Worth reading 40: Links begin

And some worth seeing too.

Revealed: How the Yes2AV campaign malfunctioned behind the scenes – These exposés of what happened within the Yes campaign may not make pleasant reading, but they’re essential to avoiding mistakes like this being made in the future.
Left, Right and Centre: A graphic illustration of why these words do not give enough information – Jennie explains why two axes are better than one. It prompted me to take the Political Compass test again (also on Facebook) where my score is economic -6.38, social -7.69 if you’re interested. Not much changed from when I took it eight years ago, so at least I’m consistent.
Girls – it’s all their fault! – Cath Elliott skewers the latest victim-blaming nonsense from Nadine Dorries. (via)
Definitive London Tube map – Probably not of interest to everyone, but a geographically accurate version of the tube map, complete with closed lines and abandoned stations. (via)
25 Abandoned Yugoslavia Monuments that look like they’re from the Future – They’re monuments to World War II, but also symbols of a time when concrete-based brutalism ruled the Earth.

Worth Reading 31: One for every day of the month

And still they come…

The Best Alternative Histories in Literature – A list of 25 from the Abebooks site. The ten of the list I’ve read are good, so I’ll have to start working my way through the rest.
A Truly Fair Tax On Flying – Donald Strachan questions some of the arguments made to support cuts in Air Passenger Duty.
Obscure Blogger Vilifies Johnny Ball? No, Actually – What happens when 80s kids’ TV presenters don’t quite understand how the internet works and then the press don’t bother to check up on what they say. (via)
Electoral reform: why failure will not breed success – Sunny Hundal explains why voting no doesn’t help the cause of further electoral reform, it just strengthens first past the post.
At Last! The Terry Gilliam Interview – Tez Burke gets to interview Terry Gilliam, the lucky sod.

Worth Reading 29: In advance of the leap year

One of these is obviously a day late. Can you guess which?

One genre to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them – There’s been some interesting discussion recently about the claims of literary fiction, and how this one genre dominates media coverage of books and reading. Here’s an interesting take on it all. (via)
Meat Lover! The Scariest (True) NYC Sublet Story You’ve Ever Heard – Does exactly what it says on the headline. Probably not to be read if you’re squeamish, easily offended or are about to eat Chinese food.
One cold may morning in June – Phil Edwards on the difference between Adams and Pratchett.
Ireland and Doctor Who – For St Patrick’s Day, Nicholas Whyte chronicles the connections. “There is occasional confusion about whether Gallifrey might be located in Ireland.”
If Cameron can’t explain AV, his education was wasted – “So for Cameron to blithely claim he is not able to explain AV suggests one of two things to me. Either he is not being honest, or his extremely privileged education was wasted on him.”

You decide: first past the post, or free access to green cheese?

According to sources that I can’t reveal, I can exclusively reveal that should the country vote No in the referendum on 5th May, we will be required to gold-plate every pencil used at polling stations. This will cost something in the region of eleventy squillion pounds, and it’s clear that the country can’t afford this expense at this time, especially when that eleventy squillion pounds could be used to pay for an elevator to the moon.

So, what would you rather spend eleventy squillion pounds on instead of keeping our current electoral system?

(When the director of No2AV feels free to make things up and continually repeat figures that he must know have been proven to be entirely imaginary and unreliable, I feel it’s time to fight nonsense with nonsense.)

No 2 asking your opinion

This is one of those moments you couldn’t make up. The No2AV campaign have put a video up on YouTube that highlights their extremely dubious claim that changing voting systems would cost £250m. After all, the most important factor about democracy is how much it costs.

Of course, as YouTube is an open medium where people can rate and comment on videos, these points have all been… oh, wait, no they haven’t. Turns out our fearless campaigners for traditional British democracy have decided they don’t want anyone pointing out their errors:
Screenshot of No2AV YouTube video with rating and comments disabled
The irony of the people who think our current electoral system is just fine and dandy actively blocking people from engaging with them is just far too delicious, isn’t it? Don’t question the system, just sit back and take it.

Meanwhile, here’s a Yes To Fairer votes video you can rate and comment on:

The referendum issues

Yes, the burning issue here is the old one – is the plural referendums or referenda?

First up, interesting news from Wales where there’ll be a referendum at the start of March on granting new powers to the Welsh Assembly. The interesting part comes from the news that there may be no official referendum campaigns as it seems no one’s that interested in being the official No campaign. This would mean that there would be no official Yes campaign either, but as that’s supported by all four of the parties that sit in the Welsh Assembly, it’s not going to be short of support.

There does appear to be an attempt at a No campaign but – and this may be due to the fact I haven’t had much contact with Welsh politics for almost fifteen years – it doesn’t seem to make much sense, and seems to consist mainly of criticising the politicians rather than the policy.

Meanwhile, back in London, Labour peers in the House of Lords are trying to delay the referendum on AV, which presents the rather bizarre spectacle of them working to delay the implementation of something that was in their manifesto at the last election. I wonder what the Salisbury Convention would have to say about that?

But if anyone wants to see just why negotiations between the Liberal Democrats and Labour in May broke down, this is why. Given the number of Labour dinosaurs opposed to any reform in the voting system – and a Government that spent thirteen years kicking the issue into the long grass – it was obvious that Gordon Brown couldn’t deliver any promises on electoral reform, even before other issues were looked at.