Monday, 17 May 2010

Straight people having gay marriages

Very interesting article here. Interesting comments too. Re my previous blog post... does marriage-lite help or hinder commitment?

Saturday, 8 May 2010

What's good for the goose...

I'm a Thatcherite. I believe in the magic of competition. I just can't help it. When I see an overregulated industry with a few lazy, inefficient incumbents, I instinctively think "tear down the barriers to entry!"

That should apply to politics too. What Britain has had for 60 years is a two-party duopoly. People are now sick of both parties. It would be much healthier if they faced some bracing competition from smaller, nimbler players. We should tear down the main barrier to political entry, which is the First Past The Post electoral system. Demand a referendum on PR now!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Money well spent?

"The immediate political liability for this lies with Mr. Brown and the Labour Party, which engaged in a spree of epic proportions after taking power in 1997, spending at a rate that has outstripped inflation by 41 percent. The current budget of about $1.1 trillion includes more than $150 billion on the state-run National Health Service, triple the amount when Labour came to power.

One in every four pounds the government spends is borrowed, a pattern that economists say will require the next government to make cuts on a scale not experienced since the Great Depression, as well as painful tax increases."

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The dilemma

The Lib Dems are loons. Their policies are a mix of the interesting and the bloody silly. In the ordinary course of politics, sometimes the main parties nick their best ideas. I would not be thrilled to experience their worst ones. And Nick Clegg... well, to me he seems like a blank space on to which the electorate are projecting their hopes. Mr Not The Other Two.

But the Lib Dems are loons *because* of the two party system. If you want to go into government, you have to join the Tories or Labour. The Lib Dems get the leftovers. If they had more chance of getting into office, they would attract more talented politicians. Electoral reform would let that happen. And liberal ideas -- the deep underlying ones, not the wacko policy proposals -- are pretty decent ones. Liberalism is more alive as a set of ideas than anything Labour has got.

So, do you vote for the loons now, in the hope of getting something better later?

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Election thoughts 2

Dream: a Tory - Lib Dem alliance. Clegg forces electoral reform on to the agenda and we get a referendum between the status quo and some moderate form of PR like the Alternative Vote system. Vince Cable becomes chancellor instead of that little pink feller Osborne. Tory radicalism on education is tempered with a concern for equality. The Libs' dafter ideas are sidelined.

Nightmare: a Lib-Lab alliance. Labour have austerity for two years, then resume pouring money into the public sector. It doesn't work, of course, and public cynicism extends to include the Lib Dems. We gradually become more like a normal European economy - slow-growing, sclerotic and riven by the populism of an embittered majority.*

In between these I would obviously prefer Tory to Labour.

Quite a tough choice therefore - go for strengthening Clegg's hand or play it safe and vote Tory?... Anyway, I voted by post so now it's up to you lot.

* [purple passage]