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In which someone else tells me who to vote for. 
2nd-Jun-2009 01:51 pm
earth, hhgttg

The problem that arises with me and elections is that, while I'm quite confident in my positions on the issues, and which are more important to me, it's a job and a half trying to figure out which party or candidate best aligns with my views on these important issues; because I don't have an opinion on membership in the EU, on the economy or on a lot of the things party leaflets talk about. And I don't want to do the research myself, because party politics bores me senseless.

It'd be different if I were in the USA - where being a gay female immigrant evolutionary scientist would inform my vote so much that the only reason to follow politics would be for the entertainment value*. That's not to say that there aren't people who vote Republican who do so for good reasons, but for my vote there'd be no competition, so it becomes a simple matter of my side vs the other side. UK politics is, for me, much more complicated, as I don't have a lot of good things to say about anyone involved; it's complicated, there are shades of grey and I don't like anyone much.

...yeah, USA vs UK politics is DC vs Marvel, and I like my JLA.

But I live and vote in the UK, and have a responsibility to use that vote, if I can figure out how to use it. So I'm fortunate this year in that a lot of my chosen issues align with the issues that Martin Robbins and Frank Swain focused on when they submitted questions on nine science subjects to the major UK parties. They wrote up their conclusions for the Guardian, and their questions are collated at Evidence Matters.

This year it would be a toss-up between the Lib Dems (despite the smugness it would generate among my partisan friends) and the Greens - at least, until I read Robbins and Swain's findings.

See, I'm all over the deep ecology, respect for all life, take responsibility for climate change angle - Hells, climate change was one of my Very First political issues (along with animal welfare) twenty years ago, and it's still important to me. But they're also opposed to embryonic Stem-Cell research, for the unregulated use of alternative 'medicine', and remarkably crude with their policies on GM.

Yet because I'm used to approving of the Greens in principle on issues like climate change and sustainable living and things, that to find them so contrary to my views on other scientific issues just suggests to me that we're reaching the same conclusion about ecology from wildly different directions, and I feel let down.

So, I'll be braving the shame of admitting that this year, Jennie, Mat and Andrew are right, and casting my vote for yellow.

*which is why I follow US politics anyway. The UK can't match Blogovitch, and I'm not sure we'd want to.

2nd-Jun-2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
If only it were possible to swap votes trans-Atlantically. ^_^
2nd-Jun-2009 01:21 pm (UTC)

Out of interest, do you have a favoured party right now?
2nd-Jun-2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
I veer more Lib Dem in general, though I'm always willing to make an exception if a particular candidate in another party seems to provide a better option at the time. (If I'd been a UK voter in the 1980s, I probably would've been a card-carrying claret-and-chips SDP member.) But just about all the parties have been on a steady diet of foot sandwiches (so to speak) over the expenses debacle -- I sympathise with UK voter frustrations about not having good things to say about anyone involved.
(Deleted comment)
2nd-Jun-2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
If, like me, science is your sticking point, I think the LibDems win. So, yes, I support your decision to vote.
2nd-Jun-2009 01:46 pm (UTC) - Thanks
Thanks for the link love, I'm glad we could help :)

For what it's worth after our dealings with the various parties (some were almost rude to us), and having met Evan Harris recently at the Simon Singh public meeting, I'm swinging towards the Lib Dems as well.

Martin, layscience.net
2nd-Jun-2009 01:54 pm (UTC) - Re: Thanks
You're welcome; you really did help. Wading through policies is really not my idea of a good time.

I'm not surprised at all that they were rude. Disappointed, though.
2nd-Jun-2009 03:25 pm (UTC) - Re: Thanks
Evan is awesome. He has a brain and uses it.

I shall be voting Lib Dem. They are my best bet for keeping down the Tories (yuck), the UKIP (*shudders*) and the BNP (*vomits*). I also like their policies on the whole and generally their politicians talk sense instead of populism.
2nd-Jun-2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
Ergh British politics. I don't know anywhere near enough on where the parties stand to make an informed decision beyond 'not UKIP or BNP.' And one of the reasons I haven't yet voted in any elections is because I'm pretty certain that an ill-informed vote is just as damaging - if not more so - than no vote at all.

If I do vote this time it'll probably be for the Lib Dems - ironic, really, since they're pro-EU and I'm... kind of not. But then again, I'm never entirely sure whether the reason I'm slightly anti-EU is because I actually disagree with it or because I just read too much of The Sun as a child...
2nd-Jun-2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
I wonder if there is a place with politics as kooky as the US's.

(As a US gal, I cannot be bothered to find out because I only follow US politics, and then only because I feel I kind of need to be educated in how my country is being run.)
2nd-Jun-2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
If you want an entirely personal reason for the vote...

When Jennie came down to London for a week early summer (ie soon after we'd got together) I took her to a Lib Dem event in Parliament. She got on with 3 people that weren't me. Jon you've met, Mark is who she stayed with last she was down without me, and Jonathan.

Jonathan is 2nd on the Lib Dem list and likely to get in if their vote goes up, he's a really nice guy, very strong on the issues. And very much out of the closet as well.

So you're voting for decent policies, good science, a nice bloke and an out gay man that I like a lot. Stupid bloody list system.
2nd-Jun-2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Actually, I very much don't want a personal reason for a vote. Even if the vote is for a gay man Mat likes.
2nd-Jun-2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Can I just mention how much the anti-GM sentiment in particular makes me furious? You eat it all the time anyway, it's exactly the same thing as "natural" food, just with added benefits. And it's so extensively tested to make sure that nothing goes wrong that auuuuuugh. Even though I'm not much of an environmentalist myself (my primary issues are ironically fiscal finance and big govt vs. small govt.), it still fills me with a rational rage at irrational people.

Also, I've distanced myself from US (I'm a Yank) politics, because I could really do without the drama and posturing. Though I really should be reading up on my local elections that are upcoming...
2nd-Jun-2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
"So, I'll be braving the shame of admitting that this year, Jennie, Mat and Andrew are right, and casting my vote for yellow"

Probably the best choice, if you want to vote a party ticket (which you shouldn’t). The (party-based) responses to the questions comprise 20% waffle, 40% stating the bleedin’ obvious; 39% waving the party flag (99% in the case of UKIP), & 1% constructive ideas.

Labour, LibDem (and, I assume, the Tories) are simply doing what they’ve always done, so no surprises there. UKIP rant on and taper everything down to their single issue. From their responses, the Greens are the biggest disappointment. Knee-jerk un-thought-through proscriptions (almost Mosaic in their thou-shalt-not approach); offer no credible alternatives. In fact I get rather tired of the Greens telling us what not to do.

Of course, you shouldn’t vote a party at all. Elections are about sending a delegate to parliament; someone who’ll best represent your views and not simply vote a party ticket. Until that most basic of all democratic principles is restored (or hell freezes over, whichever happens first), nobody will get my vote.

ID (as if you couldn't guess!!)
2nd-Jun-2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
Alright, I know lots about evolution and palaeontology, but nothing about election systems. I'm going to refer Mat to this if he wants to take it.

But I'm not going to not vote. I don't think a boycott is a particularly effective way of registering my distaste (had I any) with the European electoral system.

P.S. You don't get to tell me who I should and shouldn't vote for :-P
(Deleted comment)
2nd-Jun-2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
His point is the party list system is undemocratic, so I refuse to participate in it.

- He also said that I shouldn't participate in it, but I'm going to ignore that, because he knows he doesn't really get to tell me how to vote.
3rd-Jun-2009 07:50 am (UTC)
For 'you', read 'one'.
2nd-Jun-2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Um, I have no clue who you are, but due to the nature of the electoral system Labour forced through for Europe despite objections from everyone else, all you can do is go to the ballot box and vote for a party list, the order of people on that list is chosen for you.

Thus the party line and the party slate is what matters in this election.

And unless people do vote, and vote for parties that support STV at Westminster and for Europe, the status quo will remain. I joined the Lib Dems because they favour a return to a system where the individual candidate matters and you can chose between them.

D'Hondt list PR is fundamentally anti-democratic. But if you want a specific reason to back an individual candidate, then I've covered that elsewhere—Debi wants policy, not people, which is my preferred approach as well, but I prefer a voting system that allows people to chose either.
2nd-Jun-2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
I have no clue who you are

It's my Dad.
3rd-Jun-2009 11:29 am (UTC)
Ah, ID, yes, that makes sense, should've figured.
(Deleted comment)
2nd-Jun-2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that link. It confirmed my thoughts.
2nd-Jun-2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
Gay female immigrant GEEK evolutionary scientist, surely?

Because the geek angle could remain totally up for grabs until we get the first verified president (or PM) who reads comics.

I realize, of course, if they're all "Make mine Marvel!" they're screwed, but that just makes it more interesting.
3rd-Jun-2009 08:25 am (UTC)
until we get the first verified president (or PM) who reads comics.

You do know you already have one, right?
3rd-Jun-2009 12:15 pm (UTC)
I did not!
3rd-Jun-2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
I mean, yes it's a Marvel president, but he's a total geek.

Check it out:
"It was a natural after we learned the new president is a Spider-Man fan," says Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada about reports that Obama once collected Spider-Man comics. "We thought, 'Fantastic! We have a comic-book geek in the White House.' "

The White House transition team did not respond to a question about the extent of Obama's comic-book geekiness, but Obama did mention Spider-Man during the campaign, primarily at children-oriented events. And during an Entertainment Weekly pop culture survey, Obama said Batman and Spider-Man were his top superheroes because of their "inner turmoil." (John McCain picked Batman.)
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