Controlled Votes 88

Nationalisation is popular. I mention in every talk I give that a large majority of the population wish to see the railways re-nationalised, but neo-con dominance of the party machines makes sure there is nobody you can vote for, who in our buttoned-down party system might ever get elected, who supports that view. Wings Over Scotland has an opinion poll which shows massive majorities for nationalising both railways and energy companies, with no difference of opinion between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Yet even the SNP does not give the voters any way to assert their view on nationalisation. I am, for the first time, contemplating seriously the advantages of direct democracy.

The latest YouGov poll gives these UK voting attentions:
Conservatives 32% (n/c)
Labour 32% (-2)
UKIP 16% (+1)
Greens 8% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (n/c)
SNP/Plaid Cymru 5% (+1)

There is no doubt that television debates do have a real influence on voting intentions during the election campaign. To include the Liberal Democrats but exclude the Greens and Nationalists is becoming increasingly indefensible – particularly as the SNP looks certain to have an absolute minimum of 20 MPs after the election, and possibly many more. I would put money on there being more SNP than Lib Dem MPs this time next year.

This is about the hard manipulation of power, pure and simple. The fact of the matter is that only the nationalists and the Greens have anything like a radical agenda. It is not just about the broadcasters favouring particular parties as institutions. It is about the broadcasters making sure that even mildly left wing sentiments are not seen as accepted in an establishment forum. They are terrified of letting the voters hear things with which they actually agree.

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88 thoughts on “Controlled Votes

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  • Peacewisher

    No, of course not, Mary. The point from the yougov poll is that 40-59s are just as likely to vote UKIP as over 60s. Thank god for the young…

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    @ Fool

    Well, I was right, wasn’t I, when I wrote the following yesterday morning:


    I’d move on to the next thread sharpish if I were you, this one’s running out of puff already.

    Obvious why, really : your subject offers little scope for

    – conspiracy theories
    – condemning Israel, the US and the West in general
    – praising and excusing Russia
    – talking about “fascists” in Ukraine
    – rehearsing arguments about the Scottish referendum and the Scots in general
    – expressing sympathy for Islam and Islamic extremists.

    To which we should add that I have been very polite – so no one can deviate by attacking me or accusing me of trolling – and have provided input to which only one commenter was intelligent enough to be able to respond.

    You know what you have to do, Craig!”

    And I see that Craig did it!

    My prediction for the interest to commenters of the latest thread will follow…

  • Fool

    Vronsky’s comment about Podemos is interesting. I hadn’t heard about them, but that is a party with rapid growth. I will read up on them. I would always want to follow the money and ask about any new political party – who is pulling their strings ?

    I wasn’t necessarily thinking about political parties yesterday, but about whether crowds can come up with solutions and ideas and rediscover norms and values or invent new ones and / or expose fraud disperse fear etc. I have heard about crowds being used to solve some problems eg mathematical, but can they be used for values? Would it result in some predictable outcome where the crowd is made to dance, or could a crowd grow an idea like nature grows a harmonious structure from a seed?

    All that work running computers to solve bitcoin puzzles seems a bit pointless unless the way in which bitcoin works teaches us something?

  • Dreoilin

    “Apologies if I sound like an old hippy.”

    Everyone here sounds like an old hippy. And that’s no bad thing. :p

  • Johnstone

    Um Fool

    What is the basis for social moral or values?

    Is it a search for the morally relevant empirical properties of objects and concepts therein?

    If we assume for a minute that values are not objective as normative ethics, whereby value is a property conferred on facts, imply but are instead subjective and relational (changing over time and space) then value may have its phenomenological source in human consciousness. This suggests a meta ethical explanation of social values. If value is implicit in our descriptions of the world and our place in it then the stories that we construct embody values. People who have the ability to suppress human constructs so can see the world as it really is … Heideggers ethic of dwelling..

    These people they are the seers.
    SEER a person endowed with profound moral and spiritual insight or knowledge; a wise person or sage who possesses intuitive powers.

  • Fool

    Johnstone: I don’t know I am only a foolish thinker:

    Is the world as it really is such as it may appear if perceived suppressed of human constructs if so that could not be empirical because no matter how long one sits is it ever possible to perceive free of human constructs – even satori must be a human construct if indeed an unusual and insightful one. That which is free of human constructs is unknown and unknowable unless this world of form of substance and human constructs is here so that it is known?

    Within the world of human perceptions forms and constructs there are subjective values, but are there also objective values. If so how could these be unless they emerge out of the reality of non being? Are they made known through human constructs?

  • Mary


    Labour’s lead has been halved from six points to three in a ComRes online poll for the Sunday Mirror and The Independent on Sunday.

    Con 31% (+2)
    Lab 34% (-1)
    Lib Dem 7% (0)
    UKIP 19% (0)
    Green 4% (0)
    Other 5% (-1)

    (Change since last month in brackets.)

    This month, ComRes experimented with including UKIP in its main question, instead of listing it under “Other” parties, by splitting the sample and asking half of respondents, “would you vote Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP or some other party?” The results of this this experiment were as follows:

    Con 29%
    Lab 31%
    LD 7%
    UKIP 24%
    Green 5%
    Other 5%

    One in THREE voters still don’t know who to vote for in the General Election
    Jan 18, 2015 00:05
    A survey for the Sunday Mirror found that 36% might change their minds before polling day on May 7, including 51% of those voting Lib Dem in 2010

  • Mary

    Murdoch has really got the knives out for Bliar.

    Beleaguered Blair quizzed over millions
    Jon Ungoed-Thomas Published: 18 January 2015

    Tony Blair’s office declined to comment on fees he would be paid for advising on Azerbaijan’s gas pipeline/photo

    TONY BLAIR is to be challenged by parliament to come clean on his income and secretive financial empire amid claims he stands to earn millions of pounds advising the developers of a gas pipeline backed by the despotic regime of Azerbaijan.

    A parliamentary motion will be tabled this week calling for greater scrutiny of prime ministers’ financial interests and work for foreign states after they leave office.

    Blair has avoided any requirement to reveal details of his international consultancy work because he is neither an MP nor a member of the House of Lords.

    Former prime ministers are required to seek advice only for a period of two years after they leave office on any appointments they wish to take up.

    Blair clients have included Nursultan Nazarbayev, the autocratic president of Kazakhstan, where the former prime minister’s consultancy has been paid an estimated £8m.


    and with reference to Azerbaijan, the fifth in line will be at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Chutzpah.

    Prince Andrew fights back with a Davos denial: Duke’s bid to bury underage ‘sex slave’ claims with dramatic TV appearance

  • Fool

    There was a poignant meeting between Martin Heidigger and the Jewish poet Paul Celan resulting in Celan’s poem Todtnanberg / Mountain of Death. Heidigger sounds interesting and taboo too, but have to be cautious. His ideas sound interesting and it may be that we can feel in awe of his intellectual expression, but his role in the Nazi party calls out for caution. So it may be good to approach him with the meting between with Celan in mind. Heidigger on one side and Celan on the other. Pierre Joris says that Heidigger was proud of the poem, but that he perhaps didn’t get it:

    I will try reading the two together.

  • Johnstone

    Me neither.. I do not know but
    I think there theory goes (phenomenological) that perception of the world ‘as it really is’ is not so much suppressed by human constructs but that human constructs, classifications, concepts and ideas are most often used to rely information about the world so therefore the picture becomes distorted in the telling.
    You said
    -Within the world of human perceptions forms and constructs there are subjective values, but are there also objective values. If so how could these be unless they emerge out of the reality of non being? Are they made known through human constructs?-

    I think subjective and objective values spring from two opposing ideologies… subjective values have been systematically denied by the modern western separation of self and other, culture and nature, human and animal, reason and emotion.
    An example is the ethic of caring or lack thereof hence the destruction that’s being wrought upon ecosystems worldwide. The ethic of caring is an eco feminist stance tho’ not exclusively.
    The problem thats looming is the pernicious effects of technology..where earth reveals itself only as a massive gas reserve and animals (badgers for example) as pests.
    OK but this does beg the question about whether values thinking is the wrong tree to be barking up.
    Not sure but maybe…

  • Fool

    I don’t know, but I will revert. Ethics of caring might be a feminist stance, or it might be simply a direct consequence of bearing in mind that we will all die. If that is in mind then empathy begins.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Bloody brilliant news re. Blair, Mary. About time it got official. Trouble is, thanks to the LP (limited partnership) embedded in each of his two cash conduits, it will be hard to force him to disclose what’s really going on there. These are not required to produce accounts. More in hope than in anger, I’ll mention again what are almost certainly his companies, Windrush Ltd and Firerush Ltd, simultaneously registered in Gibraltar, not in the UK, in 2010.

    These do not appear in any press or other report on Blair’s compamies I have yet found – and I’ve seen plenty.

    Mr. Blair will next be appearing at a “mining indaba” in Cape Town in early February. Here, Euromoney Institutional Investor Managing Director, Mr. Christopher Fordham, will host a “Conversation with Tony Blair”.

    I assume this conversation will steer clear of Mr. Tony’s formerly ostentatious, but now long-abandoned concern for the environment. And focus on private equity.

  • Mary

    There is no escape from the b. Davos next week. His hypocrisy is of the grossest.

    15-01-21 11:30
    Religion: A Pretext for Conflict?

    The world is seeing rising conflict and intolerance between religious groups across all regions. While religious texts preach tolerance, acceptance and justice, extremist groups are spreading fear, hatred and violence. Is religious intolerance actually religious?

    – How can we shift from intolerance to tolerance?
    – Why is religious intolerance on the rise? What does it mean?
    – How can we rid ourselves of intolerance?

    Connecting live with Global Shapers Hubs from:
    – Amman, Jordan
    – Frankfurt, Germany
    – Toronto, Canada

    This session was developed with the Global Shapers Community focusing on global issues and local solutions. It is part of a series of live events connecting to 40 cities worldwide.

    Speakers:Tony Blair, David Rosen, Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Mina Oraibi, Thabo Cecil Makgoba

    Topics: Open Forum

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Thanks, Mary. The WEF sat on the guestlist till the very last minute, though. I think the Global Shapeshifter is getting a little more protective of his own security these days. I hope he sleeps badly.

  • Evgueni

    Ha, never thought the day would come – Graig Murray contemplating the virtues of direct democracy. Ironically, it is UKIP who are the most in favour of it in the UK ‘mainstream’, so progress could come from unexpected direction. This is from HGTTG:

    It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
    “You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
    “No,” said Ford, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
    “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
    “I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
    “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
    “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
    “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
    “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
    “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”

  • Evgueni

    Hi Clark,

    yes, I did wonder if Icke is trying to make essentially the same point 🙂 The Wiki article on him says this: “… the reptilian hypothesis may simply be Swiftian satire, a way of giving ordinary people a narrative with which to question what they see around them.”

  • Komodo

    I wish I could believe Icke was doing Swiftian satire, but the weight of evidence is against that. Also, it is extremely insulting to lizards.

    Go on, have a laugh. Not as entertaining as Swift,though, is it?

  • Peacewisher

    LOL, Evgueni. This whole reptilian thing is (I think…) a metaphor that stretches back to the beginning of civilisation (e.g. the serpent, the dragon, Freud’s “id”). However, either for their own purposes or lack of logic, some people choose to see lizardism (ie allowing our reptilian brain to control what we think and do) as something real rather than “just” a mental phenomenon. Politicians and marketers use our basic mode of consciousness to devastating effect, and it is in their interest to keep us ignorant about it.

  • Mary

    Lord Mandelslime’s views on the Labour proposal to introduce a mansion tax are reported by the BBC. He disapproves. Thinks it is crude.

    Does he own a mansion?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Patriotic Peter…

    Lord Mandelson….is a now director of Sistema, a vast Russian conglomerate. It is the majority shareholder in RTI, a defence technology firm that has won state contracts to build Russia’s missile early warning system.

    RTI’s chairman is Evgeny Primakov, a Putin ally, former Prime Minister and co-founder of the Fatherland All Russia Party.

    But that’s not all.

    Required reading.

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