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Posted on April 28, 2011 in Junk Mail, Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay8 Comments »

Interesting development today – a leaflet was dropped through the door from an organisation called ‘Say No To AV’.  There is no identification anywhere on it apart from a link to a website, predictably called ‘www.no2av.org’, but the bullet points listing why we should ‘say no to AV’ were uncannily similar to those in the junk mail I blogged about yesterday.

So I thought I would go to the site and see who these people were.

Hmm.

No ‘About Us’ page.  No ‘Who We Are’ link.  No name, no party, no ownership.

So then I was intrigued and I tried using various ‘Who is’ tools to try to find out just who owns the site.  The first TEN turned nothing up. Not a bean.  They told me when it had been created, when it expires, where the server is, when it was last updated, who it was registered with, and a whole slew of traffic information, but no name.  So I asked OH, who looked it up for me and came back with the information after a short period of mumbling to himself in the conservatory.

Guess what?

No – go on, guess!!

It’s owned by the Conservatives!  What a surprise!

Well, to be fair and strictly accurate, it’s owned by one Conservative: Charlotte Vere.  But you can bet your bottom dol .. uh .. British pound sterling … that it’s funded with Tory money.

Good grief.

The only good thing is that there is also a ‘www.yestofairervotes.org’, which is very similar to its counterpart with the rather noticeable difference that there is an ‘About Us’ link where you can read exactly who runs it and in what capacity, and the posts on the associated blog have a by-line telling you who wrote them.   If either of these things exist on the ‘no2av’ site, I can’t find them.

Why can’t the ‘no’ politicians be straightforward?  And you know what?  Not ONLY are the Conservatives in power as part of a coalition government because of the very ‘backroom deals’ they are now denigrating in their campaign literature, but when David Cameron came into that power he promised a more open and cleaner style of politics with less of the dirty tricks and back-biting.

So what price their complaints about broken promises and backroom deals now?

Oh, it’s not as if the opposition is squeaky clean, by any means, but … there you go.  As I said in yesterdays blog, I am so sick of the whole damn shooting match.

*Sigh*

OK.  Calm down, dear.

Posted on April 26, 2011 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay10 Comments »

Politics, that is.

I’ve never been particularly interested in politics, and that picture up there is one reason why not.  This is part of a page from a fourfold (eight sided) leaflet put through our door by the Conservatives this morning, campaigning against the forthcoming referendum on a change to our voting system.  It’s a blatant, emotionally-charged attempt to misdirect and lead us by the nose into the path the Conservatives want us to take, and it’s an insult to my intelligence.

Look at the happy expression on the face of the guy in front.  And now look at the tired, hopeless look on the face of the guy who (according to the author of this piece of junk mail) will actually win, not forgetting to take note of the uninspired and beaten body language.  Do you want that guy to win?  Well, do you?

Now look at the guy in front again.  Looks like a winner, doesn’t he? Confident, strong, determined – a man who knows where he’s going and how to get there.  In fact, the guys in the red and in the yellow (the other ‘non-winners’) could also be described in that way.

Now, do you feel manipulated?  Well … do you?

Our voting system right now is the ‘tried and tested’ system, to use the words in this leaflet, of ‘first past the post’.  This is the system that we presently have in the UK to determine who gets into office and runs the country.  Basically it’s the ‘tried and tested’ system we all know and many of us have come to hate: the candidate with the most votes wins.  Simple as that.

Or is it?  Because of vote rigging, mistakes, incompetence, underhand dealings and various other dirty tricks, the first past the post system has been letting various countries down rather badly just lately, has it not?  It would be so much harder to rig a result or make major mistakes with a proportional representation system – and it seems to me that that is one reason that many political candidates don’t like it and don’t want it.

Now, I’m not accusing anyone in particular, and certainly not the Conservatives – the authors of the leaflet in question – but they tire me and they bore me and I have no patience with them.  Why?  Because there they are running a country in partnership with the very person who is mentioned by name and identified by picture on another page of this very leaflet. In fact, they wouldn’t be in office if they hadn’t been able to do a deal with him, because we have a coalition government right now, and it’s one which is working surprisingly well.  So the very party which is maligning Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats and running him down in print is also sitting around a table with him and talking and smiling and working out deals and plans on a daily basis.  It’s just not cricket.  It is, in fact, a dirty trick.  Talking of which, there has even been public talk of legal action against certain Conservatives* for ‘telling untruths’ during this particular campaign.

Does this leave a nasty taste in your mouth?  It does mine.

Now, whenever I watch TV coverage from the House of Commons – whoever is in power – I’m reminded of nothing so much as a room full of overgrown schoolboys (because it’s mostly male voices you can hear), jeering and interrupting each other from their places on the benches.  And these are the people who send round these grubby little leaflets and talk down to us as if we aren’t capable of understanding anything if it’s not cut up into bite-sized pieces and spoon fed to us – but in a form they want us to swallow, naturally.  In many ways they are all as bad as each other, and that’s exactly why I believe some form of proportional representation would be a damn good thing for us, because that way, no form of extremism would be easy to maintain. There’d always be someone to put the brakes on and say ‘hang on a minute there, young feller-me-lad, let’s think about that’.  And that would be a Very Good Thing, considering the craziness that goes on these days.

I’m not going to try to sway your thinking on this issue because you’re a grown up and can think for yourself.  But I would ask you to exercise that brain of yours and not simply swallow the contents of ANY of the campaign literature that comes through your door.  Educate yourself, for goodness’ sake and make an informed choice.  If everybody did so, we would have a government truly chosen by the people, and that is all anyone can ask.

* By the way, the reason I appear to be picking on the Conservatives here is simply that I have not seen any other campaign leaflets this time around.  I try to avoid them to preserve my sanity, and get my information somewhere less biased.

 

Posted on April 26, 2011 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay7 Comments »

For those of you who haven’t yet seen this week’s Macro Monday puzzle, you might want to go and have a look before you read this … but for those still wondering and waiting impatiently, here is the solution, as promised!

You’ll immediately notice that the puzzle photo wasn’t taken from the same angle, but trust me, it is the same thing, although in this (solution) photo you can see more than one of them.  I think it was the one to the left of the frame that I actually photographed, using a wall as a support.  You’ll see what I mean when you click, I think.

I hope you all enjoyed having a go, whether you did so at the time or came along late.  Do also take a wander over to Lisa’s Chaos to see the other Macro Monday offerings – there are some seriously good photographers out there, and even one or two others who now offer a puzzle along with their individual views on life in close up.

See you next week?

 

Posted on April 25, 2011 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay13 Comments »

Well, as it says in the title, this particular Macro Monday puzzle was taken outdoors – but I suppose you’d probably have guessed that anyway, huh?

What can I tell you about it?  Well, it’s made of wood and metal, and it has nails in it.  Or not.  As you see, some have fallen out .. but it is quite an old object.  In fact, I’m not sure they make them quite like this anymore, but possibly they do.

It’s both a utility object and decorative, and although some might say that its claim to beauty may be a thing of the past, I do think it’s still beautiful – maybe more beautiful because of its age and weathered status than it was when it was newly installed!

Does it help if I tell you it’s part of the churchyard fittings?  And it’s not the only one there?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Would you have one at home, on your own property?  Maybe, but it’s unlikely, I think.

Do you see them in countries other than England?  Yes, but probably not everywhere.

Are they only found in churchyards?  No, but you’ll only find them where there is money.  It’s an expensive way to get the job done.

This one is straight out of the camera apart from resizing and bringing it back to the perpendicular (I leaned a little, trying to get a good close up).   Remember it’s a macro, but also that this week it’s not a tiny object.  It’s probably not a lot bigger than actual life-size, if at all.

Now, having messed up and failed to produce the answer on time on no less than two occasions recently, I’m going to do what I should have been doing all along: I’m scheduling the answer to appear tomorrow evening.  Those who want to find out if they’re right can pop back Tuesday evening at 9pm (UK time) and you’ll find a link here, but not at the bottom of this post, it will be in a whole new post.  But as before, I’ll be giving the answer as a picture link to avoid spoiling things for latecomers.

OK?  Off you go then – answers in the comments as usual!  Have fun!

And we have a winner! Carolina is first past the post, if you’ll excuse the pun, with her guess, and then Greyhounds CAN Sit and … yes, I’m going to say Dimple is right too, even though she is wrong about the specifics.  Well done you three – give yourselves a pat on the back!   Commiserations to the rest of you, it was a difficult one this week.

As I mentioned, the answer this week is in a separate post, which appeared right on schedule and is waiting for those of you who still need to know the answer. It’s here.

Thanks for playing!