Wednesday, April 07, 2010

This, that, and the election

Hello. I'm not dead, but I'm not dead interesting hence nothing to really write about. A nice sustained period in Aberdeen has let me rest, relax, see the onset of spring, and be led astray by Mark & Claire. The light is back, it's getting warmer, and the whores are beginning to bloom.

Hang on, I meant to say daffodils there.

Anyway, time for a patented random Swish link-dump:

One of those bizarre, out-there websites that you come across from time-to-time: Michael Buble Being Stalked by a Velociraptor. Tremendous.

The best YouTube video I've seen in a while, Irish Spiderboy. Gravity is suspended for one glorious second here, leading to delightful comedy:

And a news story from today that provides another insight into the crazy world of North Korea: Pyongyang claims Kim Jong-Il has started a global fashion craze.

So, on to the UK's general election, which is now in under 4 weeks. The phoney war is over, and the parties can begin to spout the real platitudes, semi-policies, and meaningful-sounding insubstantial soundbites. I've heard it described as the "between a rock and a hard place" election, and can't say I disagree. We are saddled (by the way our system works) with a probable toss-up between the chaotic government and an apparently wafer-thin (in terms of real substance) opposition. Since day 1 I had David Cameron down as a smug, insubstantial, desperate, condescending impostor. Basically all the bad things that people said about Blair minus the charisma and (initially at least) apparent convictions. The general public seems to have cottoned on to this now, though, and the tactic of focusing it in on Dave may in hindsight turn out to be very costly. He's no Obama, to understate slightly... I'm going to go out on a limb at this point and predict that we will not have a hung parliament, and that Labour will hang on by the skin of their teeth.

This election is a first for me, as I have not made my mind up on who to vote for. I'm a floating voter, but let's be clear that I have no plans on rowing down to the murky right side of the pool inhabited by the Conservatives, UKIP, the BNP and beyond. I'm not sure that the Greens are sufficiently well-rounded to be an option; I work in the oil industry anyway and am not self-hating enough (yet) to vote for my own demise. This therefore leaves me with only 3 realistic options: Labour, Liberal Democrat, and SNP. This is interesting, and I honestly don't know which way I will go yet. Tactically, my constituency is a straight-up battle between Labour and the Lib Dems, with everyone else well behind.

I don't buy into the media image of a failed Labour government that has ruined the country, can see that Brown has some substance, and am prepared to believe that a lot of what they have done is with honest intent and genuine integrity. Iraq is a big, big blot on their copybook, though.

The Liberal Democrats are fascinating, as the party that I have always previously voted for, and the party that seems to be perceived as the one standing for a real change. I would normally have automatically voted for them, but the cold and calculated way that they ousted the successful and popular Charles Kennedy by outing his alcoholism left a bitter taste in my mouth. Add to this the fact that many of my above criticisms of Dave can be equally applied to Nick Clegg, and I have decided to think again. Instinctively, though, I feel that this is the party closest to my heart in terms of Europe, the economy, electoral reform and general mindset.

The last option, SNP, is an interesting one. I always overlooked them purely because of their central tenet of independence. When they formed the government in Scotland I decided to give them a chance and, if they performed, take a proper look at them. And take a look I will. Their performance has not been stellar, but I have been impressed by the way that they have approached minority government, have seen several policies making active differences, and respected the (decidedly non-populist) decision that they took to free the Lockerbie bomber. I honestly don't know where I am with them, though, so am looking forward to reading their website.

The first step on my journey was the excellent Vote for Policies, a site that allows you to compare anonymous (although anyone with half a brain can work out a fair bit of it) policies to determine who you are closest to on topics like crime, the economy, Europe etc. I did all 9 sections, and my results came out as:

Interesting, and it confirmed a lot of my thoughts. The one outlier was the environment, where I came out in favour of the Conservatives, but to be honest none of the choices there really convinced me. The SNP were not included (although I reckon that in the areas that I agreed with the Greens on, the SNP are similarly left-wing), so I can't truly judge things from here, but it is an interesting start to the process. I'll blog more about it later in the election campaign.


Blogger Simon Varwell said...

I think the Korean link you were looking for is a bit wrong or doubled up or something, but I got there in the end!

1:41 pm  
Blogger swishfish said...

Sorted. Thanks, Simon.

5:43 pm  

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