Wednesday, 29 December 2010

FPTP plus:

It is time I believe to sue for an honourable peace between those of us in favour of FPTP and those who seek a new electoral system and as we hold still the majority of the nation it is on are central principles that the new peace shall be formed.

Thus FPTP plus is still a system based on the sacrosanct principle of the ideal of one member on vote and the ideal of electing one representative for each constituency. We do not seek nor will we impose any percentile targets or entry requirements upon are system and nor shall we allow the ideal of choosing a candidate be tarnished or devalued.

Therefore I have formed a system that encapsulates these principles held so dear by the FPTP but also take some of the better ideals of AV (the idea of preferences and the idea that a wider base of votes should be calculated in the choice of representative).

Under FTPT plus there would thus be only one candidate chosen and this candidate would represent his constituency solely. The candidate however would be elected on the basis of a new system. The elector would be able to list all candidates in order of preference (as under AV) but they would also be able to vote one counter vote (a vote which would be taken away from the candidate chosen). The preferences would then be additionally turned into votes, 1st preferences would count as one vote, second preferences and a half of a vote and 3rd preferences a third of a vote and so on and so on.

The winning candidate would be the candidate who won the basis of all votes and anti-votes cast had a simple numerical majority over his opposing candidates. In this way all votes would count, even those who vote against the winning candidate and reduce his majority and also preferences would be treated fairly. I doubt there is any voter whose positive or negative vote would not be counted at least once.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

In favour of firsts

Now many of you know that I am supporting the No to AV campaign and though I have issues with the slow start and slight odd attitude of the No to AV campaign. My main issue is the campaign seems solely defensive nature. I myself have been guilty of criticising AV without defending FPTP. Well this is an error I intend to put right; so why vote for FPTP.

Arguments for FPTP:

The First one is simple – given that are voting system is based on the ideal that each constituency should have just one representative, it stand to reason that the voter is required to vote just once. In short FPTP encapsulates the ideal of voting for a single candidate.

Second: FPTP seeks to find a majority based solely on votes cast; it does not insist on some pre-determined percentile majority or some percentile level one must achieve, it seeks merely to find the candidate who can command the most votes.

Thirdly: FPTP ensures that each voter has but one vote, this is of course linked to the first point, however, some other systems allow multiple votes depending on the array of preferences and inferences of the voters but under FPTP everyone is guarantee one vote and a vote of equal weight and importance.

Fourthly: FPTP ensures only parties that can represent large swaths of the population will enjoy support, ensuring that more extreme parties are side lined, without having to resort to undemocratic percentile thresholds or other PR related anti extremist measures. In short FPTP ensures naturally decent governance where PR is forced to utilise extremely questionable mechanisms to ensure the same.

Fifthly: Linked once again to the first point, is that FPTP is inseparable form the ideal of one member one seat – unlike preferences or PR systems FPTP is also used when wishing to elect single members for a single seat. This entrances the MP solely within his area; he cannot hope to be elected bar ensuring that they maintain a majority of votes.

Sixth: FPTP by ensuring popular parties are formed it ensures that long term stable governances are found, while allowing radicle change to take place. FPTP systems ensure longer terms of party power (decades rather than years) but still if this power is misused for the people to alter their votes and radicle switch to another popular party and set of policies.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Referendum facts:

I happen to find voting systems to be of interest and I do indeed have a favoured voting system but this piece is not for me it is for people who have vaguely heard of the coming referendum and are curious or confused about what AV or FPTP is and what it has to do with them.

First what is the current voting system used in the UK:

The system used in the UK general elections is called First Passed The Post aka FPTP; under this system the united Kingdom is separated into electoral areas called constituencies (to find yours you can go to ( . Under FPTP each constituency is represented in parliament and served by one MP (Member of Parliament).

Under FPTP when electing the MP for your constituency; you are ask to place a single vote next to the candidate (person standing for election) of your choice. You can only vote once and this vote is counted by electoral officials on voting night and the candidate with the most votes is elected to be the MP representing that constituency.

Once a MP is elected he is supposed to represent his whole constituency regardless of their personal party affiliations and to assist their constituents regardless of their party affiliation. To find your MP you can go to (

What is the proposed new voting system?

The proposed new system is called Alternative vote: The alternative vote system is still based on the ideal of one representative per constituency but instead of casting one vote you are asked to number the candidates in order of preference (starting at one). You do not have to mark a preference against every candidate but can for all if you wish.

These votes are called preferences, so the candidate you number one is referred as your first preference, the one you put two next to is your second preference and so on. Unlike FPTP there is no numerical majority, instead AV seeks to establish a percentile majority. In layman’s language this means that in order for a candidate to be chosen they require more than a majority of votes (as compared to other candidates) they require over fifty per-cent of the votes cast.

Therefore if there were 10,000 votes and candidate A got 5,001 first preference votes he would be elected, however, if candidate A got 5,000 and candidate B got 4,000 and candidate C got 1,000 no single candidate would have the fifty per-cent required to get elected and this is where the second (and lower) preferences kick in.

Under AV the lowest candidate (the candidate with the least 1st preference votes) would be eliminated and the second preference of those who voted for the eliminate candidate as their first preference would be counted (They would in reality be treated as if they were first preference votes), there other preferences would also be transferred to candidates accordingly. This processes, lowest candidate eliminated, votes re-distributed until one candidate got the fifty per-cent majority required.

This may sound very complex, however, from the voters perspective all that is required is that you list candidates in the order you would chose them to be your candidate all the rest will be taken care of care of the electoral officials and after all of this voting takes place we are still left with a single MP for an single constituency

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Unspoken truths

There is something deeply wrong with the conservative party, something which we have as an organisation has sometimes ignored and fart too often indulged. This issue is at best worded as a server lack of mercy and as worse spiteful cruelty. Burke sums it up best for me by saying “men in velvet carriages should not complain about the rain”. What dose Velvet carriages and rain have to do with the conservative party and its cruelty.

Part of the issue at stake here is that the conservative is staffed by the upper ecilon of society, who are sadly too keen to lecture the poor on what they should do. They act as are Burkina man; they ride around in a Velvet carriage complaining bitterly about the rain. The second issue is that whilst the party knows the value of pragmatism it is unable to articulate it without being attacked for being the “nasty party” and if you attack well minded people enough, if you insult and pillory people enough they have a habit of becoming that which you attack them for.

This is not a letter of resignation from the party I love I is a letter of an honest conservative. A conservative who believe we are best when we are pragmatic but never when we are cruel or when we adopt are carriage view of the world.

Any reader of this blog will hopefully understand that I seek to combine hard choices with mercy and a better country. I believe that people in high unemployment areas should be helped to move for their own future good and the good of the nation but I do not believe we should starve them out or expect them simply to up an move because it is what we in are carriages would do.

So I hope this is taken in this vain. Short term unemployment due to cuts that support new business start up’s or increases in businesses activity are an acceptable price. Unemployment is never , however, a worthy price in order simply to cut taxes without an increase in the job rates. If and I mean if we are forced to make this terrible choice we must not crow about it or moralise about paper rounds or rag to riches fables or to treat the unemployed as criminals. We are to act mercifully, constructively and understand the terrible pain we are asking people to pay not to benefit them but to benefit the business that we know will eventually, yes eventually, benefit them.

It is pragmatism alone we must serve and we must promote the knowledge that we are building a better economy and that all this personal suffering is not good or righteous but necessary for the long term health of our economy and a far better option than drowning in a sea of pointless state funded jobs, driving away business and indebting future generations. So yes dear reader unemployment is a cost worth paying but braying about this terrible cost is terrible and inhuman and yes only business can save us but we must temper are pragmatism always with mercy.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Political dreams

Sometime politics is about insane predictions; regarding hopelessly unlikely events all of which turn out to be wrong. So I entitle this piece political dreams, it is about what could be rather then what will be. If you want a prediction then the AV debate will be lost and the two parties will keep fighting over the same centralist voters and the fringe parties will feaster and agitating from the side lines. Milliband will limp on until labour narrowly loses to a bastardised version of the coalition that itself will limp on in one form or another for at least another government.

However there is another world a dream political world a world where the old order of are political systems fatally weakened by the emergence of the labour party finally implodes to be replaced with a four party system. This is predicated on the implosion of the lib-dems. I have no animosity toward the lib-dems indeed their very existence is a product of the death (though long drawn out) of the old British political system.

The lib-dems where the first party which actively sought the centre of British politics and which in a lesser extent sought an ideology free politics (compared with the moribund politics of Foot and Thatcher the last of the ideological greats) and they nearly slayed the monster of British politics by slaying the labour party but for reason, well beyond me, they failed and in that moments died as a force. Instead of being a centralist party they became a highly principled localised party – they became the proto future of our political system.

It was instead labour who became the party without ideology, it was they who crossed the centralist Rubicon, renouncing almost utterly there ideological base and instead adopting the “what works” is policy approach, the sadly forgotten but still dominant third way. The conservative eventually followed creating a new centralist homogeny. This is the exact reason why opposition has become pure opposition because there is no longer a principled position to adopt in neither opposition nor any real arguments apart from timing and statistics.

This move to the centre has further annoyed the loyalist on both sides of the great binary opposition of British politics; the labour party loyalist is disgusted with the slow demise of their brother unions and the party’s lack of any action on workers’ rights. Monetarist within the conservative party are angered by the lack of pro-business tax breaks and the governments pursuit of the third sectors marksed in the big society program and the one nation conservative dislike the harshness of the cuts programs and the raving anti-immigration rhetoric of the party (whilst the small nation Tories loath the lack of action).

There are other divisions with the conservative party but this is not a piece about the tribes of the party nor the labour party the point is these division exist and could cause the formation of four distinct group all thanks to the demise of the lib-dems. In this dream world the lib-dems implode along their own internal divisions, the SDLP wing joining the centralist wings of the labour party, there orange wings joining the reformed one nation centralist wing of the conservative party and in accepting these fragmented wings of the now deceased third party, they alienate their own grass roots.

Those in the david davies camp the raving monetarist / small Englanders would be unable to stage a coup against the centralist in their own party due to the new orange book support and would thus flounce off either joining with UKIP or forming a successor to UKIP representing the harder right of the conservative party and also, no doubt, devoted to the ideals of Thatcher. They would form a respectable nationalist party, flirting and mingling with the racial radically party (whatever name it take) but never officially doing business with it.
The centralist would have a similar blocking effect for the hopes of the (am I mean this sincerely) socialist wing of the labour party forcing them along with the radical anti-establishment movement within what was the lib-dems wither to merge with or co-opt the green party. This njew party would be a party which will vacillate between authoritarianism and ultra-liberalism and representing the harder left and anti-establishment wing of the great divide.

Of course the two party system now freed of the more radical aspects of their memberships would form two gigantic catchall right of centre – left of centre parties, who struggle over the middle ground and wage unrelenting war trying to capture the ideal of the big society from each other and waging a phoney war of more bitter, pantomime esk oppositional politics and the dominance of centralism and the professional politicians.

Under the pressure of a four party system FPTP would eventually disappear, thanks due to house of Lords reform ending the stigma of voting reform and the inequalities of FPTP trying to incorporate these four power blocks. The old two party system would finally end, along with it fatally injured again by lords reforms and the birth of the four party system would the executive dominance of the legislature and Britain would enter the age of a multiparty professional politics.

Friday, 10 December 2010


In my excellent blog: I attempt to outline the mechanism I would have chosen to better link loan repayments to university leavers prospects, something the simple raise in tuition fee has failed to do. Indeed, given the difficulty with passing this particular bill one would have thought the coalition would have been more imaginative and less willing to offer poor student upfront concessions, rather than poor leavers these concessions.

The coalition can save the situation and it can do this by listening to the labour party (I know dear reader a kind word for are opposition in exile). During the debate, some labour MP’s suggested, what is a very good idea; that along with higher fees; universities enter into a formal and legally binding contract with their students laying out teaching hours, seminar hours and specialist hours for different courses (I.E. lab time for science students) as well as library opening hours and computer numbers. Cheaper course could offer virtual, discounted, teaching time or merely less of it.

We would set up a body to enforce these contracts, allowing student whose universities fail to meet there contractual obligations to obtain discounts or refunds, rather than penalties for the universities. Indeed, we could explode the three year monopoly which universities currently have by empowering university students to move university at the end of each academic year. Indeed private businesses could head hunt the best students for the best universities (to improve their own league table position) and relocate disaffected students for a small fee of course.

There is a further change we could make to how universities are regulated & funded. Universities should be encouraged to seek businesses sponsorship for each course by this I mean a business pay money and lend their name to courses in which they are involved in and which offer the skills the business require. Any wise student would seek these courses as they would clearly offer particle work focused skills in the future employment they seek.

I know people will write this blog of as the marketization of education or recognising the marketization of education but this is to expected when we try to grant higher education accesses to all and to fifty per cent of our population but regardless of the rights and wrongs of marketization the NUS opposition to it has injured students power and will continue to do so until we recognise that a market exist and we must empower students to use it to their benefit.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Parallel worlds

I am a man who revels in the ridiculous and grandiose and I am often wrong and misinformed, I am often confused and confusing but I am sometimes, very infrequently right and this maybe one of those times.

Thursday night the coalition will vote on the tuition bill, a bill that has become they symbol of mandate for this government. The symbol of mandate is a bill or action whose passing or failure symbolise the authority or legitimacy of the government. Under heath it was the trade union bill and under Mrs T it was of course the coal miners, under major it was the mastic treaty and under Toney Blair it was the war in Iraq. Now the odd things about these symbols of mandates is that a government can lose them but limp on, evening winning them (as Mr Blair did) but they can win a pyric victory having to use opposition votes.

We are now faced in my view with a symbolic mandate bill, the tuition fee bill; this bill no longer represents the debate concerning tuition fees. It represents the whole coalition government, the whole question of the legitimacy of the coalition program and the strength of public and parliamentary opposition to the cuts. Now the government would not fall if this bill does not passes but its strength and ability to pass further harder legislation will evaporate with it.

I know this sounds farcical but these pieces of legislation become a marker for the strength of will of the government and the opposition, only one can dominate. Either a government is strong enough to pass the bills it wants or it cannot. If the government is defeated, then the message goes out to unhappy lib-dems and unhappy Tories that the government is dying and does not have the will or the ability to keep them in line and is ripe for attack and betrayal. Indeed it sends out the message, leave now and you might keep your seat or `stay and die with us

Now what pray tell does this have to do with parallel worlds, well one of course, the future of the government and the effectiveness is directly linked to the successes or failure of symbolic mandate. There must logically be a world in which heath managed to muzzle the trade unions and did not go down in history as a giant failure.

On a pragmatic note if this coalition fails I can only foresee a time of political instability, if the coalition limps on injured with its mandate daily evaporating until either its own internal enmity destroys it or it losses the election. A new either minority or small majority labour government will regain control and itself limp on unable to reconcile its leader to the public and square the economic circle they have drawn in opposition until either the lib-dems implode and are consumed by the two major parties or a new nasty party Tory party take power and “fixes” the economy.

This coalition is unique; if it succeeded it will mean no more will coalitions (outside of world wars) be seen as foreign oddities, it would fatally weaken the FPTP propaganda that PR voting system lead to coalitions and thus weak governance and it would prove that you do not require a dominate executive in order for good governance something of a revelation to British politics. The more interesting question is what will it do to the idea of the new centre.

New labour proved that the idea of a centre left government was possible if somewhat internally a tad mentally unstable and the successes or failure of the coalition will prove or disprove if a similar centre right government is also possible. I have no idea about the future shape of politics maybe in the future but if a right of centre collation last it will have established that collation can work and can make hard decisions and that a centre right government can make these decisions whilst promoting equality or limiting the harm.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


We live in a state run along bureaucratic lines; this is short for impersonal, distant but professional and fair administration of all state provided services to all members of that state. It is underpinned by the ideals of the rule of law and equality before this law for all and it serves the whim of centralised states. I am tempted to say it also goes hand in hand with democracy but this is not true there are democracies or semi democracies where clientalisum is rife and dictatorships which were bureaucracies indeed draw their power from the perversion of this system.

There are two other forms of social organisations; the first is the cult of the personality or charismatic organisations, and clientalisum a system of organising the state not on neutral, impersonal grounds but on the basis of personal relationships and yes even corruption. Of course those who exist within a client relationship would not see the paying of monies in return for preference not as corruption but merely the way things are done, merely a sign of respect and acceptance of the cost of getting things done.

For some bizarre reason bureaucratic expect all nations, even those who lie beyond the sea of civilised bureaucratic norms, to follow these laws in all their dealings with them. Even more bizarrely bureaucratic societies expect members of bureaucratic society trying to operate in the cliental world to stick to bureaucratic norms. This of course does not happen, businesses men are only business men because they are quick to adapt to different cultural norms and different business environments and thus when face with the need to pay monies to secure deals they will. We should not expect business people to act as cultural ambassadors or moral imperialist spreading the word of anti-corruption across the globe.

I refuse to get into an discussion of morality, paying monies to secure a deal occurs in Britain and whilst I welcome the fact its influence is limited in the sphere of the state, I refuse to label a perfectly functional societal set up as immoral merely because it is alien to the way of life of the state I happen to live in. I also refuse to sacrifice or hamper the business merely because they dear to operate outside the great bastion of bureaucracy or when they do they dear act in accordance with local norms.

The only question of importance to me is weather the state should be complicit in such activity in order to secure international activities. I.e. would it be acceptable for the British state to pay bribes to those countries willing to accept them, in the knowledge that those competing nations are also paying bribes and to this I would answer a solid no. British business or individuals paying monies to gain personal advantage is one thing but the state doing so poisons the state, those civil servants become contaminated with the ideal that money can be exchanged for services. Corruption cannot be allowed to infiltrate that state at any cost; the state must act in this occurrence, better than its people. Now this may mean we will not be able to host various events but this is a small cost compared to the cost of corruption within the state.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Christian pride

Let use first be honest, the history of the Christian church is not a wonderful or blameless history. Indeed the history of the Christian church is far too full of blood and violence to make the church worthy of redemption. Indeed only the perfect example of costless redemption of Christ can possible save the church which corrupted man has vainly tried to erect in his name.

Let us secondly explain what the church is and is not. The church is not the embodiment of Christ, it is not the house of God and it is not the sole path to God. The church is a collection of people who should (though shamefully not always) believe in God. These people join together to worship God and to better do Gods work and in order to physically build the kingdom of God on earth.

The trouble is of course that the church has for far too long pretended that it is somehow divine and that everything it does is thusly divine. It is not, indeed often it is as far removed from anything remotely divine that it is a sick joke. The church has far too often submitted a knee to the state or the market, it has too often chosen the world of man over the kingdom of God and it has too often believed its own divine propaganda.

Despite all of this, however, in its various incarnations it has always tried to build the kingdom of God and provided care for those who have filled the ranks of the oppressed. It has tried to live by the gospels and spread the moral and spiritual code found within. It has tried to guide people to Christ and to a life with Christ. It has tried to improve their lives and guide people to improve their own lives.

I often say the church has housed the homeless, and saved the fallen but it has also guided the guideless and love the unlovable but it has also comforted the grieving, dying. Indeed the Christian church and its members have extend the hand and sprit of Christ across the world and across the ages and we have done this for no greater purpose then as an act of praise. We should stand back from are world with a sense of glee that it has been are theology which set the slaves free, brought forth universal health and entrenched mercy at the heart of the ideals of the government.

As Christian we must never paper over the sins of the historic church nor delude ourselves that everything we do is Godly but nor should we allow are atheist brother paint every Christian as akin to the evil of the historic church. We should celebrate the moral laws given to us by Jesus and be proud of the good news that Christ redeemed us all, regardless of faith, merely because he loved us and above all love the imperfect, often week church.