Saturday Spectacular

Some stuff about Proptional Representation, some stuff about public transport, some stuff about “Save Trosa Nature” and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I am going to be sharing stuff relating to three topics, and also displaying some of my own photographs. The weather here is so spectacular at present that not only am I creating this post while sitting outside, I am wearing a t-shirt. I shall move on to my first set of shares, which are themed around…

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

The First Past the Post (FPTP) method of deciding elections has had its day. It works reasonably well when two parties hoover up almost all the votes (though even then, as in 1951 when the Labour party got more votes than any party ever in any British General Election still ended up in opposition because of how those votes were distributed), but when the two biggest parties as is now the case in Britain command just 65% of the vote between them it is an epic fail, with barely more than a third of the votes cast being enough on occasions to hand one party a “majority”. I have two images, both found by way of twitter, and a link to share with you.

THE ARTICLE

The article to which I link is in the Guelph Mercury, and takes the form of a blistering opening letter to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau criticisng him for going back on his election commitment to electoral reform (Canada is one of only two democracies besides Britain which still uses FPTP – the other being the one that is so dysfunctional that Mr “Grab ’em by the pussy” was able to secure the top job).  To read this piece in full please click on the image below, which is taken from it:

Trudeau

The two images I am sharing point up the flaws of FPTP in two differing ways:

fptpfailFPTPbad

If anyone wishes to bring up the 2o11 referendum on voting reform thinking to use that to make a point, I suggest you think again: the sole alternative that was on offer then was very nearly as flawed as FPTP – AV IS NOT PR.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have a number of items to share here, some bad, some good. I will start with my journey to work yesterday morning. At 8:43AM (cutting it close, but manageable if no further time is wasted), a bus pulled into bay C at King’s Lynn bus station bearing the legend Fakenham X29. After it had disgorged a handful of passengers the driver told us we had to wait, and then a manager told him he had to take the bus into the parking slots in the centre of the bus station as it was being replaced with a single decker. For the run between King’s Lynn and Fakenham this would be adequate, but at Fakenham this bus becomes the 9:35 to Norwich, and single-decker is guaranteed to mean standees on that section of the route as that bus is the first of the morning on which old folk travel free. The end result of this was that it was just after 8:50AM when the bus actually got underway. As you will be seeing later, there was an incident on my return journey of a different kind.

A London Underground Worker Has Been Sacked For Helping a Pregnant Colleague Who Was Being Assaulted – Courtesy of Evolve Politics – 

This story, headlined as above on EvolvePolitics and ‘pressed’ by me on to my London Transport themed website is shocking in many different ways. Firstly, even without the actual evidence, which is pretty damning of London Underground bosses, in the event of an incident between staff and passengers the default position should be to side with staff. Secondly, London Underground claims to have a ‘zero-tolerance’ attitude to attacks on its staff. Thirdly, I consider the arrogant refusal of London Underground bosses even to contemplate the possibility that they might be in error to be very disturbing. On my way home from work yesterday, before I saw this piece, I witnessed a piece of unpleasantness on the bus in which I was travelling. I will summarize this incident in bullet point form:

  • Due to weight of traffic, rather than attempt to pull into the stopping zone outside the train station the driver stopped just before the station to let people off.
  • Just after he had started moving again and went past the station a passenger who had wanted to get off at the station and had failed to notice the stop started having a go at the driver about him not stopping.
  • The passenger continued this for the rest of the journey to the bus station. 

To make matters worse, the drop-off point at the bus station is only about 200m from the train station anyway. While I have been known to write in uncompromising terms to the offices of public transport companies I never target the staff who are actually attempting to deliver the service. This incident I have referred to is trivial compared to the one at the heart of the EvolvePolitics piece, which I link to, by way of the image below.

Having just referred you to one excellent source of political stories I now turn to another for a rather pleasanter story…

Part of Britain’s Railways Was Just Taken Into Public Ownership – Brought to you by The Canary

Kerry-Anne Mendoza’s magnificent creation, The Canary, has come up trumps again, with this story about a tiny part of our rail infrastructure (titled as per the first part of this section heading) coming back into public ownership in 2018. Obviously, it is a very small step in the right direction – towards a fully publicly owned and publicly accountable transport system – but it is a step in that direction nonetheless. To read the story in full please click on the image below:

Part of Britain’s railways was just taken into public ownership

I will end the public transport part of this post with…

A Trip Down Memory Lane Courtesy of Time Out

This is a fantastic photo archive showing the history of public transport in London since 1863 (when the world’s first underground railway line, then called the Metropolitan Railway, commenced operations). It has already featured on my London transport themed website. To view these pictures in their full glory please click on the one below which I have selected to act as the link.

This picture is headed as follows in the piece: Metropolitan Railway Guard Eva Carver. Mrs Carver can be seen dressed in uniform holding a lamp and flag by a staircase at Hammersmith Underground station, Metropolitan and Great Western Railways.

SAVE TROSA NATURE

I have links here to a recent blog post on this subject and to a nature website with strong connections to the subject matter of this section, and also to end this section and segue into the photos that end this post with a link to a post on facebook. 

The Blog Post

I reblogged this post when I first saw it, and now I am sharing it again. As with many of Anna’s nature themed posts this one features the meme she created based on some words I posted as a comment, and it is that that I use as the link.

The Website

The website, linked to in the blog post above, is called artportalen is about the species you can find in Sweden. To take a look at this site for yourself click on the image below:

The Segue Link

The facebook post to which I am linking contains a picture of an Apollo butterfly, a species which I observed on an island in the outer reaches of the Stockholm Archipelago but never on the mainland. The area around Trosa apparently is home to this rare species. To view this post and the picture featured there please click on the photograph below, which is my own.

DSCN8219

PHOTOGRAPHS

Finally to end this post:

butterfly1
These photos start and finish with butterflies.

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Tackling the MP

Some stuff about putting pressure on MPs, some photographs and some general links.

INTRODUCTION

As well as the stuff relating to Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for Northwest Norfolk and therefore my local MP I have a few other links and of course a selection of photographs. Also before I move into the main body of the post I start with…

ERRATUM

In my last post but one I described one the birds I had photographed as a long-tailed tit, when it was actually a pied wagtail. I have as those following the link will note made the correction to the original post, but I am not going to settle for the blogging equivalent of a correction notice in 6pt type at the bottom of page 27!

TACKLING THE MP 1: AN UNSATISFACTORY RESPONSE

I recently contacted my MP as part of a campaign brought to my attention by Alex Runswick of Unlock Democracy. Here is Sir Henry’s utterly predictable and deeply unsatisfactory response to my message about Propotional Representation:

Thank you for contacting me about Proportional Representation (PR).

I am afraid that I do not agree with your views on PR, and fully support First Past the Post (FPTP). This tried and tested system ensures stability and clear governance,
preventing disproportionate influence by minority parties with minimal public support, who typically end up holding the balance of power in PR systems.

The British people were clear on this matter in 2011. While the Early Day Motion suggests that the referendum is not relevant, it is clear that the verdict was not only
against the Alternative Vote system, but in favour of FPTP. The system is clearly well established and understood by voters, and also provides a very clear link between
constituents and their representatives in Parliament.

More often than not, FPTP results in a Government with a working majority in Parliament, making decisive government possible. It allows the formation of a clear opposition
that can provide an alternative to, and a check on, the Government of the day. The Government therefore has no plans to change the voting system for elections to the
House of Commons.

I note that EDM 591 endorses the principle of votes that count equally. This is exactly what is happening through the Boundary Review, which will equalise the size of
constituencies. As it stands, some constituencies have twice as many electors as others, and this cannot be right.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Every Best Wish

Henry Bellingham

Sir Henry Bellingham MP for North West Norfolk
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

The reference to the 2011 referendum is particularly annoying, since the system on offer as an alternative was very nearly as flawed as FPTP. Also in 2011 we had not had the farce of the 2015 General Election which saw a party in receiving the votes of 24% of the electorate enabled to form a so-called “majority government”. 

TACKLING THE MP 2: A BUS SERVICES BILL

The Better Transport Campaign are seeking to get people to contact their MPs to gain support for a strong Bus Services Bill. For more details of what this is all about and if applicable to contact your MP (as I have already done, though not in my case with any real hope let alone expectation of support) please click the screenshot below:

screenshot-2017-01-23-at-4-56-18-pm

 PHOTOGRAPHS

Today was a nice sunny afternoon…

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OTHER LINKS

Rationalising the Universe have put up an excellent post titled Quantum Numbers. To see the full post click on the diagram illustrating the shapes of electron orbitals that I have included below as a sample:

05cb54e6ff5c2289b76027bb3d74ae8db658f41f

Ficitional newsreader Jonathan Pie provides a pungent take on the Trump inauguration (be warned there is some seriously strong language):

Finally, to end on light note, here is a link to a Guardian quiz entitled “what is your travel identity?”. When I did it it told me based on my answers that I always followed trends and sought to be cool. Anyone familiar with either me or this blog will realise that this assessment is further off beam than a faulty Trident!

 

The Calendars are Here, PR and Last Chance to Join a Mighty Thunderclap

INTRODUCTION

Three little things for you….

THE “GET NATURE ON THE NEWS” THUNDERCLAP – ONE DAY TO GO

This thunderclap currently has 1944 supporters with a total social reach of approximately 12.5 million. If you would like to support it and have an account with any of facebook, twitter on tumblr (you can, as I have with my facebook and twitter accounts support it with two accounts if you have them) please click on the screen grab below…

thunderclap

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

Here in the UK we are lumbered with an antiquated voting system that has enabled a party with the votes of 24% of the electorate to form a ‘majority’ government. For this reason Make Votes Matter have put up a petition on the official government petitions website (which means it is only open to UK citizens to sign). To view and sign the petition click the screen grab below.

pr

As you can see, when I screen grabbed the above image there were just over 9,000 signatures. There are now almost 14,000 and growing.

THE CALENDARS ARE HERE!

The photographic wall calendars that I have created for next year are now in my possession. I am delighted with how they have come out.

calendar-reduced

A NEW PHOTO

Once I had picked up the calendars this morning I had time to kill before catching the bus, but not enough to warrant a return to the flat, so i took a little loop through The Walks, where I got this picture…

moorhen-reduced