Unsure of how to vote?

Let Vote Match take the strain. You answer a series of policy questions and it matches your responses against the stated policies of the national parties. I wasn’t that surprised to find that I agree with:

  • Conservatives 42%
  • Lib Dem 40%
  • Greens 39%
  • Labour 33%
  • UKIP 28%

You can choose which parties you would and would not like to be associated with and I asked for BNP to be excluded from the final reckoning. Then, out of morbid curiosity, I asked for them to be included. This gives a rather worrying:

  • Conservatives 42%
  • Greens 39%
  • Lib Dem 38%
  • BNP 36%
  • Labour 32%
  • UKIP 27%

Hmm. Where did that 36% come from? I always thought the only difference between BNP and UKIP was the rapid [EDIT: or even rabid] xenophobia. I didn’t think I was remotely xenophobic, even though you will have to pluck my right to make jokes about the French, Germans and Americans out of my cold dead hands. Is it because my answers suggest I would have no problem with the idea of repatriating an immigrant who breaks the law? That of course would refer to a persistent recidivist, not someone who, say, gets caught doing 32mph in a 30mph zone. This is not entirely facetious: I recently read of a Mexican woman in the US, who has lived and worked legally there for 40 years, and whose children and grandchildren are US citizens, who has had her green card revoked because she walked across a neighbour’s lawn and got sued for trespass. That is silly (or to give it its fuller name, mindless petty spite). However, at the other end of the scale, someone who enters the country as an immigrant, gets the right to reside and sets themselves up as a crime lord running a drugs and prostitution ring should lose the right to residence. Is that a problem?

Therein lies the problem with any site like this: you can give general answers to general questions of policy, but that always assumes the legislation would emerge from the Parliamentary process framed and phrased in a reasonable way. Nothing I’ve seen in the last 13 years, and very little in the last 31, convinces me this would be the case.

I will now save this post, if I can get my right hand down from its 45 degree angle to move the mouse.

Ben the instrument of change

Following the last report about libel reform, I sent the webmaster atwww.libelreform.org an email explaining exactly why I wasn’t signing. And they’ve changed it. I can now sign (and have signed) the petition without also spamming Evan Harris.

Excuse me for feeling smug, but apart from once signing up to a demo at university that I never actually went on, this is about as activist as I’ve ever got, so I may milk it.

Ben solves the second homes allowance row

Most will agree that our MPs need a second home. They need a base in London within easy striking distance of Westminster. It’s not enough to suggest that they check in at a hotel or a B&B. To do a job like that you need a home where you can just turn up. Most MPs do not use the second home as a pad to put their mistress up in. Non-London based MPs only really need a small flat.

It’s also reasonable that certain expenses could be claimed for the second home. They’re paid more money than I’ll ever make but it’s peanuts compared to some London salaries.

The problem arises when they start to juggle the numbers, declaring their “second home” as the one that will benefit them financially the most.

So, whoever is in charge of these things should simply declare that for purposes of Parliamentary expenses, the second home is a wholly-owned property (no more renting bedrooms from siblings) that of all the MP’s properties is the one nearest Westminster. Peasy.

You’re welcome.