freedom of labour movement though, in exchange for freedom of goods movement.
 
You are not voting to move jobs nor production out of the UK! The EU actually helped fund the move of Ford Transit production from the UK to Turkey… Yes, the EU helped give UK jobs to people in Turkey by giving Ford a loan of £80m with very generous terms!
 
What you are voting for is UK sovereignty. You are voting to stay in or leave a political union of leaders and representatives that you British people did not elect. You are voting against a commission of unelected, elite men that nobody at all voted for and yet they make decisions on our behalf. You are simply voting to bring sovereignty back to Westminster, and that is all. If you worry about that because you don’t like the Conservative government, look at the reality. Their majority in parliament is very slim. They have been blocked on big decisions already. You are therefore not giving sovereignty to David Cameron, but to the UK House of elected representatives. Do not be fooled by the fear campaigns that are simply run by the wealthy, who need EU money to thrive! Think about the future, and your family’s future
And finally, as promised, my third main thought…
…is that whatever the result; whether we end up in or out , we will have certainly shaken it all about!! As we in the Official Monster Raving Loony Party believe, that is our raison d’être.  As people in a democratic country it is our job not to let the representatives, beaurocrats and powers that be become complacent and any more egocentric than they already are….
BE LOUD,
QUESTION EVERYTHING.
REMEMBER, THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO THINK FOR YOURSELF
immigration joke

A simplified summary of the Welsh Assembly results and how its all calculated

10 May

So what happened in Wales on the 5th May?

The 60 assembly seats that make up the Welsh Assembly were re-elected that’s what!

40 of those were individual seats representing each of the constituencies that make up Wales.  There are 8 constituencies in each of the 5 regions.  Pretty much nothing changed. Well one thing.  The Rhondda, previously a Labour seat was won by Plaid,  Leanne Wood . Other than that the status quo remained:

Constituencies

Labour 27  , Plaid 6, Conservative 6 Lib Dem 1

These are won by a First Past the Post System, that is the Party individual with the most votes (not necessarily a majority) wins the seat.  All other votes go unrepresented

Labour 34.7% of the vote, Plaid 20.5%, Conservative 21.1%, UKIP 12.5% LibDem 2.9% Green 2.3%

With FPTP system, if we only had constituency seats, UKIP get no representation despite 12.5% of the electorate wanting them

In Wales we attempt to even out the wishes of the electorate by having an additional 20 seats – 4 seats for each of the 5 regions.  These are calculated by proportional representation… number of votes divided by 1+ number of constituency seats occupied per region.  It means that parties that get substantial votes but not quite enough to win constituency seats get representation for their electorate

The main changes in the structure of the Welsh Assembly seats took place here with Conservatives losing 3 and Libdem losing 4 all to UKIP

Labour 2,Plaid 6, Conservative 5, UKIP 7, Libdem 0

These Regional seats were on the very length ballot paper and each party had a list of candidates against them… of course all those candidates can’t sit on the seat so the 1st name of the list takes the post if the seat is won.

The total representation for Welsh Assembly is now

Labour 29, Plaid 12, Conservative 11, UKIP 7, Libdem 1, much more representative of the electorate (whether we like it or not!)

The sad fact remains that the turn out averaged only 45.3%  (unbelievably this is an improvement on the 2011 where the turnout was 42%)….The Constituencies that showed the best turnouts were Cardiff North and Brecon & Radnor at 57% ( I like to think that maybe, just maybe my campaigning helped a little here, that was my raison d’être)

So why the disinterest/apathy/disillusionment ?
What do we  (or rather the Government) need to do to engage the 54.7% of the electorate who didn’t think it worth bothering?  I think its tragic.  THe only wasted vote is one not made.  Change is slow.  How do we engage the electorate?

What do you think?

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Ele

Confused? You Will Be….

23 Apr

I’ve been out and about recently, as a standing candidate for the Welsh Assembly Elections.  My aim (other than a bit of walking exercise and socialising) being to raise awareness of the Elections on 5th May and encourage people to vote.

What became apparent was that people are confused ……

Not surprisingly…

It is insanely confusing.

This Spring/Summer there are FOUR votes to cast. Two relating to Welsh Assembly, one relating to Police and Crime Commission and later on another one relating to the EU

Some people I spoke to didn’t realise that the elections in May were not the EU referendum!!

Those who have received their postal vote pack are overwhelmed by 3 separate ballot papers and 2 separate voting systems

No-one seems to have heard about the Police and Crime Commissioners

And what the hell are Regional List Candidates anyway?!?!

As I said.. politics is complicated.

In the UK the system of voting is a First Past the Post System… it isn’t fair and it fails to represent the views of the majority, in fact it potentially could only represent the views of a tiny minority… read about it here , I’ve tried my best to keep it simple.

Unlike Westminster constituencies, Assembly constituencies are grouped into electoral regions, and an “additional member system” is used to elect four additional Assembly Members from each region, in addition to the AMs elected by the constituencies. On the 5th May 2016, you have two votes for who represents you in The Senedd; one constituency vote and one regional party-list vote. Each constituency elects one AM using the first past the post system (that is, the individual with the most votes wins); the additional Assembly seats are filled from regional “closed party lists’, using an “averaging method” whereby the number of votes is divided by the number of constituency seats won ( d’Hondt method), this offers a degree of proportional representation within each region.

Altogether, 60 AMs are elected from the 40 constituencies and five electoral regions, creating an Assembly of 40 constituency AMs and 20 additional AMs.  So every constituent/voter is represented by one constituency AM and four regional AMs.

As for the 3rd ballot paper, well that’s for the Police and Crime Commissioner…. last time they held an election only 16% turned out to vote so I’m guessing they hope to get a better turnout by running it alongside the Assembly Elections….  But sorry, i have no idea who any of them are or why one might be better than the other… All I can say is that many people think it should not be a politically biased position at all…. Anyway.  You vote for first and second choice and the top two from the first choice are then reviewed, if neither has more than 50% of the total then they look at the 2nd choice count for those 2 candidates….

Insane?  Confused?  I did try to warn you

If you don’t usually vote, vote unusually

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t usually vote, vote unusually…

14 Apr

party election broadcast on the BBC

It was a BIG day for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party yesterday.  A MASSIVE DAY for me.
In 1983 David Edward Sutch (Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow) founded the Monster Raving Loony Party and stood in over 40 elections in his career.  In my mind he was a political activist using comedy, satire, music and outrageous clothing to draw attention to, and raise awareness of the idiosyncratic nonsense within the British Political System.  He got politics to the people who thought politics wasn’t for them.  He was an inspiration.

Yet through all the years and all the members of the Loony Party who have stood as candidates in local elections, by-elections, national elections; the party has NEVER qualified for an election broadcast.

11168862_1046829525379356_5330321855820313332_oThat all changed this year.  They have enough representation across the five Welsh regions to qualify for a Party Election Broadcast for the Welsh Assembly Elections 2016.  It was aired on 13th April 2016 before and after the news on BBC 1,2 and ITV (ok only in Wales but that’s good enough for us)…It was also on the radio (that was a bit surreal)…
…and here it is !!! I LOVE the announcements.

(also available on You Tube)

….and I’m in it!!!  I am SO PROUD.

Did you know that on 5th May 2016 there are 3 votes for everyone in Wales to cast?

Constituency Candidates, Police Commissioner, Regional Parties

This year there are a ‘Laugher of Looonies’ standing in each of the 5 Welsh Regions.  In Mid and West Wales, my area, there will be one box noted “The Official Monster Raving Loony Party” and listing 7 names ” Lady Lily the Pink, Tristian Shout, Lieutenant Jager Schnitzel, R U Seerius, Helen Swindon, Lord & Lady Dunquan, Knigel Knapp”

I’m Lady Lil, I’m also the election officer for the region,  I think that’s why my names first on the list!!

 lady lily the pink and Howlin Lord Hope of the Monster Raving Loony PartyWhy do I stand? I stand because of all the nonsense in British politics today, I stand for those who feel unrepresented and I stand for those who feel misrepresented.

Politicians can promise all sorts of things whilst campaigning and in their manifestos.  When it comes to the crunch, if they win they often U-turn, change or add policies which may have made you make a different decision.  It’s all spin, hype and manipulation. 

celebrating the Party Election Broadcast airing Welsh Assembly Elections 2016I want to point out these practices that are complete insanity.  So I stand.  And I thank Screaming Lord Sutch & Howlin’Lord Hope for leading the party and The Reverend Backline (Defrocked),  Nick the Flying Brick  and our fantastic film editor, Gordon Vowles, for casting me in a key roll.

Our motto is “if you don’t usually vote, vote unusually”…….how to vote

“Vote for Insanity, You Know It Makes Sense”

Like I said; political parties can promise all sorts of things whilst campaigning.  All they want is your vote.  They want to WIN and they’ll say anything to get in.  It’s easy to promise things when you don’t have to deliver.  But when it comes down to it, if they win there is nothing in place to prevent them doing whatever they like.  There is no process to effectively complain if they start doing the opposite of what they ‘promised’ or add in new policies which may have made you make a different decision at the polling station. 

We all know some of what the main parties have promised and some of the many u-turns they’ve made once getting the job.  Did you look at the party manifestos last May and think “oooo I’m all for a bit of fracking in our national parks.” or ” you know what  I think? How about we fund the education of nurses and doctors and then treat them like shit so they leave the country once they’re qualified.” or ” you know what would be a great idea?  I really think that privatising our education system, leaving it unaccountable and running it for profit is the best way to raise the next generation.  I wonder if there’s a party out there that will offer me that?”

Thats why the manifesto is meaningless, the party is not obliged to follow anything they said before once they have the power…

Its Insane.  They might just as well have a MANICfesto……..

Our MANICfesto A-Z

A.AIR bags will be fitted to the Stock Exchange immediately, ready for the next crash.

B. BRITAIN will exit Europe and join the Duchy of Cornwall to benefit from tax exemptions.

C. CAPITAL Punishment will be opposed on the grounds that it is unfair to Londoners.

D. DATA will be secured, placed in a brown bag and hidden in the PM’s socks and pants drawer.

E. Education. All University Tuition fees for women would be free as we are strong believers in Female intuition. (Due to gender equality laws we would include males as well)

F. FRIVOLOUS Fraud Office setup to inspect fraud too silly for the Serious Fraud Office.
G. GREYHOUND racing will be banned to prevent the country going to the dogs.

H. HALF the grey squirrels will be painted red to increase the red squirrel population.

I. INNOCENT prisoners will be released in order to reduce prison overcrowding.

J. JOBSEEKERS will be made to stand two abreast in order to halve dole queues.

K. KIDS will be made to sit closer together on smaller desks in to reduce school class sizes.

L. LONDON Marathon free to anyone finishing in sub-2 hours wearing large clown’s shoes.

M. MEGA carwash will be created by punching holes in the roof of the Channel Tunnel.

N. NATIONAL debt will be cleared by putting it all on our credit card.

O. OAPS will qualify for a Summer Ice Lolly Allowance if temperatures exceed 70 degrees.

P. PUDDLES deeper than 3 inches will be marked by a yellow plastic duck.

Q. QUITTERS will be encouraged not to start in the first place to improve their self esteem.

R. REGULATIONS concerning car boot sales will be relaxed to permit selling of all car parts.

S.STAMP duty will be cancelled as stamps are expensive enough without having to pay duty.

T.TERRORISTS will be made to wear Bells and Horns so we know where they are.

U.UNRULY teenagers will be superglued together as if you can’t beat them, join them.

V. VEHICLES will be fitted with bungy ropes in order to save fuel on the return journey.

W. WIND farms will be created nationwide, where breaking wind will be encouraged.

X. X-RAY machines will be manned by a skeleton staff.

Y. YELLOW lines will be painted where you can park instead of where you can’t to save money.

Z. ZEBRA crossings will be made permissible to all animals wishing to cross the road.

I’m Serious, UK Politics are Insane… (point 1:the voting system)

4 Apr

Politics is complicated.

I don’t profess to understand it nearly enough.  But unless you’re a career politician (like  most of those running our country), then you probably don’t understand much of it either.  Its almost like its deliberately really really complicated so we think we don’t know enough to have an opinion or we can’t possibly understand so our opinion might make us look silly.

I don’t understand most of politics.

I feel that much of the system is about misrepresentation, and playing the system.   Its a power game, involving a lot of spinning (ie; sales speak) to get us to think that one person might represent us better than another and that our vote might make a difference.  We are lead to believe we have a choice

I don’t think the political system is fair. Not everyone’s vote counts

Because its complicated its hard to see how we can make a difference.  Here’s some points – made simple so I can understand them and do the maths!

There are 650 seats in the House of Commons. A party needs to win one more than half to form a majority government.

Everybody lives in one of the 650 constituencies that the country is divided into. Anyone living in there who is over 18 should be registered to vote

Say (to make it easier for me to do the maths), where you live there are 1000 voters, and there were 5 parties to chose from (blue, red, yellow, green, purple).  Let’s assume everybody makes a vote. Say 240 voted for blue and the other 760 votes were split between the other 4 equally so all the others got 190 each.  The blues would win this seat even though they only got 240 of the 1000 votes. That means that slightly less than a quarter (25%) of the people wanted the blue team to represent them but now they do..

This is the system of politics in the UK and it’s called “First Past The Post”

An election is won if one ‘colour’ gets more than half the seats. So if blue get 326 seats then their top man (or woman) becomes Prime Minister

So they could win half the seats each with a quarter of the voters.  That means only 1/8th (12.5%) of the voting population wanted them to be in charge.  OK this is very extreme but with our system of politics it could happen (eek!!!)

Politics is not democratic

In the last election only 65% of the population, who could vote, did vote.

So lets do the maths again.  If in your area of 1000 votes only 650 turned up to vote for one of the 5 colours.  If blue got 170 votes and the other 480 went equally between the other 4 colours (120 each) . Blue would get that seat despite only 170 of the 1000 people voting for them (that’s only 17%).

Again if only half the seats need to be won by blue and each seat is won by only 17% of the votes, then the blue team runs the country with only 8% of the people wanting them there.

In theory, worse case scenario.

Bad isn’t it.

As only 65% of the voting population actually voted in the last election. In reality at best our current Government, The Conservative Party is representing the country , with, at best only 35% of the voting population wanting them there

That’s not fair is it?

There are probably a million reasons to not bother voting

With 35% of the population that can vote choosing not to, I would, if I were in charge, wonder why.  Why is it that one out of every three voters doesn’t want to, chooses not to, or can’t be arsed to vote?

I don’t blame them.  With the system we have its hard to see what the point is.  First Past The Post is not representative of the populous however you look at it.

There are loads of reasons you might not bother:-

  1. maybe none of the parties say anything that means anything to you… most of it may as well be in a different language
  2. maybe there is just so much ‘spin’ you can’t work out what each party stands for. It’s like advertising for sanitary products … do any of them really do the job better than the others
  3. maybe each party is just so busy slagging of all the other parties they all seem like bickering in a playground
  4. maybe the system is so unfair that you think your little vote won’t make a difference… but there’s always a chance 9i bet you sometimes by a lottery ticket).
  5. maybe none of the parties are even talking about the issues that are most important to you
  6. maybe you just don’t trust anything that any of them are saying (after all they so often change their minds once they win)
  7. Maybe politics don’t interest you (I have to admit I’m even boring myself now)
  8. maybe you’re sick that day or something happens and you meant to go but couldn’t
  9. Maybe you don’t have a polling station near enough to you and you don’t drive and you didn’t consider a postal vote
  10. Maybe you can’t read and the whole idea is too intimidating
  11. Maybe it was raining and you just didn’t want to get wet

In the past (and because I don’t know much about politics I can’t tell you how long ago), if you turned up at least and spoilt your paper at least you could register your distain for the system.  A spoilt paper was like a vote for “None of the Above” and when the results were announced you would be told how many papers were ‘spoilt’.  at least as a disgruntled voter you had a voice, even if it was a little squeaked that might just turn the odd head for a second or two.

These days those papers just get discarded.  And if you don’t turn up at all you go down merely as part of the overall statistic. so in the news it will say ‘election turnout , 65% of the electorate turned out to vote”… you would be one of the 35% they didn’t mention

Why am I a Loony? (The eternal question…..)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Apart from the obvious, “I blame the parents”…….

I have been accused that standing as part of The Official Monster Raving Loony Party, is making a mockery of the hard won fight for our right to vote.

However, in my mind our system of politics is downright unfair, crazy even. Positively insane, in fact.  And if we’re going to run with an insane system then I suggest why not vote for it.

I don’t know why the other ‘Loonies’ are loonies.  Unlike members of most political parties we don’t have to think as a collective.  We are allowed to express our own opinions, we do not have to ‘tow the party line’.

I stand because I want to highlight the hypocrisy, injustice and minimal input of democracy in the UKs governing process.

I stand because I want to encourage people who, like me, don’t know everything there is to know about politics, to vote anyway

I stand because I want people to start talking about politics.

I stand because the system sucks, its not fair, it’s not fit for purpose and I want to rebel against it

I stand because I can.  Despite the system and its failings, we live in a country where we still have the right to free speech.

I stand because EVERYTHING is political.  EVERYTHING is affected by politics.  EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF LIFE.

So its important

Anyway, my message to you is this: DO VOTE.  Whenever you get the chance. Let’s not have the decision made by 65% of the voting population, lets have it made by all of us.

On the 5th May 2016 there are the Welsh Assembly Elections.  It may seem complicated.  When you go to the polling station you will have THREE voting slips.  One is for individuals standing to represent their Party in your constituency; One will be for Parties representing a Regional seat. There is also the vote for the new Police Commissioner. 
You may have been lucky and been visited by representatives of parties… sometimes this is because they care, or because they want your vote, or both.  Some Parties will not have visited you, that might mean they don’t care, or they think they’ll get your vote anyway so are a bit cocky ; or it may be that their party doesn’t have the resources to send people out (like many of the smaller parties).  I personally think that within Wales, particularly within Brecknockshire and Radnorshire our Conservative MP is a waste of space, he only turns up if there’s a photo opportunity or an election and he rarely stands for the individuals in his patch.  I also think our Welsh Libdems do a fabulous job.  I think Kirsty Williams is the best representative we can have for Wales;  she turns up , she shouts out and she genuinely cares for the individuals within the area.  But that’s what I think, it might not be what you think. What I think might completely get your back up, but thats Ok , you have your own opinion and you are allowed to think and vote how you like , that’s my point.
As Lady Lily the Pink, I am 1 of 7 Loonies standing for the Mid and West Wales Regional vote… on the slip alongside the other parties it will say “The Official Monster Raving Loony Party”… .  There’s a group of Loonies standing in each of the 5 Welsh regions.  There are no Loonies standing in this election for the constituency vote… I told you it was complicated, politics is like that.
Well done for reading this far, I have a tendency to waffle (why use 3 words when 30 will do it more annoyingly!!).  Anyway, consider this (why not): if you don’t usually vote, why not vote unusually.

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Vote for Insanity, You Know It Makes Sense

 

 

Disclaimer: This blog post represents the views of her Ladyship, Lady Lily the Pink and her more serious alter ego, Bernice Benton , and may or may not have any bearing or relation to the opinions of the Monster Raving Loony Party or the individuals I like to think I am representing. I speak for me , as me , and through me…. maybe some of my thoughts and opinions work for you too…