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Saturday, February 27, 2010

The lessons from history



A friend sent me a email with this message. The sad lesson we learn from history is that we never learn the lessons from history. I'm printing it in full and I hope you will read it and if your agree, let others know.


A German's View on Islam
A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II,
owned a number of large industries and estates.
When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. 'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care.
I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools.
So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen.
Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.'

We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.
Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.
It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.
It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque.
It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.

The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And who can forget Rwanda , which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up,
because like my friend from Germany , they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. 
 
 Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts--the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world-wide, read this and think about it, and send it on - before it's too late.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Farage Rules!!



I know other bloggers have posted this, but it deserves to be seen. Here's UKIP's Nigel Farage asking the question that's on everyone's lips



And thanks to Wrinkled Weasel, here's part of what he said
"I don't want to be rude, but you know, really, you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low grade bank clerk."
To loud protests, Mr Farage continued: "The question that I want to ask and that we are all going to ask is: who are you? I had never heard of you; nobody in Europe had ever heard of you. I would like to ask you, Mr President: who voted for you? And what mechanism - I know democracy is not popular with you lot - what mechanism do the peoples of Europe have to remove you? Is this European democracy?"
"Sir, you have no legitimacy in this job at all, and I can say with confidence that I can speak on behalf of the majority of the British people in saying: we do not know you, we do not want you, and the sooner you are put out to grass, the better."

Atta boy. Go get em.

Stop spending our money promoting mythology!!!!



The Register and the Grauniad are both running stories about the government's "drowning dog" tv advert that was broadcast in December and January.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/24/ofcom_drowning_dog_probe/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/feb/24/ofcom-climate-change-bedtime-stories

I saw it and almost threw something at the TV. Here's the offending advert. (Caution- liable to induce stress related vomiting)



It seems that Ofcom are to investigate claims that the advert is blatant political advertisng, while the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) have received about 1000 complaints that it breached advertising standards. Too right it did.

The truth is out on AGW. It's a money making scam involving carbon trading credits.
Read this story for the full sick making extent
http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/12/protecting-big-carbon.html

The advert cost £6m of our money and the news comes hard on the heels of the announcement that the department that produced this rubbish spent £600k of our money on Google adwords last year.

As a postscript to the Carbon Trading scam. On the day that the BBC made Tiger Wood's fake confession its no1 news item, Corus closed its Redcar steelworks.
Corus is owned by Tata.
This article may help explain why they closed it.
http://www.matador94.nl/global-climate-related/u-n-climate-chief-pachauri-cashes-in-on-tata-owned-corus-carbon-credits

" Mumbai-based Indian multinational conglomerate with business ties to Rajendra K. Pachauri, the chairman since 2002 of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, stands to make several hundred million dollars in European Union carbon credits simply by closing a steel production facility in Britain with the loss of 1,700 jobs.
The Tata Group headquartered in Mumbai anticipates receiving windfall profits of up to nearly $2 billion from closing the Corus Redcar steelmaking plant in Britain, with about half of the savings expected to result from cashing in on carbon credits granted the steelmaker by the European Union under the EU’s emissions trading scheme, or ETS."

Here's the link between Tata and Pachauri
"In 1974, the TATA Group provided the financial resources to found the Tata Energy Research Institute, or TERI, a policy organization headquartered in New Dehli, India, of which Pachauri has been chairman since the group was formed."

No wonder they chose to bury the news.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FFS!



Just when you think it couldn't get any crazier the Register is reporting this

"The government department responsible for climate change policy has admitted bidding against one of its own quangos for advertising on Google, forcing up the cost to taxpayers.
Ed Miliband's Department of the Environment and Climate Change (DECC) said it sometimes battles the Energy Saving Trust to sponsor links on the dominant web search engine.
DECC has spent £361,700 in the last 12 months on search keywords such as "climate change" and "global warming" to target Google users with government publicity urging them to cut their carbon emissions.
The Energy Saving Trust has meanwhile spent more than £270,000 on similar advertising in the last 12 months."

Quite apart from the fact that the whole AGW scam is discredited and is only about fleecing the paying public, we have the government spending our money on advertising on Google- more than half a million in the last year alone.

Give me a machette. I'll cut goverment spending at a stroke.

The origin and meaning of words



I'd say I was good at spelling. The fact that there is more than one way of spelling "right" doesn't bother me at all. So I was interested in a poem sent in to the Daily Mail by a reader this week.
His gripe was that he couldn't see why we had to have different spellings for words that sound the same
Cues & queues
Juice & deuce
Brews & bruise
Chews & choose
Hues & hews
etc

I could add
Right and write and wright and rite

The point is that the English language has its roots (routes?) in more than one language, and the spelling will give you (yew, ewe) a clue as to its meaning.
Standardising the spelling would make it more difficult to understand what is meant.
For instance. there is a reason why "counsellor" and "councillor" are spelt differently. They describe different jobs and functions
A counsellor is someone who gives advice, who counsels.
A councillor is a member of a local government council.

I work in a solicitor's office and I come across examples of using the wrong spelling of a word almost every day. Because people do not understand that correct spelling is important, there is always the likelihood that using the wrong word will convey a meaning contrary to what was intended. That could be very expensive.

There is a reason for the different spellings. Trying a one size fits all approach to spelling will never work.

Hands off my work!



I read an intersting article in the Register today. You can read it here
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/19/not_invented_anywhere/

"A teenage literary sensation who lifted large parts of her debut hit novel from the Web, without giving credit, says she's justified because "there's no such thing as originality".
For good measure, Helene Hegemann said the plagiarism was justified, because copyright holders had it coming."

I know it's not original Ms Hegemann, but if you as much as lift a sentence of any of my work, you'll get a fat lip.

What is it with the so called creative people these days? Unmade beds and graffiti masquerading as art, recycled riffs masquerading as music and now recycled stories masquerading as literature.

When I write a song, it's hard work. I think long and hard about what I'm trying to say and once I get the thread I work hard at refining it, so that each line scans and rhymes, with not a misplaced syllable. What I don't do is lift lyrics from other songs. That's theft.

There is such a thing as intellectual property, and those who create such works deserve any rewards going.

The author of the piece in the Register is Andrew Orlowski and this is his conclusion-

"Copyright is about credit, particularly credit of the valuable green, folding variety. But if something could be found to avoid giving credit, then perhaps the whole difficulty could go away too ? This is very much a stroppy three-year-old's approach to a problem, but sometimes the internet can bring out the stroppy three-year-old in nerds. Copyright is a social settlement and not something that lends itself to a clean compile, with (0) errors and (0) warnings.
Unfortunately this failed approach hasn't really got us anywhere, except to drive us down an intellectual cul de sac, where creators are told (often by wealthy, state funded academics) that richer means poorer, plagiarism is originality, and obscurity means fame."

Excellent post Mr Orlowski. More doublespeak exposed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Trouble brewing at the BBC

Back in November the Grauniad ran a piece about troubles with the BBC's new IT system that had just been installed by Siemens
"The BBC has been hit by a major technological breakdown affecting its phone and computer networks that could cause chaos for the corporation's news output and leave it marooned in a "pre-digital age"
Read it here
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/nov/25/bbc-news-pre-digital-age

A week or so later I read over at iamseb.com

"The prob­lem is that the BBC doesn’t con­trol its own tech­nical infra­struc­ture. In an act of stag­ger­ing short-sightedness it was out­sourced to Siemens as part of a much wider divest­ing of the BBC Technology unit. In typ­ical fash­ion for the BBC, they man­aged to select a tech­no­logy sup­plier without inter­net oper­a­tions exper­i­ence. We can only assume that this must have seemed like an accept­able risk to the tower­ing intel­lects run­ning the BBC at the time. Certainly the staff at ground level knew what this meant, and resigned en masse. 

Read the full article here
http://iamseb.com/seb/2007/12/perl-on-rails-why-the-bbc-fails-at-the-internet/


Today the Register is running this story
"Siemens IT staff working at the BBC are mulling possible strike action over a planned pay freeze by the tech firm.
Bectu said it was sending out ballot papers to members today, in which the broadcasting union recommends industrial action.

The ballot will close on 19 March and followed Siemens' decision to bring in a pay freeze for employees working on its 10-year Beeb contract.
Bectu said more than 70 BBC contract staff had been laid off by Siemens, which provides technology, transmission and IT services to the Corporation."

Full story here
http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2010/02/22/siemens_bbc_strirke_ballot/

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The BBC has succumbed to the madness that plagues the NHS and government departments. They all spend public money without regard for consequence. There is no accountability at the heart of these organisations. In fact the only people in danger of losing their jobs are those who do the work and know what is going on.
The first act of these vandals of business upon gaining office is to get rid of anyone and everyone who is deemed a threat. These tend to be the ones who actually run the business and know exactly how it works. With them out of the way, madness begins. Oblivious to the age old truths that if it ain't broke don't fix it, and ignoring the mantra that cheapest is dearest, they order systems without knowing what they are buying or having the foggiest idea of how it is supposed to work. As the man said- "what do you mean it's automatic? I have to press this button!"
The smooth talking salesman sees an opportunity for profit and bumps the price up. It doesn't matter if the thing will work. IT professionals are ignored. They say it won't work and a few sorry years later say I told you so.
Meanwhile the very people whogot rid of the knowledge base are floundering. Something must be done they say. Someone pipes up "This is something!" so they all say in unison "Let's do that!"
Down at the BBC the shit has hit the fan. They've locked themselves into a contract with a supplier who has no track record in IT. The system doesn't work. Trouble is the BBC transferred all the staff to Siemens and they're in danger of losing their jobs. They can't go forward and they can't go back.
And the BBC bosses carry on as if nothing happened. No-one will lose their jobs over this, except the innocent workers. The clever ones jumped ship long ago.
How does that song go?
"It's the same the whole world over, it's the poor who get the blame.
It's the rich wot has the pleasure, ain't it all a bloody shame."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rules of confidentiality

 
Artwork by Louis Sidoli.

Much has been made about claims that Gordon Brown bullied his staff so much that one or more of them phoned the Bullying helpline. Why do we know this?
Because the head of the helpline told the media.
Great. Whatever happened to client confidentiality?
One of the patrons of the charity has reigned in disgust, and rightly so.

When can we expect Ms Pratt's resignation?
Betrayal of confidentiality is serious. It could get a doctor or solicitor struck off.
I work in a solicitor's office. What happens there stays there. Full stop.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

The problem with censorship

I'm a libertarian and believe in small government and less regulation. I also believe that children should be treated as children and adults as adults. This may mean that my views on censorship run contrary to yours.
Some countries are trying to censor the internet, most notably Australia. This article at the Register
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/28/australian_censors/
highlights how difficult it is to define what is obscene and what is not. Most internet porn sites have a 2257 declaration which states that the person modelling or featuring on the page was over the age of 18 when the pictures or video was taken.
The Australians are getting hot under the collar over models who look younger than their age, or whose breast are small, so as to give the appearance of pubescence.
From the Register's article
"Breasts came under the spotlight a year ago, as Senators Barnaby Joyce and Guy Barnett commenced a campaign against publicly available porn. Rounding up magazines from corner shops and filling stations, Senator Joyce claimed that publications featuring small-breasted women were encouraging paedophilia."



The outcome is that the magazines now only show pictures of large breasted women.
The Register again-
""We are starting to see depictions of women in their late 20s being banned because they have an A cup size. It may be an unintended consequence of the Senator’s actions but they are largely responsible for the sharp increase in breast size in Australian adult magazines of late."

This is ridiculous. Images of some but not all women deemed to be obscene because these women have small breasts and/or look younger than their years. Is the proof of age rule currently in place not sufficient?
What if the girl is a minor but has large breasts and looks older than her birth certificate states? Is that OK then?

It is impossible to impose a one-size-fits all definition of obscenity. Different cultures have differing ages of consent for a start. In the UK it's sixteen. Sixteen year old girls have modelled for Page 3 in the past. I can think of Samantha Fox in the 1980s and Lindsay Dawn Mckenzie in the 90s. Both were well endowed girls, so that's OK then?
In the US they set the age at 18. That seems sensible to me., even if their alcohol laws mean that these girls can't legally drink until they're 21.
You see, it's all nonsense. A girl can be old enough to get married and have sex, but not old enough to have pictures taken of her in the act (even if she's a willing participant). She can work in a strip club but not drink there.

The article goes on to discuss female ejaculation. From then on it descends into farce.  I speak from personal experience that some girls (very few in my limited experience) ejaculate when they achieve orgasm. It's a rare phenomenon that pornographers and their models fake as part of the entertainment.
The censors are trying to ban its depiction. How Victorian is that? Queen Victoria refused to accept that lesbianism existed, but it did and still does.
It's life. Get over it.
The girls who make porn films for a living and who are trading on their youthful looks shouldn't be discriminated on in this way.
If the censors get their way and this material is banned, it will only drive the material underground, and 2257 will go out the window. Then you won't know what you're viewing.

When prohibition was introduced, people drank more, not less. When will these people learn?

HM Goverment advertising

 HM Government is the biggest advertiser on UK TV and radio. They spend our money lecturing us on how we shoudl conduct our lives. They spend an absolute fortune on it.
My blog's been a bit heavy on Youtube videos lately, but this is worth 90 seconds of your time.
The video is produced by The Taxpayers Alliance.




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Government statement on unemployment figures

It's from Not the Nine O'Clock News first broadcast in 1982, but nothing changes




Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ecranoplan

I saw a brief glimpse of the military version of this on tv a few years ago and was intrigued. just what was it?
This may only be an evolutionary backwater in the development of long range transportation, so it may never see the light of day again. And it's Russian.
But it looks cool. I want one.


Gordon, Gordoff

Much was being written yesterday about the Labour Camera-on, Camera-off internet poster campaign. (they can't afford to hire poster sites these days).
Obnoxio has a much better poster on his site today.


 

Obnoxio- great site & recommended
http://obotheclown.blogspot.com/2010/02/so-much-funnier-than-labour-one.html#links



Excellent !

First posted by Raedwald, and picked up by Guthrun at Looking for a Voice, here's a speech by Dan Hannan MEP complaining about the 27 European Commissioners, and how they are appointed to decide European policy without having to submit to the electorate. His particular gripe concerns Baroness Ashton, a woman who has risen to the top of the greasy pole without once ever stood in a election. She is the European Foreign Minister. The French don't like her because she doesn't speak French.
Listen to Dan Hannan's speech (reading the subtitles) and marvel at the delicious irony. The MEP campaigning to end the corruption that lies at the heart of Europe, and Europe's foreign minister not being able to understand it.
Priceless!




Monday, February 08, 2010

The Port of Dover to be sold to the French

If any proof were needed that this country is bankrupt, the papers are publicising that

"The Port of Dover is being recommended by Government advisers for sale to the French authorities.
It is one of a string of public assets which have been earmarked for privatisation as the Government battles with a record £830billion national debt."

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Get over it

Grumpyoldtwat has produced some posters in response to the increasingly strident Stonewall organisation.
Go to this site for more
http://grumpyoldtwat.blogspot.com/2010/02/gobby-gayers.html




Thursday, February 04, 2010

English Speaking Driver

I don't normally read the Express, so I wouldn't have picked this up if I hadn't called by the BigBrotherWatch site
Here's the link to the Express article
http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/155892/Race-row-over-taxi-drivers-flying-the-flag


It seems that a group of English speaking taxi drivers have been told to remove a badge from their taxis. It's a St George's Cross emblazoned with the slogan "English speaking driver". The local council have declared it racist.
Excuse me, but surely the local council, who licence the taxis should be making it a condition that speaking English should be a must?


Or have I got it wrong?


Thanks to Big Brother Watch. Highly recommended site
http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/home/2010/02/taxi-drivers-ordered-to-remove-the-cross-of-st-george-from-their-cabs.html#comments


Heads they win, tails we lose


This article in the Daily Politics. com website caught my eye.
http://www.the-daily-politics.com/component/content/article/56-environment/169-un-climate-change-canute-policy-still-on-the-table

"Goals on reducing greenhouse gases announced by major industrialized nations are a step forward but not enough to forestall the disastrous effects of climate change by midcentury, U.N. officials said Monday. Janos Pasztor, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's top climate adviser, said the goals, submitted to the U.N. as part of a voluntary plan to roll back emissions, make it highly unlikely the world can prevent temperatures from rising above the target set at the Copenhagen climate conference in December."



Here's my comment that I posted-
It's increasingly likely that we are entering another "Dalton Minimum", when minimal sunspots coincide with greatly reduced temperatures. Should this indeed be true, then all the emissions controls that are proposed will be useless. If anything we ought to be looking at ways to keep the temperature up.
Of course, if we have another cold period lasting decades, then the IPCC will claim the credit for averting Global Warming. And we will have paid dearly, some of us with our lives.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Sunspots and climate

I've been following the Wattsupwiththat.com blog for a year or so and have read the various posts regarding the climate. As you are aware I'm a climate skeptic. The climate is changing but I don't believe that it's down to the amount of CO2 being put into the atmosphere. The more people shout that the science is settled , the more I dig my heels in. It's too simplistic, and the time scale is too short.
I read a lot of history and this week I read about Eric the Red, who discovered Greenland and established a colony there that included a church that was part of the Bishop of Hamburg's diocese. They were able to live there for a couple of hundred years until it got too cold. Why did he name it Greenland? Because it was green when he discovered it.


The climate scientists are happy to discount stories like this. They conveniently ignore the well documented fact that there used to be ice fairs held on the frozen Thames in London in the 17th and 18th century. There have been warm period and cold periods in the past 2000 years of recorded history.
The earth's climate is controlled by the sun. That should be obvious. The planets that are closer to the sun are too hot for human life, and those further out are too cold. Everyone knows that.
The sun from time to time shows sunspots on the surface. Astronomers have photographed them and shown huge solar flares that sent heat and radiation deep into space.
Scientists and astronomers have been studying the sun for centuries, observing sunspot activity. It just happens that the times when sunspot activity was at a minimum coincide with below normal temperatures.
The Dalton Minimum, according to Wikipedia

The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830.[1] Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Oberlach Station in Germany, for example, experienced a 2.0°C decline over 20 years.[2] The Year Without a Summer, in 1816, also occurred during the Dalton Minimum.



Then there's the Maunder minimum


The Maunder Minimum (also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum) is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 by John A. Eddy in a landmark 1976 paper published in Science titled "The Maunder Minimum",[1] when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time. Astronomers before Eddy had also named the period after the solar astronomer Edward W. Maunder (1851–1928) who studied how sunspot latitudes changed with time.[2] The periods he examined included the second half of the 17th century. Edward Maunder published two papers in 1890 and 1894, and he cited earlier papers written by Gustav Spörer. The Maunder Minimum's duration was derived from Spörer's work. Like the Dalton Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures.
During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, astronomers observed only about 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical 40,000–50,000 spots in modern times.

So it can be shown that low sunspot activity coincides with low global temperatures. So what about the current cold weather? It's too early to say with certainty, but sunspot activity has been very low for the last few years. If we are indeed at the start of a new minimum period that could continue for many years yet.
As I've blogged repeatedly, we have more to fear from the cold than from the warm. We may yet find ourselves huddled around our gas guzzling cars trying to warm ourselves on the exhaust fumes.

I found this interesting link
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/Solar_Cycles_24_and_25_and_Predicted_Climate_Response_22nd_October.pdf

It's titled " Solar Cycles 24 and 25 and Predicted Climate Response", and sets out all the relevant study of the effects of sunspot activity. It's a pity that the IPCC and the other warmists didn't read it before making their outlandish and alarmist fables about melting glaciers and drowning polar bears. If it gets as cold as it did in the 17th and 18th centuries, we'll be chasing them away from our rubbish bins, as they walked all the way from the artic on the ice cap.

It's funny what you find on the HM Government's website. Evidence that contradicts the government's own claims about global warming!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Democracy, the least worst option

I got back from the cancer clinic to catch a glimpse of Mad Gordon trying to justify a change in the "first past the post" voting system that we currently use. If anything reeks of a desperate measure to stay in power, this is it. I heard the boss of the Electoral Reform Society say that the problem with the current system is that the person who gets the most votes can also be the least popular, a statement that sounds contradictory. His view is that the candidate with 40% of the vote actually has 60% of the electorate against him. We are however, discussing popularity, and the most popular newspaper or soap opera or chocolate bar all share the fact that more people voted for other choices than the most popular.
Can this version of democracy be changed for the better? The problem is falling turnout. A significant percentage of people don't turn out on polling day. They say they don't/won't vote because it only encourages them (the politicians). Many local elections have a turnout of less than 50%, which means that the combined total of votes cast is still a minority, thereby reinforcing the Electoral Reform Society's viewpoint.


I've thought long and hard about this and have come to the conclusion that if the turnout decreases through voter apathy, we'll end up with a comitted minority going to the polls and electing an extremist government by default, because the majority of the electorate didn't or wouldn't vote. And that would be dangerous for everyone. So how can the turnout be increased?


My limited knowledge of world affairs nags away at me. Is voting compulsory in some countries? I don't mean the so-called democracies where a dictator stands unopposed, but countries like Australia.
My system would involve both compulsion and choice. Firstly, the right to a free vote is precious and must never be lost, therefore make it compulsory for every UK citizen of voting age. This is obligatory and a condition of UK citizenship.
Then add the element of choice. There are lots of them, that's why they're called choice. My favourite would be to abolish political parties and have every candidate stand as in Independent. The candidate would then have to be someone well known to the electorate, thereby ensuring that local interests are put before party lines.
Anyway, let's say that the political parties are retained and the names are put on the ballot paper, along with one extra box marked "NONE OF THE ABOVE". Each voter must tick one box. The extra option can be used as a protest vote where instead of the customary practice of voting against a candidate by voting for a rival.
The votes are counted. It's still "first past the post".  If the "None of the above" candidate scores the highest number of votes, then  the election must be retaken, perhaps with different candidates.


I can see a hundred reasons why a system like this would be unpopular with the political parties,which is why it won't happen, but it is democratic. I'm as sick of our politicians as the next man, but if we are to retain democracy as the least worst option, something must be done, or else we'll see ever more extreme polticians elected with ever decreasing majorities.


What about the problem of elections being declared null and void? That's the price of democracy, and the art of politics is to get people with differing viewpoints to agree on something. The current political system gives the real power to the unelected government officers. In local politics, the council officers make the decisions and the councillors tweak them before rubber stamping them. If the council wishes to build a house, the councillor can choose the curtains and the colour of the front door and no more. He can't choose not to build the house, or build it somewhere else, or build more or less. This is not democracy, but that's how it is, because the electorate aren't encouraged or compelled to contribute any more.


I've read of lot of books and enjoy the speculative and prophetic fiction of authors like Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein ( The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is an excellent political what-if book), George Orwell and others.


Brown's proposal is crazy, an act of a desperate man looking for allies in the Liberal Democrat party. Like everything he devises, from tax credits onwards, it's badly thought out and impossible to implement. In short, it's rubbish and will only hasten the demise of the current system. Maybe that's the long term plan?