Sunday, 18 March 2007

Party funding

The Phillips Report recently recommended increased funding for political parties from taxation because they are unable to raise enough themselves legitimately to do all they want to do.

I don't want to give willy-nilly to Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, BNP, Respect and even the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parties for which I can't vote because they don't operate where I live. Come to think of it, the three main parties barely operate where I live because it is a safe constituency and we know the result long before the election.

There is a simple and effective solution to the problem. The underlying problem is that each party wants to spend as much as possible in the key marginal constituencies where elections are won and lost. The solution is to replace the 19th century “First Past The Post” voting system with the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. This makes all votes of equal value, it would force parties to consider the views of all voters instead of only those in certain areas (the present marginal constituencies) and it would remove their incentive to spend, spend, spend in those areas. Most votes, unlike under the old system, would affect the result and it would also produce a fairer, more proportionate result and provide Governments with a real mandate to govern.

Please visit if you would like to know more about this.

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Saturday, 17 March 2007

Civil liberties

It's rather ironic that we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade while the UK's most illiberal government since 1945 is busily finding more and more and more ways of eroding our freedom - CCTV, ID cards, road congestion charging, genetic profiling, detention without trial, abolition of juries and, most recently, a proposal to allow the police to fingerprint anyone they suspect of breaking the law.

Of course, the argument is that these measures help to deter crime and catch criminals and that honest citizens have nothing to fear. However, that's only so long as we have a government which, despite being so illiberal by historical UK standards, is still more liberal than many foreign governments. There is a fear that these measures could be used by future governments to control dissent and suppress legitimate opposition. The road congestion proposal, for example, would enable the Government to track motorists. It would give liberal governments more information than they need and give illiberal governments more information than we should trust them with.


Reason for silence

I haven't posted anything for a few months because my wife was ill and then died. At times like that, one's perspective changes; personal matters become much more important than world issues like war and global warming, but life goes on and governments continue to misrule their citizens.