Showing posts from April, 2010

Election special!

Let me indulge myself for a moment to imagine the best of all possible election outcomes: a hung parliament, leading to a government committed to a referendum on voting reform. In this joyous dream world, we then have to decide what system should be voted on.

It's no use asking the politicians, of course, as they will only support what serves their own interests. The Conservatives support the status quo, as the split in the centre-left vote between Labour and Lib Dems gives them a huge advantage under first past the post (FPTP) rules. Labour, after many years of dithering that happened to coincide with large majorities in parliament, have undergone a deathbed conversion to the Alternative Vote (AV). Believe it or not, Labour would do handsomely out of such a change. The Lib Dems meanwhile support a form of proportional representation called the Single Transferable Vote (STV). The Lib Dems would more than double their seats under such a system.

Fortunately we don't have to ask …

The middle of the film

I was given Michael Palin's first volume of diaries by my father-in-law and admired them so much that I was inspired (not for the first time) to keep a diary myself. I soon realised (not for the first time) that I'm not one of life's diary-keepers. The secret, if Palin is any guide, is to write up your previous day's adventures first thing the following morning. Presumably this requires an engaged brain at an early hour, so there's no hope for me.

I've resisted any urge to try again in the wake of Halfway to Hollywood, Palin's second volume of diaries. This is not a reflection on the book, which is just as admirable as the first volume; quite a surprise considering that the time period covered is, in hindsight, a lull between his great successes as a Python and as a travel documentary maker. Part of the joy is knowing the denouement before the author, the opposite of the normal reading experience.

The title is an accurate summation of the contents. As Pali…