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

 

 

To people voting in the 2019 European Election

Fiona Radic in Norwich on the St Julian Bridge in the city centre

“I am thrilled to be standing in May 2019 for election in an unexpected European election with a simply outstanding team of candidates, any of whom would make a wonderful Member of the European Parliament.

We want to offer people across the East region the opportunity to

  • confront and tackle climate chaos
  • protect the beautiful land we walk on and depend upon for our sustenance
  • localise our economies & reduce our supply chains and our food and commuting mileages
  • reform government (yes: European as well). Democratic deficiencies open up cracks and we have crises of trust. So while people feel that they are being exposed to economic, climatic and political threats, voters are furious that their wishes as expressed at the ballot box are disregarded when they can see that politicians have no choice but to work together and across party lines.”

Fiona Radic stood for parliament in 2010 and celebrated a decade of campaigning with the Green Party by standing again in 2017’s snap election. She helped manage the successful Green Mayor Campaign in which Julie Howell kept her deposit, polling over 9% of first preference votes in Peterborough and proving strong core support in a city with strong environmental ambition. Julie Howell was subsequently elected to the city council in 2018 as Peterborough’s first Green city councillor.

Fiona campaigned to remain in the EU during the referendum and previously stood for election in East Region to the European Parliament in 2014. 

“My family is international in its connections and outlook. The EU referendum was divisive and profoundly destructive. It caused alarm and dismay at a time of unprecedented international economic stress and political upheaval. I stand firmly with those whose rights and relationships – personal and business – are being overlooked by the state. People are not bargaining chips. It isn’t acceptable for politicians to play to the gallery by discarding peoples’ hard won rights. It is one thing for the state to assert its right to govern itself (even if that right was never endangered). It is entirely another to put our current economic system at risk, and to threaten family life. And not just family life. Businesses are also being rocked by incompetent and self interested styles of government. If we are to leave the EU, let us be sure to make that a sensible and constructive process and make full use of Green Party thinking on local decision making and empowerment. But I am now absolutely sure that the decision about leaving the EU was founded on shoddy information and that those in power will have to give voters a sensible and fully informed choice. Of course voters will be cross: they are entitled to be furious. But fake news, anger and fear are not sound bases for complicated and difficult decisions and those who whipped it up should be ashamed of themselves and I hope that in this extraordinary European election which nobody thought would happen, that voters will hold them accountable by casting their vote for the Green Party.”

Fiona has campaigned on the NHS, on transport, planning and infrastructure, on nuclear power and Trident, air quality, green spaces, social justice and equality, maternity services and housing. Fiona has worked in universities, in companies massive and tiny in the financial and telecoms sectors and also as an unpaid activist and volunteer.

Photos for use by press (high resolution)  password available to press:  Contact me

Contact our Press Officer  link in preparation

You can read more about the list of candidates and how to support our campaign here

Contact the Green European Parliament candidate list.  link in preparation

Council’s Waste Trial lost revenue and probably fewer than 150 fly tips were averted

Waste activism in Peterborough has a long and distinguished history and a great many people and many organised groups have got stuck in, many of them heroically and steadily cleaning up things which simply shouldn’t be where they are.

This blog years ago as a lament that I had not been able to achieve something I’d dedicated a great deal of time and energy to: stopping the construction of a plant to incinerate domestic waste. And in this blog I began to look at and discuss the politics of Peterborough generally, partly in order to understand and explain the weaknesses of campaigning organisations in the city (who I then felt could all have done better) against a political decision to incinerate, based on levels of (elected councillor) ignorance which I’d never encountered before in any organisation. I needed to understand how that had happened too, and who benefits from a toxic waste disposal policy. Who benefits from a waste policy which isn’t working.

Meanwhile it seems that the attitudes I encountered: literally: “if you can’t see it, there is nothing there” approach to stack emissions has created a national problem, especially in England, which now does things worse and to lower standards than Scotland, Wales, the USA and Europe. Brexit might offer hope to those that are keen to practice toxic politics, but the toxins left in our environment aren’t going anywhere.

But about three years ago the Green Party began a Flash Mob Litter Pick, which roved around in response to resident callouts to deal with litter hotspots. Here’s a Flash Mob after a session litter picking in 2016, taken in a New England cul de sac: Like any litter picker, we were dealing with the council and its ways of doing things, with the odd hazardous item (discarded hypodermic needles are one of the worst at the moment) and we were also thinking about things like the bags the council uses, why people do what they do, where it comes from and how it travelled to where it is. We had hundreds of conversations, with each other, with passers by, with the council and with the people who deal with fly tipped toxic wastes (such as paints, oils, chemicals). It didn’t take us long to appreciate that people were sometimes being turned away by the legal disposal routes because of the way they had been implemented by the council or because of the conversations they had had with council operatives. We encountered a number of people who had been turned away from the Household Waste centre at Dogsthorpe. We realised that if you make people feel they are doing something wrong when they thought they were doing something right (they just didn’t know about the law or the procedure for doing what the council requires them to do) you are probably just building anti-council feelings and even another fly tip. The council operative is probably doing the right thing: saying all the right things, but the person to whom they are talking is struggling to cope with the situation. Some people get angry. Some people are shocked. In this situation, people may hear what is said to them, but they won’t be able to listen. So as we picked, we worked out that if one cul de sac could produce two car boot fulls of waste and a pile of fly tip, then there would be several skips full in each ward in the city. The volume of discarded waste lying around in our environment, defining our environment for everyone living or growing up in it – are unbelievable.

With fly tip, we looked at it and we began to understand the impact of the nice man at the front door who offers to take away your rubbish despite not having obtained the all important waste carrier’s licence. The role of this character is key: he (we think it is usually a he!) has perfectly understood the business opportunity provided to him by this corporate communications disaster.

Sometimes it is a whole house contents which is tipped out onto the highway, or someone else’s private property. Anybody in Peterborough can see that there is a big problem with landlords, or with people providing services to landlords and tenants. People living in or running the rental sector grab the cheapest furniture, because tenures are short and incomes are tight and what could be a re-use opportunity is instead a dumped problem. Legitimate house clearance businesses: where are they?

Julie Howell (pictured here in New England) took the conclusions to Orton Waterville where she was a parish councillor and she applied herself to communicating directly with every resident. Waste management was just one of the things she tackled in her communications. Here she discusses fly tipping on her blog:

http://howell4ortonwaterville.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/getting-grip-on-fly-tipping.html

And here she is discussing fly tip on Radio Cambridgeshire yesterday morning:

Yesterday she was responding to the council leader who made some interesting comments in an article published in the Peterborough Telegraph soon after Julie was elected to the city councillor and thereby displaced the cabinet member responsible for waste management. The paper’s headline and the photograph put fly tipping into the spotlight.

https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/politics/council-leader-pledges-new-efforts-to-tackle-fly-tipping-in-peterborough-1-8491096

First he announces that fly-tipping will be “a focus” for the council this coming year. And admits that the issue was “repeatedly raised on the doorsteps in the run-up to the elections.” This might suggest that there is hope.

But then he says something really interesting. What he appears to do in a scant four lines of text, is give a summary of the results of the Free Bulky Waste Trial. I don’t know if a detailed analysis of the results of the trial has been made available to elected councillors or whether or not that analysis breaks down at ward level. But if not that is what I’d be asking for if I was a councillor.

Holdich claims that the trial “made no difference to the amount of fly-tipping,” This suggests that the council has a way of very accurately measuring fly tipping activity over a period of time. That would be very interesting, if it were true. I think the police might be interested in how the council knows this too, since not being able to catch fly tippers is one of its defining and most annoying characteristics.

Then he asserts that “the council missed out on £40,000 from fewer paid collections.” Now, assuming he’s right about that, it suggests to me that the people making use of the free trial were people who would otherwise have called the council to arrange a paid for collection. This group of people, complying with existing procedures and forking out for the collections they organise does not strike me as an appropriate target group if you wanted to attract the waste which is being fly tipped and the people doing the fly tipping, because this group is by Holdich’s definition not fly-tipping their waste anyway. They are doing it correctly and dutifully providing the council with additional revenue.

Then Holdich claims that “It’s a national problem and nobody has come up with a panacea.” I think by calling on a Greek goddess, he is both looking for and deriding a universal fix. He might do better if he looked systematically at another goddess: Hygeia is the Greek goddess of cleanliness and hygiene, a goddess understood by the Greeks to be part of Aesclepius’ family of medicine, health and feeling good generally.

But let’s have a closer look at the council’s “Free Bulky Waste Trial”. It was designed to run for thirteen weeks: from 11th December to 9th March. A bulky waste collection normally costs £23.50. So adding up the available collections during the free trial, we have a cap of 52 collections per day, and an estimated “more than 1,000 free collections” during month one. Then a maximum of 26 per day for the remainder of the trial. Residents would be free to book a collection between 4th December to 5th March. So what actually happened?

We don’t know, except that the available slots were taken up enthusiastically to the extent that no more bookings for free collections were taken from 25th January, six weeks before the trial was supposed to end. Taking Christmas into account, the Trial stopped half way through. In fact it didn’t survive the Spring Clean Season. When the council closed new advance bookings, it was clear already that it was well organised people who were using the trial.

What we do know is that if £40,000 revenue was lost to the council because people using the trial would otherwise have booked a chargeable collection, then 1702 free collections were made who’d otherwise pay for those collections. These will have been well organised people complying with procedures, who probably were unlikely to be fly tipping waste or giving it to to a fly tipper masquerading as a legitimate waste handler before the trial began.

The big question, then, is how many collections were made above 1702.

52 per day for the first month would give us four weeks one of which includes the Christmas break. So let’s say 52 x 4 x 3 = 624

Then we have 26 per day for the other nine weeks, so x 4 x 9 = 936

If we add these figures together and take them away from 1702, we get 142.

Roughly one hundred and forty two collections were available to people who maybe would NOT normally have called the council. And that figure can only be true if the council and those people were able to use every single slot it had available. Given that this target group is likely to be less well organised, less well resourced and generally less compliant with how the council runs things, I find this highly unlikely.

We don’t know if the council added capacity, as it promised it would at the outset of the trial if demand was high. And if it didn’t, we don’t know why it didn’t. It may have realised that the non fly tipping community was not engaging very much with its trial, and if so, that would not surprise me.

I am sure that Holdich feels that the trial proves his point. I dare say it proves mine too: that the systems in place are unfit for purpose for many sections of our community and it is also clear that the ruling Conservatives still have no sensible plan in place to change that.

 

A walk in the Park, following Doris

Still standing. This little tree tilted to get out of the elm's space. The elm was cut down. (Dutch Elm Disease).
Still standing. This little tree tilted to get out of the elm’s space. The elm was cut down. (Dutch Elm Disease).
This Scots Pine grows at an inexplicable angle, but is completely unmoved by Doris
This Scots Pine grows at an inexplicable angle, but is completely unmoved by Doris. The orange object on the path should have been binned by the dog’s owner. This is a new problem in Central Park. The park warden used to talk to people and hand out bags.
A loose branch hangs high above the flag in the middle of the park. The flag pole needs a little repair too.
A loose branch hangs high above the flag in the middle of the park. The flag pole needs a little repair too.
This rootball must have sounded like cannon being fired when it snapped.
This rootball must have sounded like cannon being fired when it snapped.
20170224_163616
Glorious brilliance in the sheared surfaces. Almost gold. Late afternoon in shade. Elsewhere the sun is on it.
I wish I could have captured the astonishment in his face as he cycled up to this
I wish I could have captured the astonishment in his face as he cycled up to this! When I approached this tree some teenagers were jumping on it. They saw me, looked very sheepish and ran away. They don’t make teenagers like they used to, do they?
Twisted and snapped. Sheared. Bright orange surfaces of broken wood.

20170224_162148

20170224_162330 20170224_163115 20170224_163616

Peter watches Bonnie investigate. The dog was very energetic: the result of having to kept in yesterday. Odd how little the surrounding grass has been disturbed. You’d expect the roots to be all over the place, but no: all broken off, quite neatly.