Suddenly, blood-sucking parasites   Leave a comment

Thousands of them.

So, only two years after I thought I’d dispatched with my democratic duties for half a decade, my MP decides to run off and spend more time (ostensibly) with her family. I’m glad to be rid of her, but it means that, this Thursday, I have to venture out in the cold in order to have 1/50,000th of a say in the person who’s responsible for 1/650th of the running of the country.

Or not really. I get to place the vote, but as it’s a by-election it can’t affect the balance of power in the House of Commons in any way, and thanks to party politics MPs are just a rosette and their constituents’ wishes are irrelevant; they will just do what the whips tell them and vote for whatever lobbyists have bought.

As you can tell, I’m really enthusiastic.

In that spirit, here is:

Colthor’s Guide to Candidates You Should Not Vote For In The Corby By-Election

Conservative – If you’ve seen either the news or the internet over the past two years, you know why these guys are awful. Selling off the NHS, futile badger-murder (thankfully delayed) and poisoning the wildlife… There are too many enormities to list. My recent favourite was “people should work for their pensions”, which shows a keen insight into what a pension actually is.

Liberal Democrat – The LibDems still have supporters, which is surprising. Every reason not to vote for the Tories is a reason not to vote LibDem, but on top of that there’s their blatant duplicity. Oh, but it’s a coalition, right? The LibDems couldn’t expect to do everything they wanted? Maybe. But: famously they pledged to vote against any increase in tuition fees. They then arranged, in the coalition agreement with the Conservatives (see part 8), that they could abstain from any tuition fee vote they found unacceptable. Twenty-eight LibDem MPs voted in favour of the rise, including Clegg and Cable. Sorry my bristly bumcrack.

Labour – The Tories are rubbish, so Labour must be good, right? Wrong! That would be a false dichotomy. When they were in power, Labour introduced the groundwork the Coalition would build on; they introduced tuition fees (despite promising not to), and strengthened internal markets in the NHS (despite promising otherwise), for instance. They also introduced crazy anti-terrorism legislation including detention without charge, oft-abused stop-and-search powers and a thorough hatred of freedom of expression (not that they needed anti-terrorism legislation; the Communications Act 2003 is plenty). Also the BPI-bought Digital Economy Act, and of course the ID card scheme which was only finally squashed by the Coalition of all people. I’m sure you can think of other things to hold against New Labour, but this paragraph is long enough. Safe to say that they hate civil liberties and are barely a hair’s-width from the Tories economically, which is plenty enough for me. He’ll win anyway.

Green – The Greens’ worst problem is hating nuclear power. Renewable energy’s great, but it’s currently small-scale, and lots of NIMBY idiots enjoy campaigning against wind farms (which’re far more sensible in Britain than solar power); to fulfil the Greens’ aims you need some way of generating a lot of power without dumping tons of crap into the atmosphere, and until we have solar-powered microwave laser satellites in orbit, or reliable fusion, or something else that’s practically science-fiction, smashing atoms to bits in a giant steam-engine is pretty much it. Unfortunately, the public at large has little understanding of nuclear energy and plenty of cold-war mushroom-cloud paranoia, so that fits pretty well with the Greens’ technophobia. For something to hold against the standing candidate, Jonathan Hornett, my partner got to ask him questions at a recent hustings. Turns out he’s thoroughly in favour of homeopathy being provided on the NHS, and even has a pet witch-doctor (who was also at the hustings). Just to clarify: he wants to waste NHS funds on “treatments” that can only cure dehydration. Obviously I can’t extrapolate this to the entire Green party, but they do have a history of hating science, and whilst they may have improved recently, they are still far from perfect.

Racist Thugs – We have two brands of these standing, the BNP and English Democrats. You weren’t going to vote for them, were you? If you were you are a bad person and should feel bad. For crying out loud, the BNP’s party leader thinks it’s acceptable to call for lynchings (“a demonstration”, says the BBC. Of tensile strength, maybe), which comes straight from the department of “you couldn’t make it up”. Don’t vote for them and there’s less chance of their making the 5% vote share they need to get their deposit back. Fascism could be £1,000 worse off on Friday!

UKIP – Comedy Tories, or the BNP in suits? They don’t seem to know either. I wish the EU were better so that it was easier to defend; it’s a nice idea. Still, it does worthwhile things like forcing the government to get rid of stop-and-search powers and squashing ACTA, imposing human rights laws and so on. So ignore the blatantly bullcrap bendy-banana balderdash, and also UKIP.

Cannabis Law Reform – Harrumph, a single-issue party. I don’t really care about cannabis (although its – and most other drugs’ – legalisation and regulation would probably do good overall), so standing on that issue alone makes them utterly ignorable. The thing that annoys me is that they’ve stumbled upon the idea of evidence-based policy, and then decided to only use it to get stoned. Surely you could build an entire platform around it? It’d certainly be nice to see somebody try; none of the major parties do.

Mr. Mozzarella – I am fundamentally opposed to the policies and principles of the Don’t Cook Party. Their poster is excellent, though.

Ian Gillman – Seems to have disappeared completely, never to be found. I think he was a former UKIP candidate, and responsible for a leaflet proclaiming “English and Proud!”, which seems a stupid slogan to campaign under in Corby, and suggests he’s at least xenophobic. It also made some obviously ludicrous claims about the EU costing us £150bn per year; the entire EU budget is only about £100bn, and our contribution £9bn. I’d check those opinions were actually his (and not, for instance, the ED’s; I didn’t hang on to the leaflet for long), but as I said he’s vanished; Google can find nothing about his policies, and the BBC fared no better in their roundup. Regardless of policies, not even bothering to set up a WordPress site to list them shows how useful he’d be.

United People’s Party – This is special: a liberal, “non-xenophobic”, pro-military nationalist party. I guess if you want pro-military nationalism then these guys are the way to go, but I really don’t.

So, who else is there? Both the Democracy 2015 and Young People’s Party candidates seem a bit iffy; I’m not sure they’d be useful MPs, as both are out of work for medical reasons; and both have some slightly crackpot policies, especially on taxation. That said, the Democracy 2015 guy is very pro-disabled-rights and against the Coalition’s disability benefit slash and burn reform, so he’s far from all bad.

Otherwise, there’s always Elvis Loves Pets. The problem is that it’s impossible to tell a protest vote from being funny. Alas, it’s also impossible to tell a spoiled ballot from being an idiot. Yay democracy.


Gosh, all that MP stuff was excitingly depressing. Happily the PCC elections are much simpler, even if I’m not sure why anybody’s asking me about running the police. The Labour candidate will be on the ballot despite being disqualified, and one of the independent candidates has run off to warn the world about space weather. This leaves one candidate each Tory, LibDem and Independant (edit: and UKIP, oops. Guess I followed my own advice), and very little available information.

Still, what information there is doesn’t seem to say much bad about the Independant, John Norrie; certainly, what’s there makes him seem alarmingly competent. I’m a bit concerned that he’s already been involved with the police, but hopefully that’ll just mean he knows what he’s doing and how it works, rather than that he’s overly friendly. The most encouraging thing is that his candidate statement includes the line “Make sure decision making is done on the basis of what works”. I wish that it were not necessary to say such a thing. But it is, and for that he can have my vote.


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