Tag Archives: jonathan wallace

Opinion: Fairer votes – the Pret A Manger test

There are lots of ways to make the case for a fairer voting system for electing MPs, but I think I may have come up with the most novel. I was in the staff kitchen at work the other day when colleagues starting chatting about the referendum, triggered by a newspaper article about it. They were split between the YES camp and the NO camp, both drawing on what seemed like standard arguments deployed by both campaigns.

I started trying to win over the antis, but wasn’t really getting anywhere. Then a thought occurred to me. I was peckish at the time, about to head out to buy something for a very late lunch. It was the sort of time in the afternoon when the range of sandwiches at the nearby Pret A Manger starts to dwindle – maybe they’ll have run out of smoked salmon, BLT, chicken avocado or whatever else.

“I’ll buy everyone here a sandwich from Pret. You can choose what you want using either first-past-the-post, or the alternative vote. If you choose first-past-the-post then you get one choice and if it’s run out then you get nothing. If you use the alternative vote then you can, of course, let me know what you want ideally, but if they’ve run out of it you can let me know what you want as a second and third choice.”

You’ll be unsurprised to learn that they all decided to use the alternative vote, and I think this little exercise won over the sceptics too.

Of course if you meet someone who wants a less sandwich-based explanation of how the alternative vote works, I can heartily recommend this video that Jonathan Wallace shot of me setting out the case for change and explaining how the alternative vote works. Take a look:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 29 Comments

Blog of the Year Awards: The movie

The BOTYs were quite simply the glitteringest event of the whole Liberal Democrat conference last week, and Lib Dem councillor and blogger Jonathan Wallace was there to film them.

If you look carefully, you might just spot the tail feathers of the last flamingo, as it was startled away by popping flashbulbs. Alas, the heat of said flashbulbs also melted the ice sculptures before Jonathan could film those too, but the video’s well worth watching for the great speeches from winners and presenters alike:

Posted in Best of the blogs and Conference | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 23 March 2010

Diagram of wings of early planeIn history, March 23rd was the day in 1903 the Wright Brothers applied for a patent on one of the earliest aeroplanes – and the day in 1933 Adolf Hitler became dictator of Germany.

It’s birthday to Joan Crawford, Wernher von Braun, José Manuel Barroso, Marti Pellow and Russell Howard.

Today in history, two people who underwent pioneering surgical procedures died: Britain’s youngest ever liver transplant patient died, aged three, and in 1982, the recipient of the first ever artificial heart died, aged 61.

2 Big Stories

All yesterday, two huge political stories raged through the online world: the farce of a Tory attempt to use social media, #cashgordon, and foreshadowing of last night’s Dispatches, which showed three Labour former cabinet ministers in a very bad light.

The newspapers catch up with the latter, but don’t seem to be covering the former.

Byers, Hewitt and Hoon suspended over lobbying allegations

The Telegraph reports:

Three former Cabinet ministers, Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, have been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over allegations they tried to sway policy decisions by lobbying the Government.

The Lib Dem party line on this horrid mess which embarrasses Parliament?

Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House, David Heath said, “MPs should not be using their positions to further their own interests over those of the people they should be representing. Liberal Democrats brought forward measures to restrict the influence of lobbyists in Parliament. Sadly, Labour voted them down while the Tories failed to show up. Labour and the Tories claim they want to clean up politics but the reality proves different.”

Posted in Conference and Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Daily View 2×2: 18 December 2009

Whether you’re snowed in, or just snowed under, welcome to Friday. It’s 12 years since Donald Dewar unveiled the bill for a Scottish Parliament.

2 Big Stories

BBC apologises for asking: ‘Should homosexuals face execution’
From the Telegraph:

People were asked by the corporation to share their views on anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda which would see some sexual activities punishable by death.

The BBC website debate ran ahead of a feature on the World Service Africa Have Your Say programme.

Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC World Service, wrote on the BBC Editor’s Blog that the original forum headline on the website was in hindsight ”too stark”.

He wrote: ”You might have read some of the coverage about a World Service Africa Have Your Say debate yesterday …

”The original headline on our website was, in hindsight, too stark. We apologise for any offence it caused.

”But it’s important that this does not detract from what is a crucial debate for Africans and the international community.”

Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem spokesperson for Youth and Equality, had called on the BBC to apologise and wrote to the Director General.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

Daily View 2×2: 18 June 2009

Welcome to Daily View. Happy birthday to Delia Smith CBE. Today is also Autistic Pride Day.

2 Big Stories

And it’s good news for Burnley Liberal Democrats as sub-editors across the spectrum studiously avoid the headline “The Fall of the House of Ussher

Miss Ussher said that she was leaving the Government “with the greatest regret” but would remain as MP for Burnley until the coming election, when she will stand down from Parliament “for family reasons”.

Burnley PPC Gordon Birtwhistle, who has steered the party through taking outright control of the borough council last year, and gaining five of the six …

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment
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