Friday, April 22, 2011

On AV, the monarchy and consitutional reform

tldr: the system is broken, but AV is better than FPTP.

AV is, indeed, a miserable little compromise. The truth is that it may well not make a huge difference to our system. Its possible we might see more coalitions, because the liberal democrats might win more seats, but then again they might well have destroyed themselves as a party by entering into a coalition (more on that in another post I think). It might also see the emergence of some smaller parties- places with strong green representation may end up actually electing one or two representatives.

But heres whats really great about AV, and why you should go for it. You can go into an election booth and vote for the candidate you want to win, with no fears that this will cause the candidate you don't want to win to succeed. You can vote labour/conservative even if they are third, or green even if they are fifth. And, indeed, if you are a big ol' racist you can vote BNP and then switch to a party with electoral hopes. And thats just nice. If you really want no-one other than your chosen candidate to win, you can always put them as your first preference and then no-one else second, but usually we have a ranking of candidates in mind.

To address the no to AV arguments

250 million is, of course, nonsense. It includes the cost of the referendum, and the cost of electronic machines which we won't necessarily need. Its also actually not that much in the grand scheme of things if we get better democracy out of it. Imagine someone campaigning against museum funding by saying its killing babies. Its absurd.

Theres no evidence that the BNP will win under AV, as their campaigning against it might suggest by itself. But even if they did, we have two choices when dealing with extremist parties. Let them run, or ban them. To let them run but then cheat so they don't win is so ridiculously anti-democratic its absurd.

Coalitions are terrible things. Now I know a lot of people hate this coalition, but imagine this govt without the lib dems in it... do we imagine a better government for this country? A fairer and more democratic one? Hmm. Strong govt is not that great a thing, it really isn't, it means bad bills get passed (more on this in my next post)

People get to vote twice. No, no they don't. What happens is I vote labour, you vote conservative. Labour get knocked out, so I vote lib dem... and you vote conservative. So yeah, it just means I'm not ignored, not that you are.

So yeah, vote AV. But do bear in mind that even with the perfect electoral system, our consitution is so utterly fucked up. I shall speak more on this in my next post.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

fixing twilight

[this is a post I wrote absolutely ages ago, but never got round to posting]

Inspired by this I decided to try re-writing Twilight. So my main issue with Twilight is the lack of conflict, and the lack of agency on Bella's part.

The film opens as before, with Bella moving to a part of the country she's never been to before, a dead end town, with an uncommunicative dad. Her conversations with her Dad are stilted and awkward, and she finds herself bored and lonely sitting in her room while her dad watches the game.

She goes to school and finds most of the kids agressive to the new. She has a quick wit and an acid tongue, and while she finds that most of the kids hate her she makes a couple of friends with the dweebier kids. The biggest bullies in the school are the Cullens ('cause vampires always rule the roost), and during one exchange where she makes several vampires wither from sarcasm she sees Edward being noticably amused.

Edward, while a member of the bullying clique, is obviously less enthusiastic about it, and soon seeks out Bella alone. He tells her that he's tired of his siblings attitude, the way they look down on the others, and really admires her. Bella is initially wary, but agrees to go on a date with Edward.

The date goes well, although there are strange incongrituities (he's reluctant to go for food, for example), but then they bump into several of the Cullens. They look actively mad that Edward is with Bella, and make pointed comments. Bella asks whats its about, but he demurs.

The date continues, and goes so well that they end up kissing, at which point Edward loses control, and attacks her. She knocks him back, and runs off scared.

Bella goes away and puts together evidence on whats happened (potentially a nudge from Jacob might help here), and realises what he is. Along the way she also reads that vamps have a sensitivity to loud sounds. She confronts Edward, and a scene somewhat similar to the one in the woods occured, although less stupid. Edward tells her that he is a monster, and shows his strength. He explains that he and the other cullens are not really related, but are vampires who have chosen not to drink human blood. None the less, most of them consider themselves superior to humans. Edward is the only one who thinks of it as a curse- most of the other vampires decided to stop drinking human blood for safety's sake, and still take enjoyment in petty cruelty. He says that despite his attitude, he finds it hard to control himself with her. She tells him she doesn't care, and kisses him. When he is about to lose it (lets say fangs come out), she backs off, gives him a second, and he retains control.

So they go into school hand in hand, as in the film, and this causes a social tidal wave- most of the kids suddenly start treating Bella better, although her friends are a little distant from her, thinking they've lost her. One of the Cullens, lets call her evil Cullen, shows active hostility towards Bella, although some of the others are slightly more sympathetic.

We then have crisis scene, where Bella is on her way home with Edward when evil Cullen appears with a couple of lackeys. She threatens Bella, who responds that they won't attack her, because they don't want trouble with the police- after all, she's the daughter of the police chief. They respond that they won't attack HER, then make off with Edward.

She tries to pursue, but can't keep up with the super fast vampires. She goes home and has mandatory pep talk from her dad, which is also a chance for them to be emotionally reunited. Realising she knows just where the Cullens would go (some snippet of conversation earlier in the film), she pursues them.

Bella appears, finds Edward abandoned on the floor beaten and bloodied. From nowhere the Cullens appear and surround her, saying that they are in the middle of nowhere and the police will never find out what happened. Bella pulls out of her pocket a rape alarm/fog horn and blares away. The vampires stagger back, but are mostly unaffected, and laugh, saying that that is just a stupid story, and move forward to attack. Bella smiles, and says "yeah, well theres one other purpose of producing a loud, wailing noise" at which point the entire police department bursts through the doors. Most of the cullens get away, apart from evil cullen who manages to escape, and promises revenge.

Bella and Edward exhange romantic sweet nothings, with hints of worry for the future. Roll credits.

My main goal while writing this was

a-introduce far more conflict into a slow and turgid film
b-make Bella a far more active character

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