Disappointed with the results

After completing the last entry with the line "disappointed with the results", I realized that I had yet to respond to the failure of the STV referendum in BC. It's been awhile since I was so intensely disappointed by anything in politics. I saw the polls last Monday and I knew it was going to fail. Still, as some folks wondered during the US election last year were, I wondered if the polling were skewed because the polling companies were only calling land lines. I was disappointed to see that they were not.

The FUD density (Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt) in ads like this, which was only aired in the last week before the election, cannily during hockey games, challenged the mass density of lead. And that's without mentioning all the mis-information in its content. Once again, we have to get used to that. And we have to see the changes that we need brought about some other way.

And the FUD wouldn't have been so effective if the times weren't as troubled as they are. The votes for the Liberals, as the votes against STV, were votes for the status quo, for staying the course, for battening down the hatches and hoping we all survive with our houses and families intact. So be it. I guess we'll have to wait this one out for awhile. I wonder when Next Time will be?

"I was not born to be a hero..." but

Has anyone heard what happened this week in Guatemala? "If you're watching this it's because I'm dead" is a great way to start a story or to introduce a major plot twist. It's not often that you see it in reality. Youtube has a number of versions of the two part video from Guatemala that starts that way. But these two have pretty good sub-titles in English right up to the last. The don't have as many explanatory notes going by as some other versions but that's okay. There are others that have been over-dubbed in English. And doubtless, soon, there will be so many versions that nobody will be able to find the one they want without a link (which happened to me by-the-by about another version I wanted to cite here as well, with more background info in sidebars).

"Cry for Guatemala with a corpse at every gate..." Bruce Cockburn sang, back in the 80s, in one of the two or three signature tunes of his that anyone besides Burnheads know. And the crying can continue.

(For anglophones, actually, scanning through Cockburn lyrics of the 80s will get you a mini-education on Latin America and the Caribbean seen through eyes other than those of an American neo-con or a Marxist.)

SeƱor Rosenberg, I salute you. I don't often get the chance to hear the words of heroes as they speak but today I think I did. I hope your death is the beginning, as you hoped, of a new road. If we accept deaths like yours as normal then things will only get worse.

Sr. Rosenberg's death is the kind of thing good lawyering and newspaper reporting should be instrumental in cleaning up and preventing. That's why we have to keep on caring even when we're disappointed with the results.


No to STV?

After some looking around, I finally found a "No to STV" web site when someone at work posted it to an internal bulletin board. I hadn't seen, yet, what the electoral areas proposed under STV were going to be so when there was a link at nostv.ca with that label, I decided to take a look at it and saw what was, in effect, the grossest attempt to mis-inform that I have ever seen. Again and again, the phrase, "but only One Vote per Voter".

Now, admittedly, that phrase is true in substance, but given that each person's vote under STV is a set of preferences, that one vote has a much broader reach than the image that phrase alone conjures up. But it would be seen as patently misleading to anyone who has read the STV materials. Of course there's only one vote per voter but if you get to designate at least as many preferences as there will be sitting members from your district, the phrase "but only One Vote per Voter" in this context is a red herring.

I looked around to see who was endorsing this "No STV" position and among them was Dr. John Redekop, a political science professor whose common sense has impressed me less than his learnedness. My point of closest contact with him was as guest lecturer to an upper-class interdisciplinary course run in 1983/1984 which focused on responding to Marxism. The course felt anachronistic at the time, even though the fall of the Berlin Wall was still five years out. I was only just aware at the time of the democratic movements in Central America that were being demonized as Marxism in disguise and only barely aware, after events in Grenada (for which the available information still looks highly politicized), that the US might be unleashing covert power against them. Days of innocence, indeed. With 26 years of perspective, I now see that the he was essentially carrying water for American Religious Neo-conservatism more than anything else -- and in a course required for graduation, how ethical is that, anyways? Still, I felt myself in the presence of a dinosaur even then.

Looking further at No-STV's pages, there was a link back to the government's referendum office which I tried. It was borked in a way that wasn't immediately obvious, so I was taking that as evidence of further dinosaurism. It actually isn't, though. In this case it's the government's pages that were messed up -- now it looks okay but maybe that's an intelligent cache between hither and yon. I'm confused. This link works and re-writes itself to look like the one posted by No-STV, so that part, as out of touch as it appeared, was really not part of the problem.

Still, if the best opposition they can muster against STV relies on such a serious level of under-information, perhaps this is a referendum on how literate British Columbians are, and not on the merits of STV vs. FPTP at all. The rest of the information is essentially more FUD about how it won't work and it won't be possible to change it back later. Poppycock. If it turns out to be such a bad thing, the government would have to respond to the people's rage in at leats as timely a fashion as it responded to solid interest from four years ago in re-posting the question this year.

How disappointing. I was hoping there'd be something more substantive to understand on the "No" side and not just FUD propaganda.