The vultures are gathering

My spies tell me that the dissent within Labour’s ranks has grown exponentially since the local elections. Labour MPs are now whispering and posturing and in some cases openly saying that Blair should go. You may think that this is nothing new, but the tectonic plates have shifted and the number of loyalists is dwindling. I’m now feeling that my own Blair Pool prediction was too optimistic. I now think if he hasn’t gone before Labour’s autumn conference, he certainly won’t last to the spring one. There’s still time to enter the Blair Pool – before it’s too late!

Roger Knapman should quit

UKIP were the only British group in the European Parliament to vote against the enlargement to the EU to include Eastern European states. UKIP’s argument for this was that ‘a flood of migrants’ would come here seeking work which would be bad for our economy.

Knapman boasts about how he likes to buy British. So who do you think he has hired to carry out building work on his Devonshire mansion? It turns out that like that other arch-fruitcake, Kilroy, Knapman will take advantage of the benefits of being in the EU as and when it suits him.

Roger Knapman is employing Polish builders (able to work for him because of the enlarged EU) to carry out his work at half the cost of employing British builders.

If I was a raving Eurosceptic, and a member of UKIP (don’t worry, I’m neither) I would feel that Knapman’s position was untenable.

Compulsory voting is inevitable

There’s an interesting piece from Rob Knight on Liberal Review on the subject of compulsory voting. Rob argues that there’s no incentive to vote in safe seats under the present system and he’s quite right, of course. But turnouts are not impressive in winnable seats either – particularly in local elections. One seat we recently lost by 41 votes had a very poor turnout. Electors there had very powerfiul votes!

The plain fact is that we have lost sight of the fact that in a democracy, it is the duty of citizens to vote. The very essence of a stable democracy is undermined by low turnouts – even in close-run seats. I remember feeling quite humbled by the first democratic elections of the post-apartheid South Africa. Newly enfranchised voters walked many miles and then queued for hours in the heat of the day to cast their votes.

We have had several local by elections over the last few months, so I’m not short of practice on either canvassing or polling day knock-ups. Sometimes I get to meet the same voters on both occasions. These are the people who tell you that they are sick and tired of x, y or z that the Council are not doing to their satisfaction. They have plenty of passionate views, and in some cases, promise to vote for your candidate. Return to the same house on polling day, and just about anything is more important than voting (washing my hair, watching the soaps). The fact is that they can’t be arsed (if you’ll pardon my french) because they no longer have any sense that voting is a civic responsibility.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a libertarian at heart – but freedom cannot be had without responsibility. I’m quite happy to provide an ‘abstain’ option for anyone who genuinely doesn’t want to support any of the candidates. It’s just that most people do have an opinion – it’s just they can’t be bothered to go and vote for it.

(awaits hatemail)