Although I’ve thought about it for a long time, I find myself increasingly unsure about electoral reform, and questioning much of what is being said after Thursday’s election. I’m certainly no fan of the current system, with its awkward patchwork of safe seats and local tactical battles; and I’m distinctly unhappy to see the Tories handed the power to implement some really damaging policies; but I’m not sure the two things are really connected, or what a better system would actually look like.
I’m quite pleased with my blog post about why legalising same-sex marriage is the only logical option. It took me ages to finish, and I think it’s quite thorough. But at over three thousand words long, it’s not exactly bite-sized!
So here I present its boiled down essence, in the form of an imaginary dialog (( and using my favourite under-used HTML element, the definition list 8) )). It follows the same order as the original post, so if you want the details on any of these points, please look over there before arguing with them.
Ever since a friend posted a quote on Facebook from this article about same-sex marriage by Archbishop John Sentamu, I’ve had a lengthy analysis and response drifting through my mind. The government consultation ended on the 14th of June, and they’ve indicated they intend to press ahead with legalisation, but the debate is still very much alive. To my mind, equalisation of marriage seems entirely sensible, and those objections to it not based on outright prejudice are missing some crucial logical point. This is obviously just my opinion, but I’m going to attempt to back it up with some thorough logical analysis below.
This week, the first campaign leaflets started coming through for the Borough Council Elections, and, more interestingly, the voting system referendum. One of the Conservative “newsletters” featured this eye-catching cartoon, headlined “A.V. = A Permanent Cleggocracy”. I was immediately sceptical, but the more I looked at it, the more I realised how utterly wrong this cartoon is.
Much has been made of the fact that Gordon Brown was never elected; but the fact is, under our current system, no Prime Minister is elected. In fact, our system makes no explicit provisions for individual voters wishing to express their preference of government, only an indirect message via their collective selections for parliament. Discussions of electoral reform tend to either ignore this dichotomy, or suggest messy compromises that no-one really supports, rather than confronting it head on and coming up with a truly creative solution.
Every six months, I get a little more passionate about the pointlessness of Summer Time – or, as it is ridiculously known in some parts of the world, “Daylight Savings Time” – the practice of telling everyone to change the time on their clocks twice a year, as a trick to make them get up at a different time. There’s even talk of changing the time zone for the whole of the UK, based on the same flawed reasoning. It seems like on every other issue, politicians are promoting choice, and informing the public, but when it comes to what time we have to get up in the morning, they’d rather hide behind an out-dated lie.
[Update: Put your name towards something more reasonable: the Campaign for Real Time!]