Friday, May 07, 2010

Lost votes in the "Home of Democracy"

It seems there have been a number of places where people have been unable to vote yesterday. There have also been some stories of problems with postal ballot papers not showing up. We've been affected in my household. When my wife realised she would be away on business on polling day she applied for me to act as her proxy. She posted the application 1st class on the Thursday when the deadline was the following Tuesday. We subsequently received notification this week that the application was received too late. I suspect that it was delivered by Royal Mail before the deadline, but that due to the volume of applications close to the deadline, it was not actually processed until afterwards. Unfortunately I have no way to prove this, as the form was not sent by recorded mail, but it would be a rare letter that did not manage to travel barely half the width of the city in 4 postal days.

After several successive elections where we've heard much concerned comment about voter apathy and low turnouts, it does seem rather unfortunate that a 100% effort has not been put in to allow those who wish to cast their vote to do so.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Election night TV

Just checking out what time the different results shows start tonight and what's on to keep me occupied before they do. Discovered to my surprise that ITV still do an Election Night show. Thinking about it I probably shouldn't have been surprised, but still, I was.

It led me to wonder why they bother and then to wonder whether ITV had been wondering the same thing. I decided they probably had been, and this in turn led me to imagine the meeting where they discussed the alternatives.

Of course they would have to do something really big to grab the ratings away from BBC and Sky News. The obvious choice would be an after-the-watershed Corrie special like what Hollyoaks sometimes do. Several Rovers regulars haven't been seen for a while. Locals think they heard some of them mention a last minute break and therefore they could be stranded abroad due to the ash cloud. Meanwhile Fred the Butcher's new recipe sausages are flying out of the shop but for some reason Fred is evasive about his "secret ingredient". In the meantime Ken Barlow has parked his Rover 25 at a popular dogging location on a windswept Lancashire moor. Too late, he realises that the sphincter he's enthusiastically rimming belongs to Gail Tilsley. Cue the saxophone. The 2nd half of the episode will be shown 90 minutes later.

Filling the gap we start with the ITV News which leads on how last year's X-Factor finalists voted in Britain's Got Talent. Those that also voted in the General Election tell us how they cast that vote too.

Next up Alastair Stewart would be narrating yet another of those series based on footage from a camera mounted in a police car. Except that he's taken the hump at not getting to do an election show. So Notts County footballer Lee Hughes is doing it instead. Viewers in Scotland will miss this in favour of the first episode of the eagerly awaited 15-part fly-on-the-wall series following Rangers star Kyle Lafferty and his fiancee Tori as they prepare for their wedding. Shoppers at Braehead are outraged as Primark closes for 2 hours to allow Tori a private shopping experience. That bloke off the Postcode Lottery adverts is doing the voiceover.

Corrie fans now only have 16 minutes of adverts and 18 minutes of When Seagulls Attack to sit through before we return to Wetherfield for the exciting denouement.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

End of free "Special Uplifts" - a backwards step?

Many Edinburgers are no doubt unaware that as of April 2010 the council no longer offers a free annual special uplift to every household. All Special Uplifts are now charged at a minimum of £19.99.

While I understand that the council is operating under budgetary contraints I see this move as completely counter-productive. Yes it's true that if you if you are a car-owner and can fit such items in your car you can transport them yourself to the Seafield recycling centre and dispose of them at no charge. But how does this encouragement of unnecessary car journeys tally with the council's Sustainable Transport Plan?

In any case, far too many people are far too lazy to do this. They know fine well that if they simply dump their larger waste items on the street, the council will eventually collect them anyway. Meanwhile we have unslightly piles of old TVs, large cardboard boxes, unwanted sofas etc rotting on our streets for weeks at a time until they get collected.

Is this all in line with the council's much vaunted "Edenburgh" campaign? Is it in any way a desirable situation? I believe the answer is no.