Linkblogging For 29/04/10

Music post shortly. For now, here are some links

Alex Wilcock reviews the CD version of Genesis Of The Daleks given away with today’s Torygraph.

David Mathewman on talking about immigration. The more this campaign goes on, the more I want to grab *EVERYONE IN THIS FUCKING COUNTRY* with the exception of a few people like Mr Mathewman, by the throat and scream the actual truth about the appaling, inhuman way we actually treat immigrants in this country, until they *SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH THEIR HATRED*. David’s recent “Why I Am A Liberal Democrat” series is essential reading, too.

Leonard Pierce on the South Park Mohammed controversy .

Andrew Rilstone talks sense on ‘bigotgate’.

Vote Germany in the Pop World Cup!

A Beginners’ Guide To The Election Part 2 – What The Parties Stand For

A bit later than I thought, here’s the second part of this. Before I start, some people were interested in exactly what happens in a balanced parliament situation – here’s a report from the Hansard Society (pdf) that sets it all out.

I’m going to try here to set out what all the major parties in the UK General Election believe, as simply as I can. I’m going to try to avoid words like ‘socialism’ or ‘capitalism’ because I want this to be useful to as many people as possible – I genuinely know quite a few people who don’t know even what the most basic ideas of what the parties stand for even at this late stage. It should also, though, help my foreign friends understand things a bit better. If you’re a member or supporter of one of the parties listed and you think I’m being unfair or inaccurate (within the very simplistic way I’m doing this) please leave a comment.

The Conservative Party are the simplest party to explain. They believe that, more or less, the way things are is the best way they could be. They think that the people with power at the moment (not just politicians, but religious leaders, business leaders, banks and so on – ‘important’ people) are the people who should keep power. This also means that even though it’s not actually their policy, a lot of them think that middle-aged white straight men deserve more power than anyone who isn’t a middle-aged white straight male, though some individual Conservatives, including their current leader, don’t think that. The Conservatives are also called the Tories, and over Britain’s history they have been in government most of the time. Their leader is David Cameron.

The Labour Party are the hardest to explain. They used to believe that working people deserved to get a better share of the money than they do, and that government should make sure of that, but that otherwise it would be better to give people more freedom. Labour governments brought in the National Health Service, created the Open University, ended capital punishment (hanging) and legalised homosexuality and abortion. (Many of these were Liberal ideas originally, but Labour brought them in). However, after the Conservatives were in power for eighteen years, the leaders of the party decided that people didn’t want a government like that any more, and Labour became more-or-less identical to the Conservatives. There are some slight differences – they brought in the minimum wage and civil partnerships for gay people – but otherwise they have behaved almost exactly like the Conservatives (increasing the gap between rich and poor, supporting the Americans in illegal wars). Many Labour *members* though still hope the party will go back to the way it used to be. Labour have been in government for the last 13 years, and their leader is Gordon Brown.

The Liberal Democrats are both Britain’s oldest and newest party, being formed in 1989 from a merger between two other parties, the Liberals (Britain’s oldest party) and the Social Democrats (a new party formed by some ex-Labour members). We believe in freedom – that the government should not interfere in you doing what you want with your life. We realise, though, that you can’t be free without enough food to eat or somewhere to live or medicine if you’re sick, so we think the government should do what it can to make sure everybody has those things, even if it means interfering a bit with rich people’s freedom (by taking some of their money away) to make sure poor people have them. We also think it’s worth making sure we have a better environment for everyone, because the freedoms not to choke on fumes or to have your home not be flooded by dangerous weather are also important. We also want a fairer voting system, to give everyone the freedom to have a say in how they’re governed.
We also want to make sure that *everyone* has more freedom, so we support gay people, and transsexual people, and disabled people, and other people who have a hard time at the moment, and we want to make sure they have the same rights as everyone else and can also do what *they* want to with their lives.
The Liberal Democrats have never been in government, although the Liberals were a long, LONG time ago, and Nick Clegg is our leader.

The Green Party want to protect the environment, and to share money out more so poor people have more and rich people have less. They share a lot of the same ideals as the Liberal Democrats, but we think some of the ways they want to do things won’t work properly, while they think we’re too similar to the Conservatives and Labour and not radical enough. The Greens don’t have any Members of Parliament at the moment, but are hoping to get some. Caroline Lucas is their leader.

The Scottish Nationalist Party and Plaid Cymru are nationalists – they believe that Scotland (for the SNP) and Wales (for Plaid Cymru) should become separate countries. As you would imagine, they don’t have many MPs (Scotland and Wales don’t have many people in compared to England), but they both have a lot of members of their respective assemblies (the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly). Alex Salmond leads the SNP, and Ieuan Wyn Jones leads Plaid Cymru.

There are *lots* of smaller parties in Northern Ireland, where the major mainland parties don’t stand. Roughly speaking the Unionist parties (those that want Northern Ireland to stay part of the UK, mostly Protestants) will support the Conservatives in Parliament, while the Republican parties (those that want Northern Ireland to join with the Republic of Ireland, mostly Catholics) will support Labour, but some Republican parties (like Sinn Fein) won’t take their seats in Parliament because you have to swear allegiance to the Queen. The Alliance Party, which tries to work with both communities and bring them together, are formally linked to the Liberal Democrats.

Racist UKIP The official name of this party is the United Kingdom Independence Party, but I refuse to refer to them as anything other than Racist UKIP, because I was threatened with legal action for saying they are racists. Racist UKIP’s policy is mostly centred around not liking foreigners, so they don’t want to be part of the European Union and they want to stop any foreign people coming over here and get rid of some of the ones who already are. Other than that, they’re mostly the same as the Conservatives. Their leader is Lord Pearson Of Rannoch , and they don’t have any MPs in the Commons but do have members in the House of Lords.

The Bastard Nazi Party, officially the British National Party, are a party that formed mainly to hate black people, though in recent years they have branched out and now hate Muslims too. Their leader is DickIbegyourpardonNick Griffin, and they are bastard Nazis. They don’t have any MPs at the moment, and if you vote for them you are scum.

Linkblogging For 28/04/10

Sorry for lack of actual content – proper posts tomorrow. For now, some links.

First of all, I don’t plan to discuss Brown’s ‘gaffe’ today, where he was polite to a bigot to her face and then grumbled about her behind her back, without realising his mic was still on. It’s the kind of thing that every single politician in Britain has done, and Brown just got caught. It was fun to joke about on Twitter, but it should not have dominated the news in the way it has. This, however, is important. This illustrates exactly why we need to change the rhetoric surrounding immigration. Meanwhile Justin at Chicken Yoghurt shows precisely how disgraceful it is that this disgusting hypocritical war criminal who has destroyed the lives of millions DARES to criticise someone else for bigotry.

(I must look into how you change party policy on immigration, in fact, and work towards getting ours changed. )

David Brothers says what I’ve been saying for a long time about ‘canon’

Laurie Penny reviews a couple of books on the way the Baby Boomers have destroyed their children’s lives.

Tom at It Took Seconds examines John Cage’s 4’33 and also links to this very thorough examination of the piece.

And a good piece from Language Log absolutely demolishing the fallacy that ‘men don’t listen’

Finally, if you’re using Spotify (and yes, unfortunately, the free software clients are still not up to much, so I’m still reliant on the proprietary client – one of only three non-free pieces of software on my machine, along with Inform 7 and the nonfree rar for unpacking cbr files) you can add me to the social whatsists and send me music or something. as well as seeing all my playlists in one place.

Linkblogging For 26/04/10

Again, apologies to my foreign readers for so much of the current content being political. It’s only going to last until Thursday of next week, when the election happens, though. I promise to spend the whole next four years after that just talking about Batman.

UK Election Trend look at the different possibilities and conclude a Lib/Lab coalition is still most likely, while the Independent says Clegg has ‘hinted he could work with Labour’. James Graham, in Comment Is Free, says the same. Now will you all PLEASE stop screaming about how Clegg is Cameron’s bestest ever friend?

A wonderful thing here – the entrants into a competition for text adventure (‘interactive fiction’) games that had to be written in a total of 140 characters or fewer (except for whitespace). Most are written in Inform 7, but some are in perl, or even sed or awk, and all are playable…

Jim Jepps (a Green) talks about members of other parties he admires – Lib Dems, Labour and far left.

The Honorable Lady Mark wonders which ‘home’ the Bastard Nazi Party want him to go to.

And Grant Morrison talks about the return of Bruce Wayne

On Coalitions

A lot of Labour supporters – and Green supporters – have been up in arms for the last day or so, practically frothing at the mouth and screaming because Nick Clegg has said that

if Labour gets the smallest share of the vote of the three main parties and the most seats, he would not tolerate Brown remaining prime minister.

(from here. Warning – Murdoch paper.)

A lot of Labour supporters seem to be seeing the Lib Dems as basically the same as Labour really (in the attitude that ‘Liberal’ Conspiracy takes), and as some kind of secret backup plan – and so they’ve been incredibly hurt by this, and got angry, accusing Clegg of saying he will form a coalition with the Conservatives, and screaming ‘vote Clegg get Cameron’.

But look at what he’s actually saying:
IF Labour come third in the vote
THEN we would not tolerate
GORDON BROWN remaining Prime Minister.

What this *DOESN’T* say:
We won’t work with Labour if they come second
We won’t work with Labour with another leader
We won’t work with Labour as the junior partner in a Lib Dem-led coalition.

It’s very simple – if Labour come THIRD (not second, note, THIRD), Gordon Brown doesn’t get to be Prime Minister any more. That’s all he’s said.

I’ve spent much of this election staggered at the sense of entitlement coming from the Tories, their sense that they don’t need to actually do anything because it’s their turn to be in power – but even they don’t have the nerve to suggest that IF THEY COME THIRD they should run the country, and be angry at A DIFFERENT PARTY for not agreeing with them about that.

Just to be clear, I don’t think we will form a coalition with the Tories – in fact I would leave the party if we did so, because I remember the Thatcher and Major years too well, and even though I actually have no rational basis for preferring Labour – both parties being evil, as far as I can see – I have a visceral, irrational hatred of the Tories. So if I thought I was supporting a Lib/Tory coalition, I would leave today. It’s not going to happen.

But all along Clegg has made clear exactly what would have to be agreed to form a coalition with either other major party – tax rises on the rich to pay for tax cuts for the poor, spending more on education for poor children, electoral reform and a change from an economy based on financial services to a more environmentally-friendly one. Those don’t sound especially Tory to me.

I suspect it simply never occurred to him until this week to say “the party with the most votes should be in charge” because it would take a sense of entitlement the size of a small galaxy to demand to still be in charge AFTER COMING THIRD, and to make that demand of a party WITH THE WORD ‘DEMOCRATS’ IN ITS NAME.

To be honest, I think Labour and the Tories would make better coalition partners together than either would with us. As I said in the comments to this post by millennium, “Let the war criminals and the idiot sons of privilege go into coalition together. They deserve each other.”

In this election, for the first time in my lifetime, there’s a chance for *REAL* change. Vote for the party *YOU WANT TO WIN*. If you want a bunch of corrupt war criminals, vote Labour. If you want a bunch of inbred aristocratic cretins who think they have a right to rule because their great-grandmother slept with the Queen, vote Tory. Me, I want a Liberal and Democratic government, so I’m voting Liberal Democrat.

But if the Liberal Democrats come third, I won’t go stamping my feet and demanding that Nick Clegg get to be Prime Minister anyway, as Labour supporters are already doing. Because I am mature enough to know that ‘coming third’ is not the same as ‘winning’.

The second part of my Beginners’ Guide will be up tonight.

Linkblogging For 25/04/10

Proper post tonight…

Terence Eden, who describes himself as a ‘natural Labour voter’ who went into the election thinking he might vote for them, is joining the Lib Dems. I’m quite astonished at how many people I know, respect and like, but who have previously been non-partisan, are becoming active campaigners for the party this time round. I feel like a trendsetter!

David Mitchell says David Cameron is feeling the hand of history where it hurts.

The Heresiarch has a post on PR. It’s full of unsubstantiated claims and things I disagree with, but it *does* show that it is possible to be a Tory and have a coherent argument for PR.

Via Wesley, an essay on Farmville which suggests we should call it a ‘sociopathic application’ rather than a social one.

Left Outside, like me, is tired of arguing on the internet about immigration and is doing a series of posts addressing most of the biggest myths on the subject put about by racist pricks. Here’s the first post, on population density.

Jonathan Calder thinks the election ‘turning American’ is, for once, a good thing.

James Graham tells Polly Toynbee where she can stick her clothespeg.

And Millennium was ambivalent about Victory Of The Daleks.