June 10th, 2009

politics, london calling

Reforming the electoral system

There's been a lot in the news today about Brown's plans to discuss reforming our voting system, and if the result of this is that we end up with something more along the lines of proportional representation then this has to be a good thing in my opinion.

However, as far as I can tell, most forms of PR that might be implemented would focus on making the number of MPs in government proportional to the vote, which to me is a step in the right direction, but this wouldn't make the actual power proportional to the vote, as we have a system where all the positions of power are generally held by the ruling party.

At the moment it seems unclear what the purpose of an individual vote is. Are you voting for the MP who will represent your views in parlament, the party you want to govern the country or the person you want as prime minister? I would say that the system is setup for the former, but most people use it for the latter. You just have to look at the arguments about whether Brown has been democratically elected to the position of PM to see the level of confusion here, and, yes although he has gained the position fairly under the current system, it seems somewhat undemocratic that a PM should be replaced only by a vote from the ruling party.

<wishful thinking>

I would personally, like to see this changed so that not only were government elected by some form of PR, but that also the leader of the party with the most votes didn't automatically gain the position of prime minister and the power to give all the other positions of power to his/her mates.

Personally, I would prefer to see these positions elected by the whole government from within their numbers, so for example, when Blair stood down rather than having just the labour party vote for the next prime minister, it would have been the whole government and would have excluded any members of the labour party who didn't have a seat.

If the make up of government represented the views of the people, then so would the make up of the cabinet, because they would have been elected by our representatives. It would also help even out the power distribution between the ruling and opposing parties and help clarify that the purpose of the elections is to appoint your representative(s) in government rather than the cabinet.

</wishful thinking>
theatre, muppets

Don't feed the fish

I keep hearing about events/performances/sport matches/etc which are being shown in cinemas via live satelite links, but I'd never been to one before, so when Greenwich Picturehouse offered me the chance to see last Wednesday's performance of the Royal Ballet performing Ondine at the Royal Opera House for £10, I obviously jumped at the chance.

OK, it's obviously not the same as being their in person, but you do get to see it live and get good views of the whole performance. It does leave you in that bizarre state of not knowing whether you should be eating popcorn during the performance or ice-cream during the interval though.

The performance itself was excellent. I loved the choreography, particularly the underwater scenes in act 1 which clearly showed the flow of the water, the way they captured the movement of the boat in act 2, Ondine who was just gracefully nymphlike and Tirrenio in general who just swished and flashed past like the most amazing storm.

Oh, what it would be to be bendy enough to leap around a stage like that...
stupidity, daftness

Lies, Damned Lies and Plain Stupid Errors

The Today programme had Lord Carlisle on this morning talking about secret evidence and the justice system. I was particularly impressed with this quote:

99.99 recurring per-cent of people aren't terrorists

Hence, terrorists don't exist. Wahoo!

I love it when the "experts" say something completely stupid like that. I'm sure I've heard Jack Straw say something very similar.