Groundhog day

On 6th May last year, I was up early to go telling at the general election, and then spent the evening at the Duchess in York, seeing Show of Hands.

On 4th May this year, it was election day again – for the local councis, and the vote on the AV referendun, and spookily, we spent the evening in York seeing Show of Hands at the Duchess in York once again.

Last year, we saw the LibDem candidate come within a whisker of taking Hull North from Diana Johnson MP, slicing her 7000+ majority to less than 700 votes. The city council was safely in control of the LibDems.

Tonight, Labour control Hull council – last time they had control, they were officially deemed a failing council, and I cannot begin to imagine what is going to happen to our city now. Less than 50% of the electorate have voted against any progress towards proportional representation, which will set the cause back by at least one decade, and probably two.

I feel profoundly depressed.

Sky HD box

In other news, we had Sky HD installed ten days ago, due to the impending demise of our beloved Tivo, or at least the demise of its official listing service. We’ve only gone for the basic service so far, but I’m more impressed than I expected it to be. The Tivo it ain’t, but I can programme it via my iPhone, and it has behaved flawlessly thus far.

Dear Diana Johnson MP

Dear Diana Johnson,

There is a great deal in the media at the moment about “super-fast broadband” coming to the whole of the UK BY 2015.

I moved here from just outside Bristol in November 2009, where we were lucky enough to have both ADSL and 20Mb cable; the latter cost us about what we pay Kingston Communications for an 8Mb service, which drops well below that much of the time, and is throttled and traffic-shaped to ridiculous levels.

I would be obliged if you could enquire of Mr Hunt’s department what plans, if any, there are for this super-fast broadband to be brought to this area. Kingston’s monopolistic practices have no place in the modern digital world.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely


Sent using the most excellent

politics defined

Shamelessly stolen from Dizzy Thinks:

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

SINGAPOREAN DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.

MILITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the President is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate”.

BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You feed them sheeps’ brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take the cows.

CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

HONG KONG CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly – listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother – in – law at the bank, then execute a debt / equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows’ milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the fung shiu is bad.

ENVIRONMENTALISM: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

FEMINISM: You have two cows. They get married and adopt a veal calf.

TOTALITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

COUNTER CULTURE: Wow, dude, there’s like… these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

LIBERTARIANISM: You have two cows. One has actually read the US constitution, believes in it, and has some really good ideas about government. The cow runs for office, and while most people agree that the cow is the best candidate, nobody except the other cow votes for her because they think it would be “throwing their vote away.”

it's been a long day …

… and it ain’t over yet.  Was up at 5.30 this morning, and at the polling station at 6:50 a.m. to do telling.  I was first to vote, of course, but only just!  It was busier than normal, according to the warden at the church hall, but not so busy that I couldn’t cope. No Labour teller, which struck me as odd given it’s a Labour seat with a 7+k majority.

I was frozen – really, really cold.  I took a flask of tea, but couldn’t find Pete’s fingerless gloves, which I’d commandeered for the occasion.  I texted him but he couldn’t find them at home, so I rummaged once again in the many and varied pockets of my backpack and there they were. When he came up to vote, he fetched me a hot pastie [fnaar] – that and the mittens sustained me till the end of my shift at 11 a.m.

When I got home, we set out on a day off (or what was left of it).  We were heading to York, and stopped in Market Weighton and Pocklington for strolls, before arriving at our planned destination.  We had a nice wander round the city, walked about half of the city walls, looked at a lot of shops (but bought nothing), ate tea in Bettys (overpriced, over twee, won’t go there again), before pitching up to The Duchess to see Show of Hands (yes, again – what’s it to you?!).  The Leeds gig was the best we’d seen; the York gig was much, much better. We had a cracking evening, and my voice is croaky from the singing.

Got in the car about 30 seconds before the first Sunderland result was called, drove home to Mr Naughtie on the Home Service, and now we are sitting in the living room, whisk(e)y to hand, waiting to see if the true horror of a Cameron government comes to pass, and waiting with huge excitement for the result in Hull North.

Thinking back to 2005, all we really had then was IRC; this year, I have Twitter, LJ, Facebook – too much stuff to parse, really. I shall do my best.

p.s. Despite the ridiculous farce of the polling stations being unable to actually, you know, allow people to vote, I’m hugely encouraged by the turnout figures so far.  And if you think you can extrapolate a government from the the results so far, you’re a better statistician than I, Gunga Din.

were you up for Portillo?

I was, and although I’ve never voted Labour in my life, and I can be pretty sure I never will, I heard the song in 1997, and I thought yes, things can only get better.

How wrong I was – things have got a lot worse. Labour have systematically whittled away at our privacy,  our citizens’ rights, our justice system, our economy; they’ve taken us into an illegal war, they’ve presided over a banking system run amok, and now they’re busy telling us how wonderful things will be if we re-elect them.

But why didn’t they make things wonderful during the past 13 years?

I don’t trust Cameron, and his compassionate Conservatism, and his Big Society. Johann Hari has said it all better than I can – read it here. This is what lies ahead if the Tories win, and I fear they will.

I will vote LibDem, not because of Cleggmania, but because I always have voted Liberal, since I was first able to vote in 1972. Amazingly, I live in a constituency – Hull North – where we might actually see a real shift from Labour, and I hope Denis Healy (yes, really!) gets elected tomorrow.

I shall be sat in front of the television all night, hoping to $deity that the Conservatives don’t win an outright majority; even bloody Labour would be better, and I still can’t believe I’m saying that.

And this year’s perfect Portillo moment would be? Oh, so many to choose from.  Ed Balls would be perfect, Hazel Blears too, Harriet Harman quite acceptable, but any will do. The more the merrier – bring it on!

I agree with Nick.

Now don’t forget to vote tomorrow.

who should I vote for?

Take the Who Should You Vote For? England quiz

Green 93
Liberal Democrat 65
UK Independence -2
Labour -35
Conservative -41

You expected: GRN

Your recommendation: Green

Click here for more details about these results

I identify as Green in most of these polls, but as our local Green candidate knows, I’m voting LibDem to get the Labour woman out.  Bring on proper proportional representation, say I!

weekend 1-3 May 2010

For various reasons, we couldn’t attend the wedding of Kate and Tony – so sorry to have missed it, it sounds as though it was a cracking do, with all sorts of folk we’d have love to see …

Instead, we threw ourselves into leafleting for the LibDems; Hull North is a marginal, despite Diana Johnson having been parachuted in for Labour in 2005, and gaining a 7000 odd majority; the bookies all have her and Denis Healy, our LibDem PPC, running neck and neck, and there’s a real feeling that he might just do it this time.

I don’t know how many leaflets and envelopes we delivered – not as many as some, I know, but Lots. Pete and I tried last night to work out where we’d been, and we can’t even remember that, to be honest – Scully Lane and round about, the Avenues, the endless Murrayfield, Fairfax Ave, round the Dukeries, two deliveries on our own street. Pete did even more than I did, and I’m knackered. I don’t think I’ll have time to do much more before the day, but I shall be telling at our local polling station at 7 a.m. on Thursday, before disappearing off to York for the afternoon and evening, for another Show of Hands gig, and then sitting up for as much of the night as I can manage; we have no television or aerial point in the bedroom, so we might just pull out the sofa bed!

Who you vote for is your business, but please – DO VOTE.  Even if you think your vote is wasted, turn out and put your cross in the box, because if you’re not recorded, then how can anyone know what people actually want, rather than what we get?

And ask yourself this: if David Cameron is so keen on giving people control of schools and so on, why isn’t he in favour of giving us electoral reform so we have control of our electoral process?

Oh, and the aforementioned Diana Johnson has been leafleting the constituency telling people that Denis Healey supports her. Now, to many of you, that would imply (correctly) that she means the former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, but here in Hull North, Denis Healy (note different spelling) is our local LibDem chap – underhand sort of trick, really.  I thought her Denis was dead, and looking at the photograph she’s used, I might well be right.

The things you see …

Elvis is in the buildingOut leafleting this morning in Bricknell ward, I spotted this tasteful door.  I delivered Bricknell Ave, Fairfax Ave and Southfield Road, walking 5.74 miles according to Runkeeper, but probably nearer 7.5 when you take all the driveways into consideration.

Got home, and grabbed a cup of tea while the chilli from the freezer finished thawing and the rice cooked. Carried on with some more of the Ecclestone Doctor Who, which we are working through on DVD.

Then over to the church on the corner of Cottingham Road/Chanterlands Avenue for a local hustings – I was quite pleased to skewer the Labour candidate, who was rabbiting on about a referendum about PR; I asked if it would be like the EU referendum which we were promised, and never got.

That was another 3.2 miles, so probably almost 11 miles walked today! Now another cup of tea, finish the episode of the Doctor, and bed.

Tomorrow evening: six rounds on and around Marlborough Avenue to deliver. Oh my aching feet …