Posts Tagged ‘ politics ’

Voting ‘yes’

On Thursday, the UK goes to the polls for a variety of matters.  There will be elections to the Stormont Assembly in Northern Ireland and to the Welsh National Assembly and the Scottish Parliament.  There will be many local council elections, a smattering of mayoral elections and a by-election.  And across the nation (or is that nations?) there is the referendum on our electoral system.  And in that referendum, the Singing Librarian will be voting ‘yes’, because he would like our system to be changed from “First Past the Post” to “Alternative Vote” (AV).  Actually, that’s not true.  There are many better options than AV, but these options are not being presented to us, and AV is the better of the two on the table.

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Another one bites the dust

Leaders of political parties seem to change with astonishing regularity these days.  Either that, or I’m getting old, and since I have not yet started commenting that policemen look terribly young, the latter can’t be true.  Today, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, stepped down from his position and the whole jolly saga of finding a new party leader will begin shortly.  The Conservative party seem to have done that particular dance an awful lot recently, and of course the United Kingdom recently changed Prime Minister due to a change in Labour party leadership, a fact that I keep forgetting for some reason.

My political leanings tend to be in the Liberal Democrat direction, as I generally agree with most of their policies, more so than any of the other parties.  It seems that with politics, one tends to choose the closest fit, as no party is ever going to reflect your own views, opinions and priorities on every single matter that could ever arise.  Perhaps this is the reason that relatively few people vote.  They cannot find a party or candidate who agrees with absolutely everything they think, and so they vote for nobody, and thus foolishly risk letting the least pleasing option win.

I am sorry to see Sir Menzies go, as he is a politician I have a great deal of respect for.  He isn’t in the least flashy or exciting, but he is wise, experienced and trustworthy, qualities which I admire far more than the ability to spin or a range of sincere, concerned facial expressions.  Gravitas, integrity, respect and sincerity are his defining qualities, and these are all too rare in politics, and always have been.  I understand the need for a leader who can grab the public imagination and force people to truly think about the Liberal Democrats, eternally plagued by ‘third party’ syndrome, but I hope Sir Menzies retains an active role.  He was an exemplary foreign affairs spokesman and his voice is sorely needed in today’s parliament.

The coming weeks, as the party gears up for another leadership contest (their last was only at the beginning of 2006) will be interesting.  I cannot think of any strong contenders at the moment, but they will begin to emerge, no doubt.  I will be keeping my eyes on the news and my fingers firmly crossed for a leader who combines integrity with vision, who appeals to the public imagination without exhibiting style over substance.  Such a person may not exist, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if they did?

What price justice?

There’s a lot in the news at the moment which is distressing, confusing or depressing, sometimes all three at once.  Wars and rumours of wars.  Corruption and scandal.  And, or so it seems to me, a disturbing new direction in criminal justice laws, often prompted by the so-called war on terror.  I don’t often ‘do’ controversial or speak up in a public forum, but there are times when it seems necessary.  One of the most recent rumblings that has put my back up concerns a possible UK version of ‘Megan’s Law’.

This is a law that would allow the ‘naming and shaming’ of paedophiles and similar offenders who have served their prison term and been released into the community.  Now, you won’t find me arguing with anyone who says that paedophilia and child abuse are terrible, terrible things.  However, I cannot see how such a law would be a good thing.  Continue reading

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