Super Tuesday!

Its that magical time in America they call Super Tuesday. For those who are utterly bewildered by the arcane and frankly crazy workings of the US electoral system (which is almost everyone, including most Americans) the term Super Tuesday is a hangover from the 1940s when Superman used to volunteer to fly the ballot papers from all the states to the counting centres faster than a speeding bullet (which is handy when flying over the southern states where drunken rednecks take potshots at anything flying overhead). In these modern, digital days when Republican party operatives can fiddle an electoral result by computer (a process called doing the Florida Harris waltz) the Man of Steel no longer flies the ballots about the country, but the name has stuck.

Meanwhile in Britain we have Pancake Tuesday, where we all make nice, fresh pancakes and smother them in yummy toppings (sod the healthy living, let’s have full cream on there today!). I think I prefer our Tuesday. But whether you are tossing pancakes or voting for a bunch of tossers, we wish you a happy Tuesday!


Well, finally last night the last result crawled in from Thursday’s elections (for local councils and also the Scottish Parliament) – there was a huge mess in counting votes because of a new syste, exacerbated by running both parliamentary and local elections at the same time, meaning three sets for folks to fill in (the parliament has two votes, one for constituency MSPs and another for the list vote, which gives independents a chance) and using two different methods. I found it clear enough to use, but I actually took a few minutes to read the instructions, I suspect a lot of the spoiled papers are a result of people simply not paying attention or because they are so used to the older system they never realised it was now different.

Still, with tens of thousands of spoiled papers and a counting breakdown which delayed everything it is little wonder Scottish political commentators are calling it a ‘guddle’ (there’s a good old Scots term for you). And it means a large number of people have been disenfranchised; since in some places the winner only got in by the skin of their teeth (sometimes as low as 40-odd votes) but the number of spoiled ballot papers was higher than their majority it effectively means there can’t be much confidence in their election. Between electoral mess-ups, disenfranchised voters and the recent bout of sunny weather it is just like being in Florida…

So after being neck and neck all day yesterday the final result has come down to the Scottish National Party under Alex Salmond winning by a single seat, to be the biggest party in the Scots parliament. But with such a tiny majority they can’t form a proper government without going into coalition, most likely with the Liberal Democrats. The Libs bland leader in Scotland already ruled out doing a deal with the SNP if they stick to their guns to set up a referendum for the people to vote on whether we should pursue independence or not, which I really don’t understand. I can understand the Libs may be against independence (I am far from convinced myself since no-one has really, properly explained how we can work it) but to be against the most democratic of things, a public referendum where all the people are asked what they think is simply foolish and undemocratic and, in my opinion, a betrayal of Liberal values, which is another reason why I have no faith in the Scottish Liberals anymore. Agree or disagree with the idea of independence by all means, but how can you be against allowing the people to vote on it??

It is also a big shocker to Labour – Scotland has been a huge block of Labour votes for generations, something they could take for granted, even in the bad old days of Herr Thatchler’s evil dictatorship from London in the 80s when Labour lost tons of support they still had a huge block here. Now they have blown that after decades, which speaks volumes for how much people are pissed off with their cronyism, nepotism, corruption and utter inept handling of government. A lot of it was also because of what the Labour party has done in power in the London parliament under Blair – clearly a lot of us thought yeah, we know that isn’t the fault of the Scottish parliament, but neither have you stood up and criticised them, so you are tarred with the same brush.

Still, such a small majority means it looks like people didn’t vote so much for a march to independence as vote against Labour in disgust. It does means that when the notorious war criminal Blair steps down from the London parliament and Gordon Brown takes over (as seems likely) he is going to be a Labour prime minister in London dealing with a Scottish parliament run by his political opponents (embarassingly the constituency right next to Brown’s own in Fife also went to the SNP) which means the relationship between London and Edinburgh is going to be rather interesting in coming months and years – which I am sure Salmond will exploit to push the independence agenda. I wonder if I should declare my own Independent Republic of Woolamaloo and offer to make it the free homeland for bloggerdom?

Election time

It seems to be an election spring this year – Turkey is in the middle of problems with a flawed election, France is in the middle of presidential elections which are now between a right wing twonk (sorry, Le Twonk) and an attractive woman who hates manga but doesn’t seem to have much in the way of solid policies. In the UK there are local elections for councils and in Wales and Scotland there are also elections for the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament as well this week. It can be very confusing as political parties jockey for attention like ill-tempered and jealous children with bad attention defecit disorder and every second lampost suddenly blooms with strange new colourful foliage as activists go around sticking up signs entreating us all to vote for their candidate, each trying to place their sign higher than opponent’s (shame they are slower to come round and remove this political graffiti they inflict on citizens after it is over). Well, for those in Scotland who are wondering just what the smeg to do this Thursday, here’s our Woolamaloo rough guide, prepared in collaboration with Professor Albert Major-Majority of the University of Woolamaloo’s Department of Political Science and Bullshit:

The Labour Party – main plank for election: please don’t blame us for Tony Blair’s war crimes, nothing to do with us, honest, oh and let’s stick with the Union because Tony told us to. Er… It’s okay, he’s going soon, honest and can we just say again he is nothing to do with Scottish Labour, it’s just we never got round to criticising him because we were too busy using our own Westminster MPs to support his corrupt regime. Er… Vote Jack!

The Liberal Democrats – main plank of election strategy: er, not sure really. Do they have one? Do they even have a leader of the Scottish party anyone has heard of? Moving on…

The SNP, aka the Scottish National Party but also known to generations of Scottish schoolkids as the Scottish Nose Pickers. Main election strategy – play on the age-old Scots tradition of blaming the English for anything ever being wrong, have total independence without explaining how it will work other than referring to North Sea oil revenues which magically go on forever and never run out… Never mind, Sean Connery loves them, but since he hasn’t lived in Scotland for decades what the feck does he know about Scottish politics and life in Scotland these days?

The Green Party – main election ideals: build sustainable new power stations by constructing wind turbines powered from the hot air blowing from the major parties’ gobs. Create affordable new homes from hemp. Free sandals for all schoolkids.

Various Socialist Parties which used to be one which in a traditional left political move splintered into 173 competing Socialist parties as soon as they tasted the slightest bit of success. Main electoral planks: Tommy Sheridan’s fake tan, the bloke from the Royale Family with the big nose says they are great for the ‘workers’ and the Magical Land Where Everyone Is Paid Lots Of Money and Everything Is Wonderful Always

The Conservatives – main electoral planks: er, some Ayrshire farmers voted for us once and, oh, please don’t hold the fact we were the only ones to campaign against the Scottish parliament, so why are we even trying to be elected to an institution we fought against… Oh, where were we? Oh yeah, why to vote for us, er, oh yeah, we have our wonderful new green tree logo drawn by a 3-year old with crayons to show how caring and green we are.

Alas the Woolamaloo Pary isn’t standing this year.