Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Weston-super-Mare Constituency General Election 2010: foregone conclusion, so vote Green

Richard Lawson, your Green Candidate

The opening salvoes of General Election 2010 are in the air.

I have the honour of being the Green Party's Parliamentary candidate for the Weston- super- Mare constituency (Conservative, safe).

2005 General Election
John Penrose (Con) ...19,804 (40%)
LibDem ..................... .17,725 (36%)
Lab ...............................9,169 (19%)

Weston is a safe Tory seat. It is a quintessentially Tory constituency, with an ageing population. John Penrose is a decent Tory, a hard working MP, and has hardly flipped his home at all*.
Weston is a foregone conclusion; no contest; the winner of the 2010 election is...John Penrose (Con).

Of course, all parties will claim that it is not a safe seat, Tories because they have to avoid complacency, LibDems because they are second, and Labour because they believe that they can persuade people that 19% pigs can fly.

On the other hand, greens are realists, and I fully accept that John Penrose, not Richard Lawson, will be the next MP for Weston.

The 2010 General Election in Weston will be nothing but a glorified and very expensive opinion poll. There will be no change. Tory votes will elect an MP, and all other votes will be wasted. They will not count towards the make-up of Parliament.
People often believe that in General Elections they are choosing the next Prime Minister.
This is not the case.
Under a proportional representation, this would be so, but under the dysfunctional First Past The Post electoral system, no vote gets beyond the constituency boundary.

So the vote in safe seats is a sham, a travesty, a charade. People are not as stupid as politicians and pressmen believe, and the turnout in safe seats is lower than turnout in marginal seats.

Below is a graph I made of a sample of results from the 2001 General Election. Click on the graph to see it full size.

It clearly shows that the higher the majority, (i.e. the safer the seat), the lower the turnout.
Now politicians are, rightly, very worried about low turnout, because it shows a lack of regard for democracy itself. However, Tories and Labour both turn a blind eye to the facts presented by this graph, because FPTP serves the interests of both the Tory and the Labour parties, giving them more MPs than they would in a more democratic electoral system.

So the General Election in Weston is a sorry pantomime, a pretence.

The temptation to abstain from voting is strong, for any non knee-jerk voter, for anyone who actually gives some thought to things.

Attractive though it is, abstention is a huge mistake, a rejection of one's duty to preserve democracy.

Since only the Tory vote in Weston will get representation in Parliament, all other votes are just a statement of preference.

The Green Vote gives this statement:
  • people are not fooled by political spin
  • people want a change from the decrepit and corrupt politics of the Westminster parties
  • people want economic policies that match the real world, not ancient political prejudices
Over the coming weeks I will develop these themes here.

The Green vote in Weston will not produce an MP, (only the Tory vote will do that), but if people vote Green instead of abstaining, it will send a signal to Westminster that they have to take issues of sustainability, real economics, and fairness seriously.

I am debating on the Weston Mercury Forums site.

*Rather rashly, I promised in the press that I would not use the MP expenses scandal politically on John Penrose.


Anonymous said...

Ah yes, very good.
But I live in a constituency that has just had a boundary change. Until now it has been a safe Tory seat for over thirty years. After the boundary change I am really in a completely new constituency because my ward , along with some others, has been joined to a neighbouring constituency with a significantly different demographic. There is a good chance of a Labour win but I don’t support Labour. The Tories will, I think, be a disaster if they get in power so I don’t want them to win . I would like to vote Green (there is a candidate!) because they have a whole load of good policies, but what if my Green vote helps the Tories win? Surely my safest option is to vote Labour? What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I live in the North Somerset constituency and I shall be voting Green because it is certainly a safe Tory seat, but I am not sure the same can be said of Weston. Doesn't the fact that the Lib Dems actually won the Weston constituency in both 1997 and 2001 undermine your argument that it it a "safe Tory seat"?

Stuart Jeffery said...

A wise person once said: "The only wasted vote is a vote for a party that you don't believe in."

Bring on PR!

DocRichard said...

JMac - It's up to you. Your choice. I would go for the Green, because Labour have been such a disappointment, but then I would say that...

Stuart: and "no matter who you vote for, the Government always sems to get in..."

Anonymous II - where in North Somerset? There are 2 constituencies in North Somerset, Weston and Woodspring. The North Somerset Green Party has no current plans to stand in Woodspring - stretched too thin.

The LibDems won in 1997 arguably because I stepped aside on purpose to to let them in after Jerry Wiggin threw away his 20,000 majority.

Now, though, the Tories are on a roll, John Penrose is a good hardworking MP, and the LibDems are too far behind.

bouncy castle hire weston super mare said...

You say you wont mention the scandal recently exposed in the public eye. What about the scandals not yet exposed, can you explain why a certain street in WSM has 6 'drug rehab' houses whereby the residents cost the tax payers of WSM up to £300 per head per week ?
Can you also explain why tracking down the information to the owners of these homes, always leaves us hitting brick walls, almost like certain councillors have blocked the investigations... Expose the wrong doer's and I am not just talking about the scum druggies, I am talking about those that profit from it and have no PASSION for their position, unlike yourself it seems.

Thank you

DocRichard said...

Hi Bouncy Castle
This is an interesting question. I will do some research on it and come back with a main blog post.
At this stage, I can say that I have an interest in this as a psychiatrist. I have a technique that is effective in healing the traumas that cause drug dependency (I disagree with your pejorative of "scum druggies") but I have had major difficulty in getting anyone in the drug rehab business to take an interest in it. I was also surprised to find that there is no audit of success or failure in the rehab treatments offered.
Thanks for commenting.

Bouncy Castle Hire In Weston Super Mare said...

My pejorative of 'scum druggies' comes from myself and anyone else who has had to put up with idiots causing a fuss in the hospitals because they cant get a fix, scum druggies stealing from our shops, targeting small businesses with not as much 'beefed up security', the 'scum druggies' are the people too ignorant to the fact that they make peoples life a nuisance, and the only aside getting their fix and themselves , NO ONE else is important. I'm assuming your dealings with them are purely profitable, the occasional sitting here and there, being paid for by yours truly the tax payer, I mean no disrespect, but we all know if we dive into the sea and cant swim WE DROWN !!! .... Does the same not apply when you pick up a needle... We all have problems, DEAL WITH IT, stop blaming ??INSERT-PATHETIC-REASON-HERE?? and get on with it... If all the druggies had a bad batch 'of gear' and disappeared from Weston Super Mare, we would have more houses available to genuine cases, we would have less crime (statistically over 85% of crime is committed by drug users),However fear not as the comical clusterings we call the Weston Police, wont make a prosecution anyway, OH NO... Not real crime, lets let them go and prosecute the people with some life.....This country is FALLING TO PIECES, because of crazy PC people with their heads up their backside, in it for the money , and not whats lurking on the doorsteps... The doorsteps of their own OFFSPRING!.....Seriously DocRichard, please tell me you cant see this ?

DocRichard said...

Hi BouncyCastle. I can see that you are angry. 100% angry. I have dealt with many drug addicts, and I am fully aware that when they are after their fix, they are totally fixated on their own immediate needs to the exclusion of all other considerations. On the other hand, recovered addicts can be pleasant, reasonable and helpful citizens.

Anger is not a helpful emotion. We humans are equipped with the power of reason, and this is what we have to use.

We can break the problem down to two areas: supply and demand. 90% of the supply of heroin on our streets comes from Afghanistan. If you have a look at the "opium" or "Afghanistan" tag on this blog, you will see that we could close that source relatively easily. Sure, other sources would open up, but that is another problem to be dealt with in its own terms. The advantage is that we could bring our troops home with victory and honour. You imply that there is an element of corruption locally. The same element may be blocking the obvious solution of buying the opium crop.

The other side is demand. Most addicts have been abused in childhood. This can be treated effectively and quickly, but the rehab system is blocking it. This is frustrating.