Proportional representation and tactical voting

It’s a pity that the country decided not to adopt PR for elections, the principle is good.  It would avoid extreme right- or left-wing governments, which would be healthy.

Under the single transferable vote system, if you vote for a party that comes last, then your vote gets transferred to your second choice and so on.  So in effect the least unpopular party wins.

The good news is that we can apply these principles ourselves anyway.

If our favourite party has little chance where we vote (perhaps came third or fourth last time) then we can simply vote for our second choice instead.  We transfer our vote to our second choice, and so we make it count.

Some have called this tactical voting, but really it’s the same thing.

Let’s give it a go!

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The truth behind the Tory propaganda

I am not a politician.  I don’t know how to manipulate people to vote for me.  But I do know injustice when I see it, and I do know lies and deceit when I see it, and I have learnt to recognise logical fallacies when I read or hear them.  The Conservative government have taught me well.  Local election results show that the population has unfortunately not learnt the same lesson.

There is massive injustice in our nation.

Look at the distribution of income (latest available figures)

What personal virtue led to the highest earners being paid ten or a hundred times more than those at the bottom?  It was all accident.  Accident of birth that gave them the attributes to succeed in business, or accident of birth that gave them the education and contacts that they needed.  But are they a hundred times more valuable people than the lower paid?  And as by accident they have more income, is it not right that they should give more money to the community? Yet the Conservative government wants them to pay less.  The Conservative government wants their wealth to increase, and wants to put control of our lives in their hands.

And look at the distribution of wealth.

What personal virtue led to the inheritance of wealth or debt? None, it was all accident of birth.  Without wealth you cannot buy your own home without having to borrow.  You cannot start a business without having borrow.  You cannot have a university education without having to borrow.  And when you borrow without wealth you have to pay high rates of interest.

And look at the direction of taxes.

VAT rate changes


The Conservative governments have reduced tax on the highest earners, they have reduced inheritance tax on the wealthiest, they have increased VAT – tax that is paid by everyone – poor and rich alike.

Conservative values are to tax the poor and to increase the wealth of the wealthy.  And yet they manage to manipulate the press and the people to avoid these truths and focus on jingoistic slogans and false national pride.  Oh yes, they are very good politicians – but I have learnt to see though their smokescreen.  I have looked at the data instead of the rhetoric.  I have seen the unnecessary suffering that the Conservatives have caused.  And so I will vote for the party with compassionate and just policies.  Will you join me?

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Why it is right to reverse the increase in Inheritance Tax threshold.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies says that “..wealth is distributed very unequally. One per cent of households have negative net wealth of greater than £12,000 per adult (the 1st percentile), while the 9th percentile is £0 so 9 per cent of households have no positive net wealth. Wealth at the median is £104,000 per adult. Wealth at the very top increases dramatically across a small number of percentiles – the 95th and 99th percentiles are £0.7 million and £1.4 million per adult respectively. In fact, the estimates of wealth held at the very highest percentiles could be underestimates;”

There is no problem with saving your income to increase your wealth.  But there is a problem when inherited wealth means that those who have not had the good fortune to have wealthy parents or ancestors are denied the chance to ‘better’ themselves.

This is more than an academic problem.  For example, for most people, the biggest expenditure is housing.  If you look at how much you can borrow, and at typical house prices then two-thirds of people cannot buy a home without help from someone who has wealth.  The graph above shows that perhaps a third of the population have insufficient wealth to avoid the having to enter the private rental market.  The high cost of renting means they have less chance of building themselves a better future – the rules are stacked against them.

That is why it is right to reverse the increase in Inheritance Tax threshold, we need to even out the playing field.

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It is time to cut VAT.

VAT is a tax on what we spend.  Everybody has to pay VAT at the same rate, rich and poor alike.  The following chart shows which parties have changed the basic rate of VAT since its introduction by the Conservative government on 1973.

VAT rate changes

Increasing VAT puts a bigger burden on the poor than the rich, as shown by the following analysis of the most recent VAT risk from 17.5% to 20%:

Reducing the rate of VAT will ease life for the less well off, increase sales, increase business activity and lead to higher employment.  That will increase income and corporation tax revenues and reduce the cost benefit payments as there will be less people out of work.

It is time to cut VAT, not to consider increasing it.

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Why public ownership makes sense

If I need some basic repairs carrying out on my car or my house, I know that the cheapest way to get the repairs done is to do it myself.  It is faster and easier and cheaper.

Why should it be any different for the nation?  If we want cost-effective roads, railways and other essential infrastructure, it is common sense for us to own and maintain them ourselves.  It’s faster and easier and because we are not paying someone else’s profits it is far cheaper.  Public ownership simply makes sense.

Other nations make a success of it. They are even running our rail services and taking the profits for their governments.

Keolis is 70% owned by the French government’s national rail service SNCF. It owns 35% of Govia, which runs the Govia Thameslink, Southern, Southeastern and London Midland franchises.

Arriva UK Trains, which operates a string of services including Chiltern, CrossCountry, Grand Central, Northern, Arriva Rail London and Arriva Trains Wales, is owned by Deutsche Bahn – whose sole shareholder is the Federal Republic of Germany.

Abellio is the international arm of the state-owned Dutch national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

If you really want to upset yourself about this, watch the video:

Do we think so little of ourselves that we can’t do the same?  Isn’t it time to bring essential public services back into public ownership?

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Why we need more council houses

The chart below shows the income distribution in the UK (latest figures available from government statistics) and the corresponding amount that you can borrow if you have a 10% deposit (using the Halifax building society mortgage calculator).

Two thirds of the working population would be earning too little to buy a house for £150,000 by themselves. If you do not have the ‘bank of Mum and Dad’ then you have no chance.

Your only option is to rent, from the private sector, at a cost that is higher than your mortgage repayments would be if you were able to get a loan.

That is why we NEED more council houses.

That is why I’m voting for a Labour government. (see Pledge 2)

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How can Theresa May call herself a Christian?

“If someone had enough money to live well and sees a brother in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person?” 1 John 3:17

The Conservative party have overseen the rise in homelessness and food bank usage, hardship caused by severe sanctioning of benefits, zero hour contracts, deep cuts in public services.  Yet Mrs May has called herself a Christian.  I don’t understand how.  Jesus said “If you love me, obey my commandments” John 14:15 yet I see no sign of that.

Jesus calls us to love our neighbour, not to exploit them.  He noted that the widows offering of a few small coins was worth far more than the trumpeted gifts of the wealthy.  She gave all she had to live on.

Unfortunately the Conservative government have demanded all from the poorest in society.  There have been plenty of opportunities for a change of heart – now it is time for a change of government.

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Why the media and the establishment hate Jeremy Corbyn….

“This is the message that you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.  We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother.  And why did he kill him?  Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So don’t be surprised dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.”

I don’t really need to add anything.  We can all recognise who is who in this story.

(There really is a lot of wisdom in the Bible. This was written by St John.)

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How to approach the General Election campaign.

“Stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbours the truth for we are all part of the same body.”

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you”

“Live a life filled with love”

“You can be sure that no immoral, impure or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God.  For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.  Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse their sins, for the anger of God will fall on all those who disobey him.  Don’t participate in the things these people do.  Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”

In the run-up to this latest election, here are instructions from St Paul on how to behave.  They are as valid today as when they were written, and I long for politicians and those in the media to listen to them.  Let’s encourage them to behave like this when we can.

But they are also a challenge for each one of us.  I find myself getting angry and bitter at what I hear from the campaigns, and I can let it control my responses.  Look at most of discussion threads and you will see the same.  But it does not help to use harsh words or slander; let’s try to put our arguments graciously.

And finally there is the message of justice: “no immoral, impure or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God” and “the anger of God will fall on all those who disobey him”.  We don’t know how – it may be simply that they become bitter and unhappy individuals, or it may be something more painful.  But if we know that justice will be done then it helps us restrain our own feelings of anger, and perhaps be moved to compassion and mercy instead.

Please share this message to try to make the next few weeks more bearable for us all.

(Quotes are from the book of Ephesians)

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“Forgive me my sin, as I forgive those who sin against me.”

Think about this carefully.  It is the route to national and individual healing.

If we are a wealthy banker and are angry and unforgiving of those who voted for Brexit, then this prayer gives the Brexit voter permission to be angry and unforgiving of us, as we maintain the system of oppression of the poor.  The country tears in two, hatred spreads and we are all worse off.

If we are poor and homeless and are unforgiving of the uncaring nature of those who are financially safe, then that gives those in power no incentive to change the situation.  And we can expect to be punished for any bad behaviour on our part.

If we are unforgiving of less than perfect service from (say) hospital A&E, teachers, or waiters then we can expect no forgiveness when we fall short of perfection in our work.

If we cannot forgive our friends or family when they say or do something that upsets us, then we must be perfect in our behaviour towards them.

The prayer asks that we are forgiven in the same way that we forgive others.  If we cannot forgive others, we must maintain the same demand for perfection in ourselves; a demand that we will never be able to live up to.  If we want to free ourselves from feelings of guilt or inadequacy, we must choose to forgive others first for their shortcomings, and then we can know then that we are forgiven.

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