News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The rise and rise of the left-wing British Gay Mafia

I've always taken the view that governments have no place in private bedrooms. In fact, they shouldn't try to control our lives at all. It's not as if they can run countries well, so why would they be able to run our lives? Those underlying principles may be the reason why I've never understood why anyone would care whether someone is gay or what they want to get up with in their private lives. Unfortunately, it seems that some British gay groups are less inclined to adopt the same principles, and the government's attempts at social engineering are proof that they should not have a place in the bedroom.

Today we have two stories which illustrate the problem well. The first is truly shocking. The state-funded British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) have published various documents claiming that opponents of adoption by gays and lesbians are "retarded homophobes." What a pleasant organisation for us to entrust the care of our most vulnerable children. Britain's adoption Nazis, as the Daily Mail so eloquently describes them, have previously banned a Christian couple from fostering any more children, because they were not prepared to teach the children they fostered that gay relationships were right. Worse than that, when the 40ish grandparents of two boys whose mother was a junkie wanted to adopt their grandchildren, they were refused for being too old. Instead, the children were placed with a gay couple and the grandparents were told that they would be allowed to see them twice a year, on the condition that they didn't complain about the incident.

The second story is that Canterbury Pride has taken Conservative controlled Canterbury City Council to the Local Government Ombudsman to complain that there is no gay bar or gay community centre in Canterbury. This, apparently, has turned Canterbury into a "Cultural Wasteland."

Let's be absolutely clear. Canterbury, population 43,000, is the home of Canterbury Cathedral, the centre of the global Anglican and Episcopalian faith. It is world renowned as the subject for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, to which there is a museum in the city. It houses not one by two universities and a theatre which attracts top London shows when they tour. It is famed for its international food markets held at Christmas time, and beer festival held in the summer. Within Kent, it is well known for its excellent pubs and restaurants. It is also where I proposed to my wife. What kind of narrow definition of culture states that all of this is negated by the lack of a gay bar and community centre?!

To top it all, it has also hosted a regular gay nightclub called Girls And boYs for several years and the council has previously granted Canterbury Pride money to help fund a Gay Pride festival and to hold civic events to engage with the LGBT community. Given that there were plans to redevelop the area around Girls And boYs, it is possible that the venue is no longer available, but given that it was a commercial venture there was nothing to stop the event moving to an alternative venue if it was commercially viable. If there is the level of demand that Canterbury Pride claims, there is no doubt that gay bars, clubs and community facilities would flourish within the night scene, which has all managed very will without taxpayers' funds, thank you.

Thankfully, the Ombudsman has already indicated that there is no case to answer. However, it is legally obliged to investigate all allegations, leaving taxpayers on the hook for that. Whatever happened to Democracy, where people debated issues and answers were found at the ballot box, insead of in front of an unelected judge?

Ignatieff uncovered

The new CPC attack ads certainly make for interesting reading. Iggy clearly has made some pretty poor judgements - both in the way he has presented himself in the global media, and the way he voted in Britain! He must have hoped that no-one in Canada would realise that he had been bad-mouthing the country when he was away from home, claiming that the only thing he missed about Canada was Algonquin Park or that people in Quebec don't speak proper French, like he does. I'm surprised that he ever knows where he is. Everywhere must look pretty much the same when you're that far up your own arse.

I do wonder whether he would still support Labour if the opportunity arose today? The party has delivered Britain a record 12% budget defecit, and plans to borrow £800 bn between 2008-2013, raise income tax for all, especially the highest and lowest earners and has introduced authoritarian laws which even mean that peoples' rubbish is inspected before it is taken away, to make sure that they are recycling everything. No wonder they've stopped calling the Conservatives un-Canadian.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Debate is good for city council

There has been much talk of Calgary City Council being dysfunctional, after disagreements between Aldermen during recent debates. I find the uproar rather bizarre - surely debate is what democracy is all about. If we want all of our elected representatives to sit around agreeing with one another, why bother electing them?

For years, Mayor Bronconnier and his cronies have run the city like their own personal fiefdom. At last they now face scrutiny at the hands of a sound-minded group of Aldermen, which normally includes Ric McIver, Diane Colley-Urquhart, Joe Connelly amongst others. What's more, voters will have a clear choice between the same old Bronco-Liberalism, as espoused by many of our "Independent" representatives (particularly Druh Farrell and Bob Hawkesworth) and a fresh new conservative alternative at next year's elections. That makes a welcome change, and is far more democratic than the usual method of having to guess how Aldermen are likely to vote.

The new CivicCamp organisation is an interesting development. I'm not clear as to their intentions, but they look like they may be developing into a Liberal-leaning municipal party. Particularly amusing is their complaint about "the ward politics system." I wonder why they have a problem with Aldermen standing up for the communities they represent!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Lies about STV

Proponents of the STV voting system which is proposed for BC's Provincial Elections have been making some wildly positive claims about the benefits of the system. They argue that it is "fair", "easy to use", "proportional" and provides "local representation". Yet Winston Churchill described it thus:

... the worst of all possible plans, the least scientific and most unreal. The decision is to be determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates.

So, who is right? Fortunately, there are plenty of countries already using STV to give us some real-world examples of the truth.

STV is fair

For this one, we need look no further than the last Irish General Election, in 2007. Since the STV system almost invariably gives no single party a majority, it has become customary for the parties to enter pre-election alliances, so that the voters know which groups will work together to actually run the country. In 2007, the two alliances were as follows:

Fianna Fail-Progressive Democrats, on a centre-right pro-market and low taxes platform.
Fine Gael-Labour-Green, on a centre-left, red-green platform.

The results were inconclusive. Neither of the two groups took a majority of the seats, due to the small number of Sinn Fein representatives who were elected but are not part of either alliance. Their links to Irish terrorism make their particular brand toxic to the other parties, meaning that they can never join the government.

After much horse-trading, the Green Party decided to join the FF-PD coalition. Does this sound like a fair system? Supporters of the FG-L-G coalition who have lent their lower preference votes to the Greens to enable their coalition to form a government have ended up propping up an administration which they opposed. Fine Gael and Labour supporters feel justly agrieved that they ended up voting against their own parties.

STV is not fair to voters. It represents a massive transfer of power from the electorate to professional politicians, who get to choose who governs regardless of voters' wishes.

STV is proportional

It is possible to argue that the above does not matter, as long as the politicians choosing the government are representative of the electorate. However, that is not always the case. During the 1990s, the Irish STV elections actually produced a less proportionate parliament than the First Past the Post system would have achieved! Yet, that pales into insignificance when compared to the Maltese experience.

At the 1981 General Election, Malta had two main parties - the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party. The Nationalist Party won 51% of the vote. Yet, Malta elected a majority Labour government.

Proportional? Absolutely not.

STV is easy to use

Scotland started using STV for municipal elections in 2007, having previously used First Past the Post. How easy did they find the new system to use? The number of ballots rejected for incorrect voting was a shocking 7%. 142,000 people had managed to spoil their ballot papers, which represented a dramatic increase from previous elections. Under First Past the Post, typical rejection rates were less than 1%.

In fact, the system would be better described as "easy to manipulate", as a well organised and resourced campaign can use tactics to manipulate the result to produce a result which is deliberately disproportionate.

All the MLAs provide local representation for their riding

Just how local is representation, when proposed ridings like "Northwest" cover 300,000 square kilometres?! The two MLAs cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as providing local representation to such a wide areas. In fact, there would be nothing to stop both MLAs from living in one small town on the edge of the riding, meaning that the rest of the area could be ineffectively represented in the legislature. To put the area into context, the UK covers 245 sq. km and is the 79th largest country in the world, and several provinces are smaller than this one proposed riding.

Peculiarities of the proposed BC system

To make matters worse, the BC system has been designed in such a way that any proportional result would be purely coincidental. The size of the ridings varies wildly, with the sparsely populated areas (understandably) containing far fewer voters per MLA than metropolitan ridings. Of course, the same can be said of the existing First Past the Post system, but no-one is claiming that the current system is proportional.

Moreover, empirical research of existing juristictions using STV has shown that proportionality is unlikely to be achieved if there are fewer than six MLAs per riding. To achieve such a balance, BS would need to combine its three largest ridings in the north, covering approximately 700,000 sq km. If it were an independed country, it would be the 15th largest in the world, behind Saudi Arabia and ahead of Mexico with 6 or 7 MLAs. So British Columbians have a choice - local representation or proportional representation. Those who claim otherwise are either lying or simply don't understand the system.

STV as advocated for BC is a compromise that produces the absolute worst of all worlds. It is neither proportional nor does it provide local representation.

Voting coincides with the BC General Election on Tuesday. Visit the no campaign's website for more information: