Wasting parliamentary time

The incidence of vote fraud in the UK is vanishingly small.

This post Brexit government seems remarkably keen to solve microscopic and even non existent problems. The incidence of vote fraud in the UK is vanishingly small. Very effective UK legislation to tackle vote fraud is already in place. QED Vote fraud does not need new legislation.

However imposing “voter ID” is highly likely to have undesirable, oppressive and discriminatory effects and our UK government and our MP know this. Because making it harder to vote suppresses the vote in groups which find things hard anyway.

But there would be no harm in raising voter awareness of vote fraud. Vote fraud can and has been effectively detected and prosecuted: here in Peterborough and elsewhere. In fact, anybody taking part in the electoral process can spot vote fraud and report it (as long as they know what to look out for). Moreover it is already a statutory responsibility of the police to protect our democratic systems. If you witness vote fraud while it is actually happening, call the police on 999. If you’ve seen it in the past, report it online. It is a crime, like any other. If our MP is aware of instances which have not been detected, reported and prosecuted, perhaps he could explain what advice he gave those who witnessed a crime and what the police did with all those reports?

If my MP believes that the incidence of what he believes is a problem is statistically higher than extremely rare in the UK or if a vote fraud has ever been shown to have influenced the result of an election, perhaps he or our new Police and Crime Commissioner could produce the evidence? Evidence of crime can overturn an election result in the UK, which is exactly as it should be. But while not having enough evidence to substantiate your case can be expensive when an accusation goes to court (as happened after Peterborough’s own 2019 by election) wasting his constituents’ time is not chargeable to our MP and even more unfortunately (given the urgency of what needs doing in parliament) no offence of wasting parliamentary time has yet been put on the statute book. Perhaps it should be?

Why Not Vote Tactically?

For people who’d like to vote Green

This post is for would be Green voters. But if your preference happens to be for a different party which has a history of not getting a proportionate number of candidates elected per votes cast, then this is for you too.

Every general election Green voters are bombarded with messages to vote for another party. Teams of people argue why on social media. Every general election is special for some unique reason and so, just this once, voters need to vote for someone they don’t really like, because the candidate/party they don’t really like happens to be less objectionable than the candidate most likely to win. So this year, in 2019, this Thursday, this general election is special because we are told that we are not really voting for our own area’s candidates on the ballot paper at all: we are voting for or against “Brexit”. The two main parties principal messages are about their opposite leader (as if that really made a difference outside their constituencies).

Even people who are not absorbed in the detail know this is not OK.

If you live in a safe constituency

If the last winning majority was, say, over 2,000 votes, you can vote for your favourite candidate full stop.

This is because how you vote simply won’t make any difference to the result.

If you live in a marginal

You might have to think rather more carefully. But of course 2,000 is just a random number. There are levels of marginality and you need to decide where to draw the line in your constituency. Go here to see the effect of marginality across the country and in your area.

If you want to vote tactically

You also need to understand why you are doing it. People who are not sufficiently well informed are highly vulnerable to manipulation and misdirection. Check what you believe is true. Check your own reasoning:

    • Are you wanting to stop the Tories?
    • Are you wanting to ensure the UK remains in the EU?

Depending on what your objective is, a tactical vote might or might not make sense. Here is a comparison, on one tactical voting website, of other websites.  However, it makes no sense to simply take any website’s advice. Who runs the site and why are they putting time and resources into it? Which organisations run or promote them? What is motivating them?

But let us suppose that despite doing all of the above a tactical vote or voting for your favourite party are still options for you.

Which to choose? How to decide? What are the ramifications?

    • Could you really tip the result?
    • How does your tactical option benefit the party which gets your tactical vote?
    • How does your decision not to vote with your heart affect the party you really love?

Is it really only about one vote this time?

Are you happy to deprive your favourite party of:

    • encouragement
    • support
    • finance – they may lose future income in the form of “short money”
    • their deposit (£500 per constituency is only returned by the government to candidates who win over 5% of votes cast)

The UK voting system needs reform so that people are free to make a genuine vote rather than a so called tactical one.

One tactical vote or two million tactical votes will not fix broken First Past The Post. It doesn’t matter how well informed your vote is: how crafty you are. On your own you can’t stop people being misled by people who benefit from people being misled any more than I can. (But you could share this post.)

Neither The Labour Party nor The Conservative & Unionist Party are interested in any form of voting system reform. If you vote for either of them you are supporting and entrenching the problematic First Past The Post voting system. It makes no sense at all to vote tactically to benefit either of them.

The deposit system was brought in to deter candidates who were not serious. What The Green Party stands for should not cost us so much, but while it still does, we need all the votes we can get.

In conclusion
    1. Vote Green on Thursday
    2. Donate to us to keep us standing and communicating
    3. Thank you for reading so far. Here is a window poster you can download.

Select and download your own Vote Green window poster



Backing the Greens in Peterborough

There are just hours left now to donate to our parliamentary crowdfunder:

Local Greens are helping voters to get Green Party councillors elected onto Peterborough City Council. You can vote Green all over Peterborough. We raise money to pay for leaflets so that local people know they can vote for us. You can vote Green in Peterborough and North West Cambridgeshire constituencies. This all costs money.

Go here to see how we are doing.

Contrary to what the public assumes, our activists work for free: they volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, a financial contribution is the quickest and most effective way to support us. Back our Crowdfunder now.

In between our big appeals, go here for other ways to donate to our campaigns and keep our activists busy.

Disappearing tracks and a livestream murder

Equipped & trained to livestream a hustings to the public but prevented from doing so on 28 May 2019

I don’t remember dreaming last night. I often dream. But last night I slept that dark recovery sleep which comes night after night when you have been sleep deprived for a long time. Like Guinness. Dark and deep. No images. But something important got stitched together in the night. As I swung out of bed I knew exactly why I had got so cross yesterday about the livestream being cancelled during the hustings at the St Johns Hustings on Tuesday. Anger is never a good thing, but  it is the most important directional kick and motivator available. Incredibly powerful. Understanding it and reflecting on it matters: I always try to do that. I was puzzling about my feelings when I went to bed. But it took a whole night’s sleep to alert me to what had made me incandescent with fury yesterday.

I’d been looking in the wrong place for the answer.

Last night’s sleep brought me back to another painful memory. I am very aware of other candidates’ emotions: I’ve been upset several times. The way candidates are treated is very important. One party leader at the Tuesday railed against his candidate’s exclusion from the platform. I couldn’t help but sympathise. Candidates need so much support and help in doing what they try to do. It is impossible not to see the hurt and pain which they encounter on the way. During the night two memories of anger and a feeling of me personally being badly let down connected themselves together. I’d been reflecting on yet another occasion (yes standing for election is full of drama and high emotion!), but of course: it wasn’t that occasion which mattered.

Nearly the same thing happened before. Of course it did. I was told years ago at another hustings that a professional recording would be made and that it would be broadcast but it never was. My performance on the platform was pretty awful. But the broken promise was what mattered to and hurt me.

That’s why I was nearly incoherent yesterday on Twitter. Do go and have a look. https://twitter.com/FionaRadic

This morning I am calm. I realise this is a rerun of what has happened before. There is a pattern. The murderer of tracks may have struck before.

The trouble with getting upset about things is that you can’t always confront the actual problem so you embalm it in a better buried place in your consciousness in order to “move on”. This is especially true if you are a directly affected and traumatised candidate. But as it happens, this week I have a huge advantage. I am not the candidate. True I am in recovery from having been the candidate in two very exciting and over close together elections. But I am deliciously and delightfully free of the specific challenges which every candidates faces: including having to put a lot of very important things on one side in order to deal with the urgent things. And I can sleep. I am looking after another candidate. But I am not him. I can reflect. I can think. Bliss.

A high level of disappointment between what was promised at an event and what is delivered is why I now go equipped with a camera and even a crew if I can assemble one and try to report on the event as well as perform (when I am a candidate) at a hustings. Of course this is entirely because it has happened before. My behaviour is totally conditioned by the occasion which sleep brought back to me. I’d somehow excluded it from my thoughts yesterday even though it was the causative event of my current behaviour. You can only know what it is like to do both jobs if you’ve done it. Candidates shouldn’t need to perform as candidates and as reporter. Multiple reasons why not, including obvious bias.

It isn’t an accident that I’ve never been elected. For me that is never, has never been the most important thing. A functioning democracy is far more important to me. I was aware when I started my blog things didn’t work properly in Peterborough.

Well here’s a very important example of things going utterly wrong. If you have an election, voters need to see the candidates as soon as possible so that they can make as good a decision as they possibly can.

Anything which supports that process is contributing to the workings of democracy. Huge numbers of people not directly involved in the party political processes help the democratic process to work as well as it can. They often don’t get a thank you. The vast majority get absolutely nothing in return. We need more of them and they need to be supported and feel far more empowered.

Anything or anyone which obstructs that needs to be identified and exposed.

Nobody and nothing should have had the power to murder the livestream on Tuesday.  The host of an event is in charge and a candidate at a public event is in a public place. So how was that even possible?

So today I’ve decided to stop yelling frantically on twitter, get out the meditative garden fork which is my blog and ask people what they can tell me about these recordings and who stops them being broadcast and why. And if they are used, who uses them. Comments are open if you can talk openly (you can comment anonymously too). But you are very welcome to use my contact form (see top right) if you can’t talk openly.

Let’s Elect Catherine!


I am delighted to introduce Catherine:

Eastern Green Party Crowdfunder from Daniel on Vimeo.

The Green Party is the East of England’s Remain Party and the UK’s biggest pro-European party in the European Parliament.

We have launched our campaign to mobilise one of the strongest pro-European movements anywhere on the continent. Our campaign is proudly standing up for free movement, for gold standard climate action and for the rights of all Europeans. Now is the time to decide what kind of Britain we want to have and what our values are.

We are asking you to #JoinOurCrowd of backers.

If we can grow our fundraising crowd big enough we will raise enough to leaflet every home in the region (yes: that is millions!), and we will be able also to fund a social media campaign to ensure that everybody can see what we are standing for in this election. By all means give us a big donation. Or if you can’t do that, give us a small donation: whatever you can afford. But please whatever you can or can’t do in the way of money, please give us a share. Sharing will take this post to people not in my social media network already and if they also share to people we’ve never reached before. Please share this with people you think might be delighted to support our hard working team to win our first seat in Eastern. So important for our region to bring European Green cooperation, constructiveness and creativity into our part of the world.

Join us: help us: we can make this happen.
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