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Cat-Gon Jinn

March 24, 2012
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I was reclining on the couch watching something on TV that I have completely forgotten. So I was wasting my time. My little netbook was closed and on the coffee table, within arm’s reach. When I put it there, it didn’t seem to matter that it was on a slippery plastic folder.

While I was slackjawing before the goggle box the cat appeared. Up she hopped onto the coffee table and then sat upon the netbook, as cats do.

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Qui-Gon, was it his plan to be stabbed in the stomach? Slacker...

The cat sat there looking at me. I looked at the cat. I probably said ‘hello’.

Then the cat leapt for my lap. Launching herself mostly horizontally, a horrible demonstration of action-reaction unfolded before my eyes. As the cat went one way the netbook slipped on its low friction surface, flying off the table the other way.

Purely on instinct my left hand shot out and grabbed the netbook just as it cleared the edge of the table. At the same moment the cat landed on my lap. Then my body caught up with adrenaline and whatnot and my heart started beating again.

I was like Qui-Gon Jinn when he catches the whatever it is that falls off the table in Episode I.

Considering the reckless way I fence, there’s a chance I’ll go out the same way as Qui-Gon too. 


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Let’s Really Have Some Competition!

March 11, 2012
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Currently there’s much talk about slashing business regulation to increase competition. It’s a concept that anyone can see the sense in – if you don’t have to spend money on jumping through hoops then your company can be more competitive.

Competition is a good thing and I’d like to see the parties of the right embrace it even more fully, I’d like them to really liberate the potential of the system and address…

Political Parties

Democracy isn’t as democratic as it should be, there are flies in the ointment and the flies are called political parties. The point of democracy, at its least interactive level, is to be able to influence the political system by casting a vote. However, the candidates on offer who will actually be in a position to affect policy are chosen by powerful political parties, and that normally means just two political parties. A choice of candidates from only two parties represents little choice, especially when the difference between the two parties is much less significant than it should be.

Some might say that this is the fault of the electorate, they could after all vote for a minor party or independent candidates. But to suggest this is to underestimate an important part of human psychology: People like to back winners. At a deep neurological level they don’t want to side with a party they don’t believe can win, hence the polarisation of the majority of votes towards two parties.

Even worse than the abject lack of choice on offer is the fact that no matter who you choose to represent you they (be they a member of the ruling party or the opposition) have a master higher than the electorate. I do not mean god, I mean the party, and in politics the party is god. For anyone who wants to make any kind of difference in the world of politics the only choice they have is to join a successful party, and then do what you’re told.

It’s known if a politician does what their told, and votes the right way by the very simple fact that it’s done in public. The fib to justify this is that it allows the electorate to judge whether their elected representative is voting in their best interest, but the truth is that it allows the party to know how their members vote. Closed ballots were introduced for the public to stop the corrupt from forcing them to vote a certain way, instead the peer pressure was pushed up the line into the peaks of power, which means the corrupt only have to bend the ears of a few, rather than the many. And if a politician doesn’t vote how the party wishes then all that power they derive from being in a party begins to dissolve, their career stalls and they are reminded of their “obligations”.

The obvious solution to the lack of competition in politics is to break up the political parties; they are, after all, only unions of politicians with a common goal, the goal of attaining ultimate power. And it’s clear that the needs and desires of the party will always take precedence over any other master, even the country as a whole will often take a back seat to the success of the party. So abolish political parties and allow the electorate to choose from a wide field of candidates on merit, and not candidates with a party affiliation who will only go on to vote the way the whip tells them to.

In many countries around the world this would require some modification to the political system to accommodate it, but the US seems to have built a system that’s begging to be converted to party free politics, genuinely competitive politics where the only regulation is “no political parties”. In the highest positions of government this system would be extremely easy to implement, especially at the highest level of the White House, where so few of the President’s key personnel are elected officials anyway.


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