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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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£350Mil is enough to….

15 Aug

Another Brexit ‘lie’? In fact its ‘politician speak’ or ‘marketing speak’ or ‘spin’.  It’s a statement of fact . You COULD build a hospital for £350Mil (true ? I don’t know the cost of building a hospital – i suspect it depends on size, location, facilities etc), its possible. It’s a statement. It’s not a promise to do so.

Marketeers always use statistics and empty statements to sound knowledgeable, supportable, better than the rest.  It’s a sales pitch.  ……

“…up to 99% improvement…”.

The advert probably won’t say 100% because we consumers might not believe that shit.; but  99% improvement, that’s what they hope we’ll hear.  According to sales figures that’s what many people will hear. “wow if I use that shampoo my hair will be 99% softer”.
What does it really mean?  It means nothing.  “Up to”, could be 1%, 12%, 87%; anything really.  It could mean no improvement at all!.  It’s not a “LIE”, it is in fact a ‘TRUTH” but it doesn’t give you anything.

£350Mil is (probably) enough to build a new hospital; no-one actually said they would.

I remember David Cameron stating in a speech how sad it would make him if he had to do something (cut some benefit or other), I forget exactly which cut saddened him.  What he didn’t say is that he wouldn’t cut it.  Once voted in he did cut it.  Did he lie?  Technically he didn’t, his spin doctors/script writers worded his speech so he actually promised nothing, he just lead the ‘consumer’ to believe he was on their side……

Did he lie?  I suppose in this instance I might argue that the cut didn’t even make him sad…so maybe he did.

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

The Political Hand Jive..

29 Apr

Who was the first spin doctor and the first politician to fall for that spin and decide to use THAT hand gesture?  You know the one, open armed , flat open hands and a gentle up and down movement to indicate ‘open and honest’.  Why is it only sales and marketing people who fall for their own spin?  Don’t they realise how staged and insincere it looks ?

I think Tony Blair started it.  He became a caricature of himself, slowing his voice, waving his hand and accentuating his speech with inappropriately placed pauses.

Honestly, they look like complete muppets.  Personally I instantly assume insincerity, the reading of a script and total lack of interest when I see it… which is ALL THE BLOODY TIME!!!

Perhaps I should make a video to demonstrate my point?  Go on persuade me …..

I’m voting “Kirsty Williams”….

25 Apr

Yes, yes , yes, I am aware I am standing myself in the Welsh Assembly Elections.  However, I am not standing, nor are any of my party (The Official Monster Raving Loonies – that is, just in case you’ve been on a different planet and missed me mentioning it), standing for a constituency seat.

I get the opportunity, as do you all, to have TWO votes on 5th May.  One for a Constituency Representative and one for one of the 4 Regional Representatives.

So, I’ll be voting Kirsty Williams, for Brecknochshire and Radnorshire, and I shall tell you why.

The woman is everywhere.  I don’t even know if the cloning technology or teleportation technology she must use is even an allowable expense under the Election Campaigning list of claimable expenses.  The fact that she can get to six seperate locations across the great expanse of Powys on every single day of every week, is not only astounding but a testament to her commitment to be accessible to all her constituents.

And, as far as I have witnessed, she clocks up the miles, the energy and the passion for her constituency (Brecknockshire and Radnorshire) whether there is a pending election or not.  Certainly whenever anything has been going on in Llanwrtyd Wells (known for being both tiny and in the middle of nowhere), either she or Roger Williams (pre-retirement) would/will attend, rally round, speak out or help us celebrate… even on those occasions when there were no press around to cover the event.

I’ve never written and not had a reply; I’ve never asked a question of Westminster or WAG and not had it referred on for response, and I’ve never seen her anything other than enthusiastic and interested/concerned depending on the issue.

If I wasn’t standing for a Regional seat , I’d even be out canvassing with her.  What would we do without her. It’s not like we get any representation from her counterparts (well maybe occasionally if there’s a photo opportunity in it for them).

Anyway, however you plan to vote, or if you were thinking of not voting.  I urge you, go to the polls on 5th May.  You have from 7am until 10pm to do so.  If you’ve received a postal vote pack, then post it back….But if you miss the deadline you can take it to your local polling station.

Whatever you do on May 5th, find time to register your TWO votes for the Welsh Assembly….

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If you Don’t Usually Vote, Then Vote Unusually

 

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