04 May 2010


Bite the Bullet - Vote Tactically

A great deal is now being said about tactical voting in Thursday’s general election. Labour ministers have dropped several hints and even made overt calls on Labour supporters to vote tactically for the Lib-Dem candidate (in Tory/Lib-Dem marginals) in order to prevent Tory gains. So far nobody on the Lib-Dem side has reciprocated. This is a result of their determination to appear confident they can displace Labour for second place in the popular vote and thereby establish a legitimacy for their primary goal of electoral reform. Think of the coming upswell of opinion against first-past-the-post if more people vote Lib-Dem than Labour and yet they come out with only one-third of Labour’s tally of seats. This is not at all unlikely. Because of the way the three parties votes are unevenly spread through the country the Lib-Dems would not win a majority of seats even if their popular vote was significantly greater than those of the other two parties.

It also indicates the Lib-Dems’ philosophical preparedness to work with the Tories in government and their belief that if the scenario pictured above came to pass then even the Tories could be forced to agree to an electoral reform referendum as the price of putting them in power.

If Cameron eschews that option and attempts to run a minority government he will be faced with an immediate Lib-Dem demand for a referendum on electoral reform. That would be supported by Labour. If he refuses the Lib-Dems would understandably embark on a strategy of Parliamentary disruption making government very difficult indeed. Cameron will then get nothing through at all – not even an emergency budget to launch the spending cuts necessary for market confidence to be maintained. In that scenario, with markets on the slide and an urgent need for drastic cuts in public spending, it is likely that Labour and Lib-Dems would combine in a vote of no-confidence to force a new general election in the autumn – with Labour by this time under a new leader. Barring ‘events, dear boy’ all bets would then be off and Labour could get back in with an understanding with the Lib-Dems that electoral reform would be a priority.

The political situation is more fluid now than for decades past. Many people will be thinking that here at last is an opportunity to vote for the party you really would like to see make advances, the party whose policies come closest to your wishes. For readers of this blog that is likely to be an anti-Tory party whether it be Labour, Lib-Dems, Greens, one of the socialist fringe parties or independents. Yet to do so is more likely now than ever to divide the anti-Tory forces and to result in a Cameron majority government. That means tax favours for the rich, cuts to education and benefits, lots more religious schools than even Labour was planning, dropping down a gear on climate change action and the annoying prospect of having a toff at the top, the Sun gloating and Lord Ashcroft piling up even more cash to pour into the Tory coffers.

In view of all this it is more desirable now than ever that people in the anti-Tory camp bite the bullet and vote tactically for a Lib-Dem where they have the best prospect of defeating an otherwise likely Tory winner. Don’t worry, the Lib-Dems will not win a majority or even as many seats as Labour.

After electoral reform is achieved then will be the time to indulge ourselves in voting with the heart.


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The point is that tories don't need tories to provide taxes for the rich. Labour do it for them. They've denationalised the Bank of England bailed out (Nationalised without taking control) the banks while leaving them in the hands of capitalists and even had the unmitigated gall to tell us they'll return them directly to the capitalists when ORDINARY PEOPLE HAVE paid off the debts they've accrued. (We killed a king for taxing us to pay for his pox ridden support for papist wars). (Bush: "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free market" - more bollocks) How much more evidence do you want that you're wasting our time voting Labour. They're laughing at you for maintaining any faith in the present system. The media circus is being brewed up to keep us voting for these brain dead scumbags. Bush IS the free market and a Nazi to boot. (Just uncovered another Reichstag fire plot. - Yet more bollocks)
I've not got much time at the moment but make me a contributor and I'll make the articles longer. I'm only allowed 4000 characters for a comment and had to edit the last one.

Not sure about your speculation on outcomes, but certainly this is an election where you vote for the least evil, rather that what you would like to see.
I note that people on this blog are still thinking in the box - it's got to be Labour or Lib Dems and certainly not the Tories. But what we need is a REAL change in politics - maybe an incursion of the 'movements' into parliamentary representation and, eventually, government. We don't want 'any of the above'. Actually the whole party system is inevitably oligarchic and anti-democratic - so what we DON'T want is another new party. In the situation that may arise after this election some opportunity might arise to move towards a non-party politics based on genuine principles and aspirations - especially for greater social equality (Britain is one of the most unequal nations in the world) Any ideas along these lines? Doug
Tha whole business is a bloody fiasco. The real issues that people are corncerned about are'nt being discussed because the the parties don't wan't to get involved with struggles withe the power elite who've natinalised the banks till we've paid off their debts then they'll give them back to the elite. They're taking the piss. Parties is right parliament might just as well be in a brewery for all the difference it makes.
I didn't get to write what I wanted because their bloody passwords are all f---k up
Doug, I'd advocate banning all political parties but we know that wouldn't work and legislative chaos would ensue. Perhaps a ban on parties as such but writing it in such a way that candidates were allowed to declare allegiance to an alliance of common worldviews?

Certainly the whipping system in Parliament should be the first thing to go.

Most countries with liberal parliamentary political systems have some form of proportional representation, e.g. France, Germany, Spain, etc. Yet the same people, the capitalist ruling class, retain overall power in society. Nowhere is this more blatant than in Italy where one of that country's leading monopoly capitalists, Silvio Berlusconi, is the prime minister! Tinkering around with electoral systems will not fundamentally alter the rule of capital. After all, the Lib Dems would tax us more and cut public spending to pay off the bankers just the same as would Labour and the Tories. This is hardly surprising given that their Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable, was the chief economist for Shell, i.e. an important functionary for a major capitalist firm. (N.B. Another bourgeois functionary, the Governor of the Bank of England, has at least had the decency to warn us that all of the parties are not coming clean about the harshness of the measures necessary to maintain the rule of capital.)

I have found much positive agreement when campaigning in the streets for people not to vote. Many older people, especially working class (former) Labour supporters, have through bitter experience become disillusioned with the system. Also the general level of political understanding among abstentionists is often quite sophisticated, e.g. contrasting direct democracy with representative democracy. People in Britain are much better educated and informed than in the past. This is an important reason as to why they have become more questioning about and critical of the present political system.

Tactical voting is pretty desperate stuff trying to achieve a least worst outcome. The best tactic is not to vote at all because falling turnouts delegitimise the system and open up the way to fundamental change. Don't vote, it only encourages them!
If you went into a shop and asked for a pound of butter and they offered you a second hand shoe or some dead flowers you'd tell them to stuff it. The same applies to voting they're offering us a load of crap and we don't want it. Don't accept it and let them know their days are numbered. Labour didn't have a mandate in the last election.
The attack on the professional autonomy of journalism that has taken
place is simply a broader part of the neoliberal transformation of
media and communication. Neoliberalism is more than an economic
theory, however. It is also a political theory. It posits that
business domination of society proceeds most effectively when there is
a representative democracy, but only when it is a weak and ineffectual
polity typified by high degrees of depoliticization, especially among
the poor and working class. It is here that one can see why the
existing commercial media system is so important to the neoliberal
project, for it is singularly brilliant at generating the precise sort
of bogus political culture that permits business domination to proceed
without using a police state or facing effective popular resistance.
Obama talked about supporting nuclear non proliferation. He's doing the opposite. The US just walked out of the treaty talks when Ahmadinejad said the US was being hypocritical. Given that the US is supporting Israel's possession of nukes and possesses half the worlds 20,000 warheards Ahmadinejad's right. Obama's a lier just like Blair.
A tactical vote is a vote for a US dominated globalised economic system that's based on US balance of payment debt and US ownership of half the world's armaments. Let them know you don't want American occupation of the UK.
I hold no brief for Obama but in criticising him it looks decidedly odd, Dave, when you assert the opposite of what is evidently the case - on nuclear non-proliferation he has just agreed with the Russians a 30% reduction in each countries' nuclear warheads. If, as you and Ross would claim, he is merely serving the interests of US capital and the military-industrial complex you need to use some sort of convoluted argument to explain how reducing the number of warheads assists their profiteering. Remember, you need to show he is just their puppet, as you claim. Even CND welcomed that announcement.

In advocating not voting or spoiling your ballot paper you are both doing the ruling class's dirty work for them. Candidates for the ruling parties will dismiss your action as the work of nutters, candidates for left parties will despair that you did not show support for them. If their votes rose significantly then the ruling parties would worry a lot more than they will over your abstentions or scrawled abuse.

Your arguments are inconsistent, contradictory, ill-founded.

Vote, and vote tactically if necessary to keep the Tories out.

What Obama says and what he doe are two different things. That's exactly what I'm getting at.
Clintons words at NPT talks

"We support efforts to realize the goal of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free-zone in the Middle East in accordance with the 1995 Middle East resolution,"
the U.S. was '"prepared to support practical measures for achieving that objective".

When Ahmadinejad said The US should be subject to inspections the US delegates walked out. That's how committed they are. Clinton is Obama's second in command and she's a lier. You can't deal with liars. Just like you couldn't deal with Hitler. Chamberlain and his "Peace in our time" was tripe just like Obama's empty promises.

Your arguments are inconsistent, contradictory, ill-founded.


In 2001 and 2005 only 60% of the electorate voted. None of the parties had a mandate. This time the media hyp has been spectacular because they know people a sick of the sham. They're trying to convince both us and themselves of their legitimacy - It's making them nervous.

It's actions not words that count. A cross on a piece of paper means as much as the cross of Jesus. It's as amorphous as smoke in a fishing net.

Dave, I'll take that post as a confession that you can't produce a decent argument on how Obama's reduction of nuclear warheads serves the profiteering of the military-industrial complex. Surely you must be able to come up with something? Like they'll make loads of profits from decommissioning, perhaps? Or the ones to be decommissioned are obsolete? Or they'll sell them to the Israelis? Or he had to do it to reduce US defence budgets to save another banking collapse - so it's in the long-term interests of capital?

Let's look at health care in the US. Obama has got a watered-down bill through Congress to establish a better health insurance base for the US working class and non-working poor. He got this through against fierce opposition from the the American right, the spokesmen for US capital. Bearing in mind that 'Obama is just a puppet for the US ruling class' perhaps you can show how that opposition was just a sham and that the Right all along actually wanted the health care bill to become law because it will aid their profits in some way?

The one thing you can't admit is that part of Obama's support came from the American left which had successfully got nuclear arms reduction and public health care onto his agenda. To admit that would be to admit that voting can actually bring benefits and achieve advances for the common people.


bloody password nonsense is messing about again . I'm having to write everything twice.
When it's not worth writing it in the first place it certainly ain't worth writing it twice.

more hogwash -

If Obama's really cutting numbers of warheads why's he not willing to have inspectors in? That's a plain simple question. What's the answer? He daren't because he's a liar like Blair.
What they say and what they do are two different things. Their stock in trade is lies and deception. A Clinton federal prosecutor who resigned in shame after orchestrating the pardon of a major league drug trafficker will head the Homeland Security agency responsible for overseeing lawful immigration to the United States.

President Barack Obama has proudly crowned Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California from 1998 to 2001, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Boasting Mayorkas’ credentials as a prosecutor of public corruption, organized crime and civil rights violations, the White House announcement conveniently omits the scandalous accolade he's best known for.

A congressional investigation into Clinton’s last-minute pardons blasts Mayorkas for intervening on behalf of Vignali, pointing out that senior law enforcement and political officials should have been precluded from supporting a commutation for such a criminal. Mayorkas resigned in disgrace and went into private practice at a big Los Angeles law firm. Now he’ll run a major government agency that ensures foreigners who present a safety threat don’t get admitted into the country.

NY Times March 10, 2010, 2:30 pm
Obama Announces a Crackdown on Health Care Fraud

President Obama will use a visit to Missouri this afternoon to announce a new plan to crack down on fraud and waste in government health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.
President Obama speaks to reporters at the White House on Wednesday.Alex Brandon/Associated Press President Obama spoke to reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

Mr. Obama has issued a presidential memorandum directing federal departments and agencies to expand the use of such audits, and he also announced his support for a bill, separate from the Democrats’ big health care legislation, to expand the government use of the audits.

The White House said that a pilot program run by Medicare in three large states — California, New York, and Texas — recaptured $900 million for taxpayers from 2005 to 2008.

Reclaimed money currently can be used to pay for “recapture audits” in the Medicare fee-for-service program and for government contracts at 20 major agencies that engage in more than $500 million in government contracting. But the administration said this program left out other agencies, as well as grants and payments made to state and local governments.

The White House said the bill had bipartisan support, including the backing of Senators Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware; Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri; Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma; and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.

Watered down bill? hogwash bill more like.
Time you bought a bullshit detector.

None so blind as those who refuse to see. Obama's a crook like Clinton and Blair. Don't vote for crooks. it only encourages them.

You've been watching too many Westerns, Dave. Goodies in white hats, baddies in black.

The world is a complex place populated by complex people.

There are contradictions, struggles, class interests, religious interests, ideological magnets, personality defects, battles won and wars lost, good people doing bad things, bad people doing good things, people who believe the end justifies the means, even conspiracies on occasion!

Your 1950s black and white mono TV needs upgrading to a 21st century colour High Definition with surround sound. (That's an analogy.)

Liars and crooks are liars and crooks it doesn't matter what hats they wear and like I said before Dixon of Dock Green went out
with B&w telly. It's you whose living in the fifties.

Washington Post May 7th

A period of political wrangling and confusion appears ahead for one of the world's largest economies - a prospect that could unsettle global markets already reeling from the Greek debt crisis and fears of wider debt contagion in Europe. Britain's budget deficit is set to eclipse even that of Greece next year, and whoever winds up in power faces the daunting challenge of introducing big government spending cuts to slash the country's huge deficit.

Here we go cuts, cuts, cuts, to pay for the bank fraud partly instigated by the Labour Party. Re-nationalise the Bank of England, Nationalise land, reinstitutute education grants and stop inheritances at a ceiling of say £100 000.

They're REAL labour policies.

Vaz Vazelined hs way back in again with a 14000 majority despite the fact that in the area he's as popular as AIDS. People apparently vote for labour with a knee-jerk reaction regardless of the fact that the person they're voting for is regarded with detestation and loathing. There were several posters around the area saying "Vaz lines his pockets with your taxes". This is what happens in a dictocracy.
Wait till the cuts begin to bite then we'll see people expressing their real feelings on the streets the way they did when Thatcher tried to introduce a poll tax.
Whoever you vote for the IMF wields a financial sword of Damocles ready to hack and cut at the very roots of any true democracy and the IMF represents the world wide wealth autocracy. In order to introduce a real democracy in the face of globalisation only a global association of people can achieve a real result. Maybe Marx was right after all.
Dave - you want "REAL labour policies" namely "Re-nationalise the Bank of England, Nationalise land, reinstitutute education grants and stop inheritances at a ceiling of say £100 000". Will they be enacted by a legislature elected in a process you reject - unless its off the backs of others who do go out and campaign and vote?

Maybe you think the consensus in favour of these things is so strong that those who want them simply (and literally) need to stand together and the ruling class will concede them, or that those who informally agree with you are so strong that you can take what they want through insurrection.

Failing that, your wishes amount to no more than prayers - rather odd for a secularist!

Amen to that.
Down here in Hastings I decided to vote for the people I know, who happen to be the Labour candidates. The trouble with proportional representation it seems to me is that there will be far more candidates and it's difficult to get to know them individually. The Labour MP lost but the Labour Councillors won.

What worries me about the national scene is that everyone seems to be basing their decisions on what "The Market" is going to do on Monday. I suppose "The Market" consists of all those fascist capitalist speculators. If there's much more of this, I could easily find myself agreeing with Dave and Ross!
It seems to me that at the moment prayers are pretty much all we've got. I don't pray and never have. The nearest I got to that was willing it to snow when I was a child. Since then in lots of ways I've grown cynical. My experience has shown me that it's the corrupt who get power. I've come to the the conclusion that power doesn't corrupt power IS corrupt. The heart of the problem is that without power invested in individuals we can't organise. My solution is law. In lots of ways the bible presented us with a system of law. The major problem with it is that it's interpretation is so flexible as to make it valueless.
The separation of the judiciary and state is what makes our legal system viable. If we had a worldwide legal system separate from nations with teeth enough to enforce it's decisions then we might be on our way to real world democracy. Until something of this sort exists those with power will enforce their will upon common people through any means at their disposal. As I see it the present system will continue until physical resistance to those presently in power reaches the point where they are physically ousted. The big problem is that in achieving that end the fight will make the fall of the Roman empire look like a walk in the park.

The Labour party's had their chance. They've sold OUR building Societies, Banks, Railways, council housing and pension funds. It started with Callaghan and and the world bank making threats. The real reason we won them in the first place was because the rich were so frightened when Russia went communist their faces went white and their trousers brown. When the army came back after the war the rich knew they had to make concessions or there'd have been every chance of civil war here and these were men who understood how to fight, it wasn't the wealthy who fought and got bombed. We got a reasonable standard of living but a system that left the rich in power with an ever expanding economy. It was a short term solution for them because world resources are finite as was pointed out at the meeting yesterday.
Now their chickens are coming home to roost. Their options grow fewer by the hour as we waste resources at an ever greater pace. We'll all pay in the end.
Good old new labour finding us all nice jobs.

Thales Scudamoere Road leicester directly involved with the Israelis in the war against Palestine.

By Craig Hoyle

The British Army's Watchkeeper 450 unmanned air vehicle has made its first flight in UK airspace, completing a 20min sortie from the ParcAberporth centre in west Wales on 14 April.
"The success of this first flight is the first milestone in a long-term programme to demonstrate that the Watchkeeper system meets the robust safety and airworthiness criteria required to fly UAVs initially on ranges and [in] segregated airspace in the UK," says Thales UK.
Chief executive Alex Dorrian says: "2010 is an important year for the programme, as it will also see the opening of the Watchkeeper training facility based in Larkhill [on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire], and the continuation of the technical field trials at ParcAberporth.
Previous flight test activities with the type have been performed in Israel.
Elbit Systems’ part of the Watchkeeper Program is underway:£317 million (over $500 million) order
to Elbit Systems and Thales UK’s
Joint Company, U-TacS, as part of
Elbit Systems and Thales to market additional joint tactical UAV
projects to other countries worldwide
Elbit Systems, Haifa, 28 October 2005 - Elbit Systems Ltd.
(NASDAQ:ESLT) reported today that its joint venture company with
Thales UK, UAV Tactical Systems Limited (U-TacS) was awarded by
Thales UK a £317 million order (over $500 million), to be performed
over an eight-year period. U-TacS’ financial statements will be
consolidated within Elbit Systems’ financial reports. This order is part
of the WATCHKEEPER program for which the UK Ministry of
Defence and Thales UK signed a £700 million contract in August.
U-TacS will execute significant portions of the WATCHKEEPER
Program for Thales UK, the WATCHKEEPER prime contractor.
The majority of U-TacS’ activity will be executed in the UK with a
significant amount of its work sub-contracted to small and medium
sized enterprises across the UK. Elbit Systems is U-TacS’ largest
subcontractor with approximately one third this contract’s value.

Thales UK is prime contractor for the Watchkeeper tactical UAV programme, with WK450 air vehicles and other infrastructure being produced in Leicester by its U-TacS joint company with Israel's Elbit Systems.
Derived from the Hermes 450 airframe but with an increased maximum take-off weight, the WK450 will offer a maximum mission endurance of over 16h, according to Thales. The UAV has a dual-payload configuration, including an electro-optical/infrared sensor and a synthetic aperture radar.
The British Army currently uses an interim TUAV service in Afghanistan with Hermes 450s leased from Thales under an urgent operational requirement deal. Its new Watchkeeper system will enter use later this year, and should be deployed to Afghanistan "as soon as possible", the service says.

There's lot and lots more

Two Danish funds exclude Wall building companies
Latest News, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, January 27th, 2010

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Two Danish investment funds divested from Wall and settlement building companies, marking another victory in the BDS campaigns against Africa Israel and Elbit, two companies that have been targeted by BDS activists. In particular, this a critical step in the BDS campaign against companies building the Wall, opened by the Norwegian divestment last year.

Danish Bank (Danske Bank), the biggest financial group in Denmark, has excluded Elbit Systems and Africa Israel from its investment portfolio because of their involvement in providing equipment for the Wall and in settlement construction. The Danish Bank is normally not quick to divest, and its list of excluded companies has now risen to only 24 companies around the globe.

PKA Ltd. (in Danish: Pensionskassernes Administration A/S), one of the largest funds administrating workers� pension funds in Denmark, also divested recently from Elbit, Africa Israel and Magal Security and Detection Systems.

While Elbit is the more well-known of the two, Magal is no less important and has been involved in the Wall project since 2001, when it won contracts to carry out restoration work on sections of the electronic fence in Gaza. Involvement in the West Bank began around 2002, when Magal won 80% of the bids issued at the time for the installation of intrusion detection systems along the seam line of the Wall.

Explaining their decision Michael Nellemann, investment director of PKA, stated, "the ICJ stated that the barrier only serves military purposes and violates Palestinian human rights. Therefore we have looked at whether companies produce custom-designed products to the wall and thus has a particular involvement in repressive activities. We cannot rule out the inclusion of other companies in our blacklist for their role in this area."

As was the case in Norway, the PKA divested explicity because of Elbit and Magal�s involvement in the construction and maintenance of the Wall. Divestment on these grounds is critical in building the case against Elbit, Magal and other companies involved in the Wall and settlements, and more victories are sure to follow.

For more information on Magal, see Stop the Wall�s fact sheet on companies building the Wall. For more information on the campaign against Elbit, contact us.
The last hung Parliament is worth a look too.

Remember the Jeremy Thorpe scandal and oh surprise surprise Jack Straw of "Lets not bother with Freemasons Judges fame"lost some of the material that implicated other people. The well of deception and intrigue gets deeper and deeper.
Fascinating too that Jeremy's family tree takes us back to a speaker in parliament in mid fifteenth century. Are things really so different to what they were then.

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