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Fury with MPs is main reason for not voting – poll | Politics | The Guardian

Fury with MPs is main reason for not voting – poll | Politics | The Guardian.

The Houses of Parliament at dusk

The Houses of Parliament at dusk. Rage against politicians is the dominant sentiment across just about every sub-stratum of the electorate. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Nearly half of Britons say they are angry with politics and politicians, according to a Guardian/ICM poll analysing the disconnect between British people and their democracy.

The research, which explores the reasons behind the precipitous drop in voter turnout – particularly among under-30s – finds that it is anger with the political class and broken promises made by high-profile figures that most rile voters, rather than boredom with Westminster.

Asked for the single word best describing “how or what you instinctively feel” about politics and politicians in general, 47% of respondents answered “angry”, against 25% who said they were chiefly “bored”.

Negative sentiments vastly outnumber positive, with only 16% reporting feeling “respectful” towards people doing a difficult job, while a vanishingly small proportion of 2% claim to feel “inspired”.

Graphic: voter apathy, ballot blocksResponding to fears about disengagement by young people from politics, the Tory MP Chloe Smith, a former minister at 31, told the Guardian there was a danger of a political disconnect between young and old, with “generations far apart and not talking to each other”. One of her ministerial briefs included improving voter engagement.

“I think there is an existential problem coming for traditional forms of British democracy, which it is in everyone’s interests, all of us as democrats, to respond to,” she said. “We have to demonstrate what politics is for, why a young person’s individual action in voting matters.”

When Harold Wilson won the 1964 election, more than three quarters of people cast their vote and turnout was roughly equal across the generations. But according to data from Ipsos Mori, at the last election 76% of over-65s were still voting, while only 46% aged 18-24 were going to the ballot box.

Graphic: voter apathy, rageRage is the dominant sentiment across just about every sub-stratum of the electorate, but is especially marked among men, northerners, voters over 45 and the lower DE occupational grade.

Labour voters, too, are disproportionately cross. But supporters of Ukip, the party that put itself on the map in 2013 with big gains in local elections, reflect the mood of the times most intensely: more than two-thirds, 68%, say the thought of politics and politicians makes them more angry than anything else.

Deborah Mattinson, a former pollster to Gordon Brown and now an expert at BritainThinks, believes politicians have not begun to grasp the scale of the problem. “Voter disengagement is getting worse and worse,” she says. “Nobody is really taking it seriously enough.”

Recent high-profile celebrity interventions on the subject have served to underline the growing disconnection. The former England footballer Michael Owen told the Guardian for the paper’s series on voter apathythat he had never voted.

Graphic: voter apathy, power brokersRussell Brand expressed the disaffection of many in October when he told Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight that he had never voted because he “can’t be arsed”, adding later: “The only reason to vote is if the vote represents power or change. I don’t think it does.”

After the interview, which received more than 10m hits on YouTube, Paxman said he understood Brand’s decision, dubbing Westminster politics a “green-bench pantomime … a remote and self-important echo-chamber”.

Reflecting such sentiments, the polling shows that ennui is more marked among the young, rivalling fury as the dominant feeling about politics among voters aged 18-24, who are evenly split 34%-34% between boredom and anger.

Graphic: voter apathy, talkBoredom is marked in one other group, too – those voters of all ages who admit to being unlikely to vote. But even among those who rate their chance of turning out as four or lower on a 10-point scale, the angry marginally outnumber the bored, by 41% to 40%. When asked what puts people off voting, the cause of that anger is the perception that politicians do not keep their promises. Nearly two voters in every three, 64%, nominated the failure of governments to honour their pledges as something that would put them off casting a ballot – higher than any other factor.

In the week that the former Labour minister Denis MacShane was jailed for fraud, the continuing damage done to parliament’s reputation by the expenses scandal of 2009 is also plain – 46% of respondents identify the sense that “MPs are just on the take” as a thought that would discourage them from turning up at the polling station.

Only around a third of potential voters, 34% of the total, say they are put off by careerist candidates who “don’t say what they believe”. Just 26% regard the parties as “so similar that [voting] makes little difference”, and only 25% see the failure of the parties to “represent my mix of views” as a particular problem.

Meanwhile, the mechanics of democracy – the focus of thinktank proposals for automatic postal ballots or weekend voting – emerge as a virtual irrelevance.

Only 2% of the electorate regard the inconvenience of registering and then casting a vote as a reason not to do so, suggesting that proposed measures such as weekend or electronic voting are unlikely to make a big difference to election turnout.

Other findings though suggest that Britons remain convinced that politics matters. An overwhelming 86% told ICM that the “decisions politicians make” are either “very important” or “fairly important” to their own lives, as against just one in ten who said that such choices were “not that” or “not at all” important in day-to-day life. And there is remarkably little difference between voters and non-voters here: even among those unlikely to turn-out some 80% do believe that political choices will affect them.

Furthermore, Britons continue to talk politics regularly. A clear majority of the electorate as a whole, 62% of respondents, claim to discuss “politics or the sort of issues affected by politics” with friends and family at least once every fortnight, and a substantial minority of 29% claims to do so at least “every few days”. Across the population, the pollster estimates an average of 72 political discussions a year. ICM finds somewhat less frequent political discussion among the youth and among likely non-voters, but even among these disaffected groups such conversations will crop up in more weeks than not.

ICM Research interviewed an online sample of 2023 adults aged 18+ online on 20-22 December 2013. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

 

London’s Mayor Says We Should “Thank the Super Rich” – Calls Them “Tax Heroes” and Compares to the “Homeless and Irish Travelers” | A Lightning War for Liberty

London’s Mayor Says We Should “Thank the Super Rich” – Calls Them “Tax Heroes” and Compares to the “Homeless and Irish Travelers” | A Lightning War for Liberty.

If you thought you had seen it all when it comes to sob stories of the “super rich” following the comparison of the criticisms of banker bonuses to the lynching of black people in the south by AIG’s CEO in September, think again. The latest groveling, inane defense of the “super rich” comes from none other than the gatekeeper of the largest oligarch whorehouse on planet earth. The Mayor of London, Mr. Boris Johnson.

Now I warn you, do not read the following Op-Ed on a full stomach. The vapid, nonsensical, Onion-like prose may very well induce fits of nausea and uncontrolled regurgitation. This is quite frankly one of the worst things I have ever read in my life. It echoes like a sort of grandiose ass-kissing ritual one would have encountered in a Middle Age court from an aspiring manservant of the realm, desperately trying to rapidly advance a coupe of notches up the social strata of some decadent feudal kingdom. Simply put, Boris Johnson should be ashamed to show his face in public after writing such disingenuous garbage.

Now for some excerpts from the UK Telegraph:

The great thing about being Mayor of London is you get to meet all sorts. It is my duty to stick up for every put-upon minority in the city – from the homeless to Irish travellers to ex-gang members to disgraced former MPs. After five years of slog, I have a fair idea where everyone is coming from.

But there is one minority that I still behold with a benign bewilderment, and that is the very, very rich. I mean people who have so much money they can fly by private jet, and who have gin palaces moored in Puerto Banus, and who give their kids McLaren supercars for their 18th birthdays and scour the pages of the FT’s “How to Spend It” magazine for jewel-encrusted Cartier collars for their dogs.

I suspect that the answer, as Solon pointed out to Croesus, is not really, frankly; or no happier than the man with just enough to live on. If that is the case, and it really is true that having stupendous sums of money is very far from the same as being happy, then surely we should stop bashing the rich.

So he starts off right away with complete idiocy. Sure, I genuinely agree that having that much money is more of a curse than a blessing, but that doesn’t mean we should stop bashing oligarchs. Not all (but most) oligarch wealth has been created or maintained and coddled via Central Bank policies that favor their class, bailouts and crony capitalist deals. That’s why the rest of us aren’t benefiting from this phantom “economic recovery.” Perhaps he forgot the saying by Honore de Balzac:

“Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.”

Now back to bumbling Boris.

 

Hollande: We won’t allow a nuclear-armed Iran – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Hollande: We won’t allow a nuclear-armed Iran – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

French president tells Israeli MPs that such a situation would be a threat to Israel and a threat to the region.

Last updated: 19 Nov 2013 10:15
Hollande reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution despite Israeli settlement building [AFP]
Francois Hollande, the French president, has told Israeli MPs that his country would not allow Iran to secure a nuclear weapon, saying that such a situation was a threat to Israel and the region.

To loud applause inside the Israeli parliament, Hollande said: “We have nothing against Iran, or its people, but we cannot allow Iran to get nuclear arms as it is a threat to Israel and the region.”

“We will maintain the sanctions as long as we are not certain that Iran has definitively renounced its military programme.”

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Jerusalem, said Hollande’s “words were music to Israeli ears”.

On a future state of Palestine, Hollande told the Israeli parliament that Jerusalem must be the future capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.

“France’s position is known: a negotiated settlement, with the state of  Israel and the state of Palestine both having Jerusalem as capital, coexisting in peace and security,” he said.

Israel seized and occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 war and later illegally annexed it. It views the entire city as its “eternal and indivisible capital”.

He had earlier called for a complete halt to Israel’s illegally building settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

Speaking on his first official visit to the Palestinian territories, Hollande said that settlement construction was problematic for peace negotiations, which have been limping along for more than three months with little sign of progress.

“France demands a full and complete halt to settlement activity,” he said in Ramallah in a joint news conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.

“Settlement activity complicates the negotiations and makes it difficult to achieve a two-state solution,” Hollande said.

Since Israeli and Palestinian negotiators returned to the table at the end of July, Israel has made several announcements of thousands of new settler homes, angering the Palestinian negotiators. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has recently said those activities were to be suspended.

 

Former Labour minister accuses spies of ignoring MPs over surveillance | UK news | The Guardian

Former Labour minister accuses spies of ignoring MPs over surveillance | UK news | The Guardian. (FULL ARTICLE)

A former Labour cabinet minister has warned that GCHQ and Britain’s other intelligence agencies appear to be undertaking mass surveillancewithout parliament’s consent because the coalition failed to get the so-called “snoopers’ charter” passed into law after Liberal Democrat opposition.

Nick Brown, a former chief whip who sat on the parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft communications data bill, said there was an “uncanny” similarity between the GCHQ surveillance programmes exposed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden and proposals in the first part of the bill.

The communications data bill – dubbed the “snoopers’ charter” by critics – would have given GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 much greater powers to gather and save information about people’s internet activities but it was shelved in the spring amid Lib Dem fears that it intruded too much into privacy.

Brown, a Labour MP, said that it “looks very much like this is what is happening anyway, with or without parliament’s consent” under GCHQ’s secret Tempora programme, which was revealed by the Guardian in July in reports based on files leaked by Snowden. Tempora allows GCHQ to harvest, store and analyse millions of phone calls, emails and search engine queries by tapping the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic….

 

The lobbying bill will save corporate PRs but silence the protesters | Polly Toynbee | Comment is free | The Guardian

The lobbying bill will save corporate PRs but silence the protesters | Polly Toynbee | Comment is free | The Guardian.

 

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Canadian MPs Have No Access To Drafts U.S. Pols Can See, NDP Says

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Canadian MPs Have No Access To Drafts U.S. Pols Can See, NDP Says.

 

Nigel Farage Warns “Military Intervention In Syria Could Lead To Something Far Bigger” | Zero Hedge

Nigel Farage Warns “Military Intervention In Syria Could Lead To Something Far Bigger” | Zero Hedge.

 

Shell’s Spill Plans for Arctic Are Upheld by Judge – Bloomberg

Shell’s Spill Plans for Arctic Are Upheld by Judge – Bloomberg.

 

Greece to cut thousands of public sector jobs – Europe – Al Jazeera English

Greece to cut thousands of public sector jobs – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

 

UK denies use of Prism to get around spy laws – Europe – Al Jazeera English

UK denies use of Prism to get around spy laws – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

 

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