Spoilt for Choice

December 12. The UK’s next General Election. How should I vote?, my wife asks. I don’t say anything. For one thing, she should think it through for herself. For another, how should I know?

Running through the candidates from last time, what are my options?

#1, Conservative. John Glen won the Salisbury seat last time out, quite safely. I’m in one of the safest Conservative seats in the country! I can’t vote Conservative. I’ve never voted for them, and anyway in the last few years I’ve seen for myself how badly things like the NHS, local government, disability benefits work, all of which are under their control.

#2, Labour. Actually, I don’t mind Jeremy Corbyn. I certainly don’t fear him. But I do fear the people around him and behind him, and he can’t do it all himself. Do you remember Brett Kavanaugh? US readers will. He was Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, who was very publicly accused of sexual assault in front of the Senate Judicial Committee. I noticed at the time that Kavanaugh denied the allegations, so I thought there might be some kind of arrest and trial. Talking to Labour Party members at the time, they’d have quite happily hung, drawn and quartered him there and then. Not even a hint of due process. That scares me.

I remember also debating with Labour members on another occasion, this time about Brexit. For being pro-Brexit, I was vilified. Forget that Michael Foot was against the EU. Foot once rose to the very top of the Labour Party, but his view is now vilified. Or Tony Benn, who lost the Deputy Leader election by less than 1%. We only lost Benn in 2014, but his view is vilified. So that intolerance, too, scares me.

Allegations of anti-semitism have dogged the Labour Party for years, and I wrote a post on here even asking what Corbynistas could do. They can take it seriously, for a start. They can look at Jewish MPs beying hounded out of their constituencies and can say that it isn’t acceptable.

So, in summary, if I were to vote Labour, I’m scared of what I’d actually get.

Last time around, the Liberal Democrats came in at #3. I’m afraid I have a fundamental problem with the Liberal Democrats. We had a plebiscite in 2016 which decided X, and the one thing that the Liberal Democrats have promised is that they will ignore X. So if they get into power, what other votes are they going to ignore?

#4 was UKIP. UK independence Party. What nonsense! These guys are further to the right even than the Conservatives. In Salisbury, they received just 2% of the vote, and a similar number nationally. Thank Goodness.

#5 was the Green Party. In fact, that was where my vote went in 2017. I can still support them on a number of issues, but unfortunately they fall into the same hole as the Liberals. If I vote for a party with a policy to ignore votes, where will I end up?

There was one last entrant. Unfortunately I have no idea who Arthur Pendragon is, beyond having a nifty name. But that’s the trouble with Independents – the name appears on the ballot paper, but you have no idea what the values are.

So where does that leave me? Well, it doesn’t really leave me anywhere. I get a postal vote nowadays because of my disability, but have determined to spoil my ballot. Another option would be just not to vote at all, but I don’t want my non-vote to be interpreted as apathy, because the last thing I am is apathetic.

I suppose there is one last option. If I can’t lend my support to anybody, I could stand myself. But why should I? I have no wish to represent anybody, and it doesn’t really bother me whether other people share my views, I’m not out to convince anyone of anything. Plus, I already talked about the difficulty of an independent candidate putting their views across. So thanks, but I’ll sit this one out.

So that’s my plan – to vote for none of the above.

Today’s Quote

I mostly like my quote of the day. I’ve talked before about my little breatfast gems. But, on this one, I don’t agree.

Rather than changing the way I think about something (or someone, for that matter), I think there is a time to cut and run.

Soul Gatherings

If you don’t like something, change it;
if you can’t change it,
change the way you think about it.

~ Mary Engelbreit ~
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Fandango’s Provocative Question (30 October 2019)

We’re at Wednesday again, and Fandango has posted another Provocative Question, where he asks us to ponder an issue each week. This week, he’s asking whether the phone call has become obsolete.

At the outset, I have to say that I don’t have a clear-cut answer. I read about Fandango’s own use of phones and it is quite similar to my own. Hardly makes any, hardly receives any, and very judicious about the calls he does and doesn’t take. All those things apply to me too, with the added twist that for 90% of my online activity, I use a traditional Windows laptop. No phone was even remotely involved in the creation of this post.

So, just considering my own scenario, I can agree that yes, phones calls are way past their prime. But I can think of two examples to the contrary.

Last night, I picked up the phone to wish my aunt a Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday, Auntie Margaret. She has a mobile phone, but has never even used a computer. So whilst I guess a text message is an option, the internet certainly isn’t. As it happens, neither of us are big users of text messages.

Also, I did my telephone volunteering session yesterday afternoon. By definition, that is using the phone to speak to people. Some of the clients view the telephone as just another method of communication, but some of them only have the phone. It’s quite scary, when I myself use computers so much. But nevertheless, true. I think nothing of looking up the movies at the cinema, or what time the next bus goes, but for them, it isn’t an option.

The one thing my auntie and my clients have in common is age. My auntie is almost eighty and my clients typically range from seventies to nineties. So, perhaps it is a generational thing?

Probably. A lot of people think that the computer is going to meltdown when they hit the wrong button. When I hit the wrong button, I tend to blame the program, for not making it obvious which button I was meant to press. So, a whole different perspective. But I can think of an example which even shoots down my age-related argument.

My daughter is twenty. She’s quite close to my wife, but not to me. They both have Apple tech. They use Facetime video quite a bit to speak to each other. As you might guess, my daughter is remote. Thank goodness!

But there are also a surprisingly large amount of voice calls mixed in. (My daughter will usually want to speak to my wife two or three times per day. It seems weird that somebody should be that dependent, but there we go. I’m a cold fish.)

I mean, my daughter is different to me. I have a landline, used mostly now for internet, and regard my cellphone as something I must remember to take out with me. She, on the other hand, does everything though her cellphone. So, there might well be a discussion to be had on whether the landline has become obsolete. But fundamentally, she still relies on that voice communication, and at least fifty years younger than my other example.