Monday, 4 August 2014

We're all sceptics!

I have often thought that, if there was a world opinion poll asking, “Do you believe in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism etc?” an overwhelming majority would vote “No” to each of them.


Friday, 1 August 2014

Recalling elected representatives

The Government has promised to introduce a Bill to allow electors to recall MPs and some people have suggested that it should also apply to Councillors.

Basically, I think it is yet another distraction from campaigning for an effective voting system, which would let voters “recall” representatives at the end of their term of office.  First Past The Post does not allow that because about 70% of MPs and many Councillors have safe seats.
Recall would be a cosmetic tinkering to make the system look more democratic without much real effect.  It would be a sticking plaster, when radical surgery is needed.

If the right to recall was very powerful, it would be an irresistible temptation to opposition parties, when the polls were running in their favour, to force by-elections for political purposes in marginal constituencies.

If the right was not very powerful, it would not be very useful anyway.

MPs and Councillors should be automatically expelled if they are convicted of offences, or perhaps if the sentence is at or above a certain level.  If they have not broken the law but have sailed close to breaking it or have failed to perform constituency duties adequately, that is for voters to judge at the next election and, with an effective voting system, they could exercise that judgement against a particular candidate without necessarily voting against their usual party.

The only voting system I know that could achieve this is the Single Transferable Vote (STV) in multi-member constituencies. I recommend for more information about STV.

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Resuming posting

I have not posted for nearly five years because I had lost the e-mail address, which I had used for posting because it was the easiest way.  Now I think I have discovered another way to post, I may resume.  If this posting appears, I'll know that I have discovered another way.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

MPs' expenses

Since the scandal of MPs' expenses broke, there has been much talk of reforming the voting system, but there are many voting systems, most better than the First Past The Post used now.  Of all systems, the Single Transferable Vote ("STV") would uniquely help voters to reward good MPs and punish bad ones. It is a preferential, or "choice", system which would let voters sack corrupt MPs without voting against their own party. Please visit and sign the petition to the Prime Minister.

Please visit or if you would like to know more about STV.



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Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Knives in school

Did anyone else notice there was an announcement yesterday that metal detectors were to be installed to prevent knives being taken into schools and, today, there was an announcement that cooking will be a compulsory school subject. What will they cook? Jelly and blancmange?

More seriously, most boys carried at least penknives when I was at school and I had to carry either a jack-knife or a sheath-knife when I was in Scout uniform. Like most boys, I got into fights from time to time, but I never drew my knife or had one drawn against me.


Monday, 7 January 2008

MPs' pay

In most occupations, there is at least an approximate relationship between pay and market forces.  Even if they do not strike, there will be a tendency for more to leave the occupation than to enter it if they are chronically underpaid and recruitment will be difficult until pay is increased.  Conversely, applications will exceed vacancies if the occupation is overpaid.


There were 3,554 candidates for only 646 vacancies at the 2005 General Election.  This was the second highest number of candidates on record, 235 more than in 2001 and an average of 5.5 for each vacancy, so should MPs vote themselves any pay rise or are they overpaid already?




Sunday, 6 January 2008


Today is the first anniversary of Wendy's death.  It is sad but not depressing and it has been happier than last year.  Our daughter came to stay overnight yesterday and we visited Wendy's grave together today before going on to the hospice, where the book of remembrance was open at her name.


The Christmas and New Year period was also happier than last year, when there was the stress of wishing she was not about to die and yet also wanting her suffering to end.  Our daughter went out of her way to make the period pleasant for me this year and, of course, our granddaughters made it enjoyable without even trying.