Mariner Cover Revision

As a part of a redesign of the Mariner (Kindle edition), artist Christopher Hayes has taken his original work and re-jiggered it to work better in thumbnail format. What do folks think?

EDIT: Any now we’ve added a third!

In other news, Eastleigh by-election is taking place. This vote looks to be a disaster for every losing party (aside from UKIP), and not much better for the winner neither. Keep an eye on twitter for cursing well into the night, though I expect many a re-count will be requested.

The Mariner, Hardback Cover

Hardback Cover

Kindle Cover

Alternative New Cover


Grabby-gate. There, I’ve coined it – the Liberal Democrat ‘scandal’ that is tearing the party apart on the eve of the Eastleigh by-election. For those not familiar with the allegations (where have you been?) they are regarding the possible inappropriate behaviour of Lord Rennard. Rumours are flying and a police investigation is underway, and it may well turn out that Rennard was a deviant monster who prowled the halls of Westminster with his flies undone, but for now the accusations seem to be a bit of leg touching and sneaky attempts to lure women to his room after conferences.

Now, of course this is inappropriate, no-one would claim that those in power have any right whatsoever to treat others in this way, but as scandals go it’s hardly cash-for-honours. In fact, the perplexing this about this story is quite how this is all such big news. One wonders if the Lib Dems aren’t victims of a news-cycle so geared up for sex-scandals after the Saville case that they have to run wild with something thoroughly underwhelming. After all, this is the Liberal party; if they weren’t all trying to bonk each other behind closed doors I’d be bloody ashamed of them.

So on top of the Chris Huhne /Vicky Price court case, it is a pretty awful time to be a liberal democrat. Some polls place them in fourth place behind UKIP and it is now law that whenever the word liberal is mentioned in public you have to spit on the ground. Still, it is not as if there is any important vote coming up-

Hey wait a minute!! Isn’t there a marginal lib dem/tory seat up for grabs this week? Oh my goodness, so there is! Well isn’t that a coincidence! If I was paranoid I’d say this rather weak scandal was being ramped up to affect the by-election results, but thankfully I’m not so save your hate mail.

It’s all just a coincidence. A miraculous, perplexing coincidence.

Eastleigh by-election, 2013 Tactical Voting Crib Sheet

Long ago (2011), some concerned citizens got together and tried to change the way we elect our politicians here in the UK. We wanted to switch from the fatally flawed First Past The Post to a more healthy Alternative Vote system in which voters would be free to vote for the candidate that best represented their beliefs.

Alas, it was not to be. So rather than voting because of agreeing with candidates, the voters of Eastleigh will once again be voting based upon whom they hate the most. So, to aid in their bile, I have put together a simple voting crib sheet to help them work out how to really stick it to Miliband/Cameron/Clegg.

Hate: Liberal Democrats (Nick Clegg)
Vote: Labour (John O’Farrell)

Why: Eastleigh is a Lib Dem/Conservative marginal. This means that other parties are unlikely to win and thus the electorate should tactically vote depending upon who they dislike the most out of these two candidates. Voting for Labour would drain the Liberal Democrat vote, sending a message to Nick Clegg that his party has been rejected by the left. Don’t fear, the conservative vote will hold up and the liberal democrats will lose, hitting those pesky lib dems with a double whammy – they lose the seat, and face a resurgent labour party. Clegg will be crying in his soup before the day is out.

Hate: Labour (Ed Miliband)
Vote: Conservative (Maria Hutchings)

Why: If Labour can’t make inroads in the south (even with a charismatic candidate like John O’Farrell), then they have no hope of winning the general election. A victorious conservative party would prove that the electorate was supporting the austerity cuts and all of Ed Balls’ whining was pure poppycock. Osborne would be able to stand up in the commons and say, “Hey, turns out people LOVE cuts. Eat that, Miliband!” Ed will be crying in his porridge before the day is out.

Hate: Conservatives (David Cameron)
Vote: Liberal Democrat (Mike Thornton)

Why: The conservative party have managed to convince themselves that the reason for their poor poll ratings is that they are being watered down by those pesky liberals. When people say, “Boo! No to cuts!” What those Tory back-benchers hear is, “Boo! No to weak-and-restricted- not-going-far-enough cuts!” A victory to their coalition partner (and arch-nemesis) would shut them up good and proper. Why vote Lib Dem rather than Labour? A victory/swing to the Labour party will be dismissed as merely the natural process of a by-election. The Labour party is bound to harvest votes as it is in opposition. Voting Lib Dem sends a strong message it is Conservatives, not government, that is being rejected. Cameron will be sneezing on his eggs benedict before the day is done.

So there you have it, tactical voting in a nutshell. Cynical? That’s First Past The Post for you.