Category Archives: Life

Tour of the Minor Parties 4 – Welsh Green Party

I’m not sure I appreciated what a marathon this was going to turn into when I started it. Yesterday’s horrid slog through the rhetoric of the SLP was distinctly unrewarding. I’m hoping for better things from today’s turn: The Welsh Green Party.

Web Presence

Very nicely done. The most engaging and interactive of all the sites I have visited thus far. They have links to all their social media outlets right on the front page. A quick trawl through their Youtube channel turns up one of the best descriptions of how the regional list proportional representation works that I have yet seen. Although I could have done without the “vote for us or the BNP get in” scaremongering. The air-raid sirens where, perhaps, a bit much.

Top of the Welsh list is Jake Griffiths. Who seems to write the news posts for the Welsh Greens news-blog-thing. So at least you can get an idea of how he feels about the issues, and more importantly; how he feels about Welsh issues.

So the greens score well on this front. Their candidates appear to be actual real-life people and they even engage in conversation with people (for example answering comments on their youtube channel).


Green Party policies seem to boil down a few major initiatives.

  1. Tackle climate change by increasing investments in wind and solar. And by simultaneously taking steps to reduce energy demand. For example they want to subsidise insulation for residential properties.
  2. A 20mph suburban speed limit to reduce accidents and allow residents to reclaim their streets.
  3. An increase in affordable housing.

Jake also has some specific things to say regarding Wales.

I have to say that the Greens have done a good job in recent years making their policies distinctive from the main parties and yet bland enough that there is nothing really outrageous to object to. Fortunately for me the have a policy archive which reveals them to be just as wingnutty as ever.

My main objection to the Greens is their fanciful energy policy. While I agree with them that climate change is a real problem I disagree with their prescription for solving it. Solar and Wind are great in that they don’t produce any C02 but you need to put in somewhere above 40% backup to them for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Now the obvious step forward is to back them up with Nuclear which can provide reliable and CO2 free power, but the Greens are ideologically opposed to Nuclear. The policy document contains the following charming statement:

Green Party scientist Dr Busby has stated the nuclear industry has been responsible for over a million deaths worldwide.

Really, a million? Bear in mind that the WHO reckons that Chernobyl, the worlds worst Nuclear accident, killed around 50 people with epidemiologist projecting a total death toll of 4000. So I’m not sure how we get to one million.

The other strand of their energy policy is reducing demand both by mandating energy efficiency and by some more “inventive” strategies.

peak electricity demand when people switch on electric kettles and cookers at the end of a popular television programme. If there were to be a threat of power cuts because demand was already abnormally high during exceptionally severe winter weather, this could be averted by varying the times of transmission from the different regional broadcasting a caption asking people to switch off
unnecessary lights and appliances.

One should note that this is only an issue because the Greens don’t want to build enough power stations to actually meet the energy needs of the country.

This is doubly troubling because of something called The Jevons Paradox which states that increasing the efficiency with which a commodity is used tends to increase it’s usage. In other words Green Party policies are likely to increase energy consumption while doing little to reduce the CO2 production per unit energy on the supply side of things.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. A carbon tax is the most straight-forward way of approaching climate change.

European Policies

While the Greens are undoubtedly a strong force in Europe they seem short on specifically European policies.

Not Mental

I’m going to give the Greens the benefit of the doubt. I suspect they are just scientifically illiterate rather than crazy.


Being a fan of liberal economics and Nuclear power it was very unlikely that I would find the Greens appealing. Although I have to give them props for their fine web presence and the fact the their local councillors and MEPs are reputed to be hard-working and honest.

We are fast approaching the end of this journey. Tomorrow’s instalment will be the Jury Team and I will mull over whether or not to do the BNP.

A Tour of the Minor Parties 3 – Socialist Labour Party

From one megalomaniacal trade union boss to another. The first thing you see when visiting the site of the Socialist Labour Party (apart from the appalling design) is a big picture of their fearless leader Arthur Scargill.

Now I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the hard left due to being brought up in a fairly left-wing family. Indeed my maternal Grandmother was a card-carrying Communist even going so far as to visit Moscow before the days of Glasnost and Perestroika. So I was raised knowing that the Russians aren’t evil and that you shouldn’t believe everything Uncle Sam tells you.

Web Presence

It appears to be hand-written, and not by somebody who knows what they are doing. Aside from the horrifying design there is no information about any of their candidates (apart from Comrade Scargill) and not a mention of the European elections. You would think that an anti capitalist institution like the SLP would be running on open-source but upon inspecting the site I find:

Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET

Tut, tut, tut.


They have a lot of policies and many of their policy descriptions go on at great length, liberally sprinkled with possibly spurious statistics. I say possibly spurious because they seem to be labouring under a pathological fear of citing their sources. The only document cited in the entire site is a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which you can’t read unless you drop twenty quid on it.

Phantom sources aside, lets start of on some things I can agree with.

Homosexual partnerships should be recognised, including legally on a par with heterosexual ones. Sexuality should not be a bar to the custody of children, applications for fostering and adoption. Sexuality cannot be a bar to Aids and IVF treatment. When it comes to any aspect of criminal law, homosexual behaviour should be treated exactly the same way as heterosexuality.

Sing it brother. Keep this up and I’ll join you in a rousing rendition of “The Red Flag”.

A written Constitution should embody all individual and collective rights so that Judges would implement and not interpret the Constitution; this, together with a Bill of Rights, would allow a fair democratic system in which people could determine what type of Constitution we should have and then ensure that it is at all times upheld in the interests of us all.

Something else I could get behind.

We can have no higher goal than doing our best to ensure that every baby born into this world is wanted and will be cared for physically and emotionally throughout childhood and into adult life.

So, you’d have to be Ebeneezer Scrooge not to agree with basic premise of “the children are our future”. Further down the page the SLP declare that they are also pro-kitten and very much in favour of fluffy bunny rabbits.

I think at this point we should take it as read that as an economically liberal, free trade kind of chap I’m going to disagree with all of the SLP’s economic policies. However that still leaves a lot of policy ground to cover. The disagreement starts with animal rights.

Vivisection and animal testing should be abolished…..
Animal researchers feed the public lies designed to fool us into thinking that animal experiments are a medical necessity and that they lead to the development of drugs that heal all manner of illness

This only makes sense if you believe that there is a conspiracy amongst all biological scientists. The thing we know about scientists is that they value evidence and truth. If animal testing didn’t work they would stop doing it. What possible motivation could they have otherwise? Are we to believe that all biomedical scientists everywhere are sadists?

The commercial irradiation of many types of food – without our knowledge, let alone our consent – means that a number of foods now last weeks rather than days, but at what cost? What effect does irradiation have on the human body, and how long before we all have to pay the price of the fast-food, get-rich-quick system which now operates in Britain?

To be fair gamma rays are up the capitalist end of the electromagnetic spectrum with their bourgeois short wavelengths and elitist high frequencies.

The development of genetically modified crops is highly dangerous, and is something against which our Party campaigns. Those who try to ‘play God’ with our food, environment and the earth itself threaten disaster for future generations;

At least most Communists had the good grace to also be Atheists and not throw around phrases like “Playing God”. The safety of a GMO depends on what gene you put into it. Rice engineered to express Vitamin E; good. Rice engineered to express cobra venom; bad. It’s really not that complicated.

We can reduce dramatically the ‘greenhouse effect’ if power stations were to use fluidised bed combustion, together with a combined heat and power system. This would not only combat pollution but more than double the energy efficiency of coal-fired power stations.

You shoud note that according to the DOE doubling the efficiency of coal would make it about as green as burning natural gas. i.e not very. If you are serious about climate change you really want want sources of power that produce no Carbon Dioxide.

European Policies

The Socialist Labour Party is totally committed to complete withdrawal from the European Union, or Common Market as it was originally called. That is the only way Britain can begin to regain control of its economy, sovereignty and its political powers.

As I mentioned earlier nowhere on the SLP site do they even mention that the European elections are happening.

Not Mental

On the basis of their environment and animal welfare pages alone I’m going to have to go with mental.


It’s hard to get past the feeling that this is a vanity exercise for Scargill. The donations of the rank and file pay for Arthur to tour the country giving speeches without the worry of ever having to actually run anything. Shockingly I will not be voting for the SLP.

A Tour of the Minor Parties 2 – No2EU

After yesterday’s poor start I’m hoping that today’s contestants, No2EU, will turn down the crazy.

Web Presence

Not bad actually. Pretty static but it contains links to twitter, their facebook page and a nice little video that summarises their position. Where they fall down is that it’s hard to find out anything substantive about the individual candidates.

After this positive start I discover that the front-man for No2EU is none other than Bob “Tube Strike” Crow of the RMT. Like a lot of people who have had the pleasure of commuting to work on the Tube I would much rather punch Bob Crow in the face than vote for him.

Also the lead candidate in Wales is the head of the Welsh Communist Party. I don’t find that terribly appealing.


As you may have guessed from the name No2EU are not big fans of the European Union. They marshal their arguments into several main themes. The first is that the EU’s commitment to free-trade and free movement of labour will lead to poorer wages and working conditions.

The Single European Market, created by the Tory government with the Single European Act in 1987, creates a pool of working people to be exploited and treated no better than a commodity like a tin of beans. These EU rules allow employers to escape from national collective bargaining and employment legislation and impose lower wages and worse working conditions, creating a “race to the bottom”.

Now I’m quite a big fan of free markets. I believe that liberalising trade and labour are generally more helpful than harmful. So this argument doesn’t really sway me.

After this they try to convince you that the Lisbon Treaty will outlaw the NHS. No really.


See, the thing is that the EU is made up of countries that are almost entirely wedded to the idea of socialised healthcare free at the point of delivery. Can you really see the French buying into that? Or the Swedes? It’s just scaremongering. The real directive as far as I can tell is actually about allowing people to get treatment in other member states than the one they are resident in. The directive can be found here along with a slightly friendlier summary.

One of their other main points (which the articulate well in their video but not on their website) is that the EU Commission (the bit of the EU that proposes legislation) is completely unelected. Now I happen to agree that this is one of the least attractive parts of the EU. I would be much happier with legislation being proposed by an elected body.

Which brings me to “vote for us or the BNP might get in”. I hate it when political parties do this. If you have to bring the BNP into this to get me to vote for you then haven’t done a good enough job of selling your ideas to me.

European Policies

No shortage of EU-specific policies as we have seen.

Not Mental

I disagree with their view of Economics, but they are clearly not crazy.


Their characterisation of the EU Cross-Border Healthcare Directive skates pretty close to being an outright Lie. And while I sympathise with their dislike of some of the less democratic elements of the current EU structure that isn’t enough to make me want to vote for a Communist.

A Tour of the Minor Parties — Welsh Christian Party

The European Elections are ominously close. Like a lot of people I’m finding myself disenchanted with the mainstream political parties. This state of affairs might drive me to abstain where it not for the fact that the European Elections are held under a form of proportional representation. So a vote for a minor party is not necessarily a wasted vote.

If I’m going to consider voting for a minor party then I need a set a criteria that are bit more rigorous than “I don’t like the look of that person”, so let’s see if we can break it down into some catagories.

  1. Decent web presence. Since this will likely be my main source of information about the party it is important. Bonus points for candidates speaking with their own voice. Extra bonus points for actual conversations with voters (comments, twitter, forums etc).
  2. Detailed policy suggestions. One line policies don’t help me much without context.
  3. European Policies. You are running to be an MEP not an MP, act like it.
  4. Not mental. I prefer my politicians to be reality based.

So let’s get this magical merry-go-round started by looking at the Welsh Christian Party. I would take the main party into consideration as well but they appear to have over-run the bandwidth limits on their web hosting. Classy.

Their web-site is simple and direct, but lacking in detail. The thing they seem most worked up about is that most children in Wales are not educated in faith schools. They have short bios of their candidates, but nothing dynamic and I have no idea how they or their candidates feel about recent news items.

The policy section consists of a long list of one-liners many of which are completely impossible to interpret.

4.Reinstatement of Section 2A –end of promotion of homosexuality

To be fair at least they didn’t lead off with the institutionalised homophobia, they waited a whole three policy items before pushing the “culture wars” button.

13.North-South road and rail link

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the middle of Wales has all these mountains in it. Which is why it doesn’t currently have good north-south road and rail links.

17.Renewable energy

What? Are you for it or against it? In either of those cases what are you going to do about it?

21.Parental rights for medical treatment of under 16s

Without context it’s hard to say, but given the tenor of the rest of their site I suspect this is code for “the right to let my child die of a preventable disease because the liberal bias of reality conflicts with my faith”, but I could be wrong.

23.Adoption in heterosexual duel sex families

24. Mandating the use of proof-reading for all policy documents.
Actually what they are talking about is not letting homosexual couples adopt. Hang on a minute how could a heterosexual family be anything other than dual-sex? Perhaps I am being to harsh. Maybe their real beef is with hermaphrodites.

30.No identity cards

Credit where credit is due. I actually agree with them here.

32.Fairer justice system

And I’d like a pet cat that shits Midget Gems. How are you going to achieve this?

To be serious for a moment they don’t appear to have thought through many of these policies. It seems like a fairly eclectic collection of policies designed to appeal to culturally conservative christians. Being neither I don’t find these particularly appealing.

They don’t appear to have any European policies so they don’t score well their either.

It’s also pretty clear that they fail the “not mental” test pretty heavily as well. If the only choices on the ballet were them and the BNP I’d stand for office myself.

Exploding Barrels are Red

If video games have taught me anything it’s that explosive barrels are red, and that all buildings have a liberal supply of them to use as impromptu ammunition against ones enemies. The heating at work has been broken all week, resulting in the following scene.
Exploding Barrels are Red
Well at least we are well stocked for the impending zombie invasion/rift in space-time/teleporter accident.


Or should that be vague plans?

  • Attend FOSDEM. I’ve been incredibly lazy the last few years and haven’t attended.
  • Try to prevent the PET Centre from eating my life. This is probably more of a vain hope than a resolution.
  • Buy a flat or learn to drive. Because unless I make it an either/or I will do neither.
  • Attend the spring UKUUG meeting. Understanding kerberos is probably a worthwhile endeavour even if I never use it.
  • Skate more. Assuming we actually get a summer this year it shouldn’t be to hard to top the dismal amount of skating I did last year.
  • Attend at least one observing night of the Cardiff Astronomical Society to remember what the night sky is supposed to look like.
  • Migrate Peapod to a sensible modern XML library to fix some of its more annoying bugs
  • Make an effort to visit friends. Which is just code for be less of a social hermit.