Votemageddon 1 – The BBC Educates

Zero Hour Endgame 2010 Final Destination! The frigging General Election date has been set and it is on bitches! Aw yeah! The gloves (and the ties apparently) are off now! With one week back in the UK, I’ve been trying to learn as much about the election via osmosis before I head back to the other end of the world where it is significantly more difficult to discern what the most important points from the news day are. On the plus side we don’t have ITN News over there so you know, every cloud…

I head over to the BBC election website where I got that attractive banner up there, the one that looks like the most high profile police sketch ever. They also have a theme for the election microsite full of flying coloured lines presumably representing political parties and a flipping doomsday clock in the corner (25 days as of the time of writing). Thinking it might be interesting to see what the BBC has to say to brand new voters and remembering how much I would have appreciated that talk five years ago, I start at the First Time Voter? – All the basics made clear page and, well… just click that link and tell me if that’s going to be any good to anyone. What do MPs do? A glamour model’s guide to voting? This is the best we could come up with for 18 year old, undecided, possibly crucial first-time voters? The very same website will probably be the first to tear down the losing party for not reaching this demographic when May the 6th has come and gone. This raises an interesting point that seems to rear its head every time we have to vote for something. We all know we should do but nobody seems willing or able to explain effectively what the differences are between the two or three things we have to choose from. They are still, of course, more than happy to smack us over the head and tell us how stupid we are for not understanding. It almost feels like no-one in the country actually knows what’s going on but it’s all a big game of don’t let on that you know nothing. ‘Well of course I know I just want to know if you know. No you tell me first!’

So on that note I click on the surprisingly helpful policy comparing device. I recommend that everyone who has no idea who to vote for or why (like my good self) to have a quick once over of that link. There are some interesting differences in civil liberties policies, the one that jumps out the most is the Tories’ opposition to an ID card system under all circumstances and Labour’s support. Labour have whittled the idea down to a voluntary status but would enforce ID cards on all foreign nationals in the UK. Another odd one was the issue of DNA records. Both Conservative and Labour parties fully support the system but the Tories ‘ensure’ the removal of innocent people’s DNA whereas Labour have a fixed time limit for innocent DNA removal. I say fixed I mean 6 to 12 years. I guess this is why I’m not in politics. Aside from the fact that I just plain don’t like people, I can never understand why policies always take so long to be implemented. I’m not asking for a detail description of the process and the reasons for the slow trickle and I’m sure they have a lot of crap to sift through and can’t focus all their attention on one or two important things only but I can never escape the idea that somewhere down the pipe there are a couple of junior ministers who lost the papers or there’s an old guard MP who wants to hold things up as much as possible and can do just that by being an arse and slowing things down for his own gain. It’s a poor reflection of the state of Democracy in the twenty-first century that I am absolutely positive that happens. One of the most scary things about the excellent The Thick of It series is that MPs continually tell Armando Ianucci that they can’t watch it because of how disturbingly accurate it is. I shudder, I really do.

One point I’m worried about the absence of (as every year) is the issue of gay marriage and the question of whether or not we should start treating gay couples as, you know human beings and citizens. I’ll admit I’m totally in the dark about this one, I truly don’t understand the case against allowing gay couples to be officially recognised in the eyes of the law, I really don’t get it and quite frankly if you’re against it I don’t want to know you. Personally I’d like to see the issue in one of the BBC’s policy sections in that drop down bar but as it stands there is only one vague mention in the Conservative column and nothing to be seen in the other two. After a short amount of digging I find this piece: George Osborne says Tories will ‘consider gay marriage’. What’s to consider? I read on.

‘The shadow chancellor met gay rights leaders including Peter Tatchell ahead of a protest outside Conservative campaign HQ by equality campaigners. Mr Tatchell said the meeting showed Mr Osborne had “good intentions” but was still “weak on coherent policy”.’

That’s pretty much every political party summed up in a sentence isn’t it? Osborne gives the usual line about the Conservative party being a very different party in 2010 but then you have to remember why the protestors were there in the first place.

‘About 200 campaigners converged on Conservative headquarters in protest at remarks by shadow home secretary Chris Grayling, who last week sparked a row when he said people who ran bed and breakfast in their homes should “have the right” to turn away gay couples’

Yeeeees, sure sounds like a brand new type of conservatism to me. This is the row that came up over a conversation wherein Grayling said that it should not be allowed under any circumstances for hotels to turn away gay couples but bed and breakfasts didn’t fall under the same jurisdiction because it raised a whole other question on who owners feel comfortable about letting into their home. One on hand, fair enough, it is your home and you are allowed to let whoever you want into it. A man’s castle and all that and if you don’t want someone to walk in you don’t have to let them but on the other hand, if there is a certain type of person you don’t want in your home don’t turn it into a fucking bed and breakfast! It’s weird, petty things like this I can’t understand. Open the argument out and B’n’Bs will be able to put up ‘No blacks or Irish’ in their windows as well. Everyone has their own issues to beat others around the head with and I for one cannot understand a good deal of the ones tied up with gay rights. Why shouldn’t two people be allowed to marry no matter which way they swing? If it’s to do with that whole sanctity deal and what the bible defines as marriage then that’s horse shit and we should be beating each other to oblivion in the streets for working on Sundays. I don’t know why this is isn’t a bigger issue than it seems and I think it actually could be a decision maker that Labour have ‘no plans’ to discuss the word marriage being associated with gay couples but the Lib Dems are all for it. Mind you the Lib Dems can say what they want, they’re never getting in.

Interestingly, for all the talk of Labour closing the gap a little between them and the Tories, today sees the poll at about 8% behind Cameron’s mob. That’s pretty much the same as it’s been all this year and where as the Tories still look like they’ve got this one sewn up, it is by no means any more a certain thing. Your vote counts, you’ve just got to decide which vote will lose you the least amount of sleep.



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