ewx: (penguin)
Denmark-Germany rail links suspended. We were on that route, taking the ferry at Rødby, not long ago, so I guess we got out of Denmark just in time!
What I don't understand is why the Danes are trying to stop them leaving. Usually I consider it a very bad sign when a government attempts to stop mass departure.
ewx: (penguin)
I spent several hours telling yesterday.
  • The Conservative ground game was a shambles. Early in my morning session the Conservative teller started fretting about his replacement not having shown up; eventually he abandoned his post for a while to retrieve his wife who’d also been telling elsewhere. The story was the same in the afternoon except the gentleman concerned (who had come from south London to help out) didn't have his own transport and had been stuck there all afternoon.
  • Labour were the most in evidence on the streets locally, but (at least based on my own experience) the Lib Dems were most efficient at turning up on time to relieve tellers.
  • Tellers from other parties make good “single-serving friends”. The morning’s Conservative teller had been around the world a bit and was interested to chat to.
  • The polling station staff wouldn't let us into the lobby (unlike in previous years; I think they had a broader interpretation of which bit of the building was technically the polling station). Lots of voters remarked on this sympathetically (to us), especially when it was raining!
ewx: (marvin)

If a user of an ISP tries to visit a website controlled by an identifiable legal person, which does not contain any pornography, but the ISP instead serves them a block page informing them that the website does contain pornography, has the person controlling the website been libeled by the ISP? (All three parties located in the UK.)

(If you think Cameron's latest wheeze won't lead to overblocking then you haven't been paying attention to the existing implementations.)


Mar. 1st, 2013 09:16 am
ewx: (union penguin)
Party 2010 2013
LD 24966 13342
UKIP 1933 11571
Con 21102 10559
Lab 5153 4088
Turnout 53650 41616

Turnout fell by 22%. Labour’s vote fell by 20%, i.e. held up compared to turnout but didn't actually go anywhere. Failing to pick up anti-incumbent protest votes is a bit of a problem for the opposition party.

The CON+UKIP vote fell by only 3%, but went from a 92-8 split to a 48-52 split. (It’s only a guess that it's the same people both times round but I think it’s a fairly plausible one.)

Nigel Farage is plainly onto something with “If the Conservatives hadn't split our vote we would have won” although I cannot help but be reminded of the (probably apocryphal) Enver Hoxha quote: “Never forget that, with China, Albania has a quarter of the world’s population.”

The LD vote fell by nearly 50%. Given the fall in turnout, “half of previous LD voters stayed home” isn’t an implausible interpretation.

ewx: (penguin)
Can we have a referendum on deficit-cutting, too?
ewx: (Default)

Someone on the radio, discussing Twitter abuse cases like this one, seemed to think that the thing that made a message illegal was being “menacing”. But the law is broader than that; from the Malicious Communications Act 1988:

(1) Any person who sends to another person—

(a) a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys—

(i) a message which is indecent or grossly offensive;

(ii) a threat; or

(iii) information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender; or

(b) any article or electronic communication which is, in whole or part, of an indecent or grossly offensive nature,

is guilty of an offence if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should, so far as falling within paragraph (a) or (b) above, cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom he intends that it or its contents or nature should be communicated.

I think that makes quite a lot of online unpleasantness illegal, although you wouldn’t know it from the scanty levels of enforcement.

ewx: (Default)

I recently read Tony Blair’s autobiography. It’s an interesting enough read, but right now it seems worth highlighting a particular passage:

During the IOC preliminary visit to London to assess our bid, Buckingham Palace put on a dinner for the assessment team, whose chief I sat next to. It was only in the course of talking with her that I realised London’s bid had to be about them, not us; or more accurately what we could do to advance the ethos, the spirit, the inner emotions of the Olympic movement, rather than being simply about London, infrastructure, and so on. The IOC were a curious mixture of athletes, business people, royals and the general great and good; but whatever their origins, they were immensely sensitive to the charges that the whole thing had become commercialised and had lost touch with its inner self. They wanted the Olympics to mean something again, a higher and better thing, not just a great moneymaking celebrity fest.

I wonder how their immensely sensitive souls are coping with the nonsense about the Olympic chip monopoly?

ewx: (poll)
[Poll #1790161]

[comments locked due to too much spam]

ewx: (red robot (waving arms))

…and pointed it at no2av.org?

$ whois yes2av.org
NOTICE: Access to .ORG WHOIS information is provided to assist persons in
determining the contents of a domain name registration record in the Public Interest Registry
registry database. The data in this record is provided by Public Interest Registry
for informational purposes only, and Public Interest Registry does not guarantee its
accuracy.  This service is intended only for query-based access.  You agree
that you will use this data only for lawful purposes and that, under no
circumstances will you use this data to: (a) allow, enable, or otherwise
support the transmission by e-mail, telephone, or facsimile of mass
unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations to entities other than
the data recipient's own existing customers; or (b) enable high volume,
automated, electronic processes that send queries or data to the systems of
Registry Operator or any ICANN-Accredited Registrar, except as reasonably
necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations.  All
rights reserved. Public Interest Registry reserves the right to modify these terms at any
time. By submitting this query, you agree to abide by this policy.

Domain ID:D159836964-LROR
Domain Name:YES2AV.ORG
Created On:06-Aug-2010 15:59:56 UTC
Last Updated On:06-Oct-2010 03:47:48 UTC
Expiration Date:06-Aug-2011 15:59:56 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
Registrant ID:tuzeQni18zPa7NOG
Registrant Name:Matthew Elliott
Registrant Organization:Matthew Elliott
Registrant Street1:55 Tufton Street
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:London
Registrant State/Province:London
Registrant Postal Code:SW1P3QL
Registrant Country:GB
Registrant Phone:+44.8453309554
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:admin@no2av.org
Admin ID:tuqKzN2M58tyaurf
Admin Name:Matthew Elliott
Admin Organization:Matthew Elliott
Admin Street1:55 Tufton Street
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:London
Admin State/Province:London
Admin Postal Code:SW1P3QL
Admin Country:GB
Admin Phone:+44.8453309554
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:admin@no2av.org
Tech ID:tuHItVDJqZ4gIyQ7
Tech Name:Matthew Elliott
Tech Organization:Matthew Elliott
Tech Street1:55 Tufton Street
Tech Street2:
Tech Street3:
Tech City:London
Tech State/Province:London
Tech Postal Code:SW1P3QL
Tech Country:GB
Tech Phone:+44.8453309554
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:admin@no2av.org
Name Server:NS.123-REG.CO.UK
Name Server:NS2.123-REG.CO.UK
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:

$ telnet yes2av.org 80
Connected to yes2av.org.
Escape character is '^]'.
GET / HTTP/1.0
Host: yes2av.org

HTTP/1.1 302 Found
Connection: close
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 21:12:06 GMT
Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727
Location: http://www.no2av.org
Cache-Control: private
Content-Length: 0

Connection closed by foreign host.
ewx: (geek)

The official story, to the extent that it’s coherent at all, seems to be that yesterday, EveryDNS.net canceled Wikileaks’ domain name wikileaks.org.

EveryDNS say they told Wikileaks they were doing to do this on Wednesday (1st December). (Obviously I’ve no way to tell if that is true, but it’s not very relevant to the points I want to make. Nor is it relevant whether EveryDNS did this for operational reasons or because they were under some kind of state pressure.) At any rate, the delegation for wikileaks.org still (now) points at EveryDNS’s name servers, and this matches the situation as it was yesterday:

chymax$ dig ns org|grep '^[^;]'
org.			2910	IN	NS	c0.org.afilias-nst.info.
org.			2910	IN	NS	b0.org.afilias-nst.org.
org.			2910	IN	NS	b2.org.afilias-nst.org.
org.			2910	IN	NS	a2.org.afilias-nst.info.
org.			2910	IN	NS	a0.org.afilias-nst.info.
org.			2910	IN	NS	d0.org.afilias-nst.org.
a2.org.afilias-nst.info. 2921	IN	A
a2.org.afilias-nst.info. 2921	IN	AAAA	2001:500:40::1
b2.org.afilias-nst.org.	14502	IN	A
b2.org.afilias-nst.org.	14502	IN	AAAA	2001:500:48::1
c0.org.afilias-nst.info. 2916	IN	A
c0.org.afilias-nst.info. 2916	IN	AAAA	2001:500:b::1
chymax$ dig ns wikileaks.org @|grep '^[^;]'
wikileaks.org.		86400	IN	NS	ns1.everydns.net.
wikileaks.org.		86400	IN	NS	ns2.everydns.net.
wikileaks.org.		86400	IN	NS	ns3.everydns.net.
wikileaks.org.		86400	IN	NS	ns4.everydns.net.

However, they appear to be dropping any requests for wikileaks.org on the floor. (I think really they ought to be sending back a REFUSED response (rcode=5), but that’s just crappy implementation rather than anything sinister.)

chymax$ dig a ns1.everydns.net|grep '^[^;]'
ns1.everydns.net.	2707	IN	A
everydns.net.		2707	IN	NS	ns1.everydns.net.
everydns.net.		2707	IN	NS	ns4.everydns.net.
everydns.net.		2707	IN	NS	ns2.everydns.net.
everydns.net.		2707	IN	NS	ns3.everydns.net.
ns2.everydns.net.	2707	IN	A
ns3.everydns.net.	2707	IN	A
ns4.everydns.net.	2707	IN	A

; <<>> DiG 9.6.0-APPLE-P2 <<>> any wikileaks.org @
;; global options: +cmd
;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached

As well as a lot of people passing IP addresses round Twitter yesterday, wikileaks.ch was suggested as an alternative name. I didn’t keep a record of DNS responses but when I checked yesterday this name was also being served from EveryDNS’s name servers! Later on yesterday they spotted that too and it went the same way as wikileaks.org. The last time I checked, the information returned by whois from nic.ch referred to a different set of name servers but the actual delegation in the DNS still pointed at EveryDNS.

As of today they’ve got wikileaks.ch sorted out:

chymax$ dig ns wikileaks.ch|grep '^[^;]'
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	ns2.swebflex.ch.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	dns.wikileaks.ch.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	dns2.syshack.org.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	ns4.pcdog.ch.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	ns1.buzzernet.net.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	ns1.swebflex.ch.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	ns3.pcdog.ch.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	ns2.pcdog.ch.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	dns1.syshack.org.
wikileaks.ch.		2540	IN	NS	ns1.pcdog.ch.
dns.wikileaks.ch.	2540	IN	A
dns.wikileaks.ch.	2540	IN	A
dns.wikileaks.ch.	2540	IN	A
dns.wikileaks.ch.	2540	IN	A
dns.wikileaks.ch.	2540	IN	A
dns.wikileaks.ch.	2540	IN	A
dns.wikileaks.ch.	2540	IN	A
ns1.buzzernet.net.	9740	IN	A
dns1.syshack.org.	42140	IN	A

The following are completely clear:

  • Wikileaks’ DNS was formerly a single point of failure (EveryDNS) and it failed.
  • Nobody has canceled wikileaks.org. Its DNS provider threw in the towel, that’s all.
  • EveryDNS were no more willing to provide name service for wikileaks.ch than for wikileaks.org and treated it in exactly the same way.
  • wikileaks.ch is now up and running and, at least superficially, more robustly configured than wikileaks.org was.

These things are true but hard to explain:

  • Wikileaks attempted to bring up their new domain using the same single point of failure that had just failed.
  • Wikileaks still have not moved wikileaks.org to their new DNS infrastructure.
ewx: (Default)

According to Theo Paphitis (who I’d never heard of before today):

“So, technically, those of us who have a job and are still in work, and not worried about losing our job, have actually been better off, so he [Lord Young] was technically correct.”

Christopher Hope adds:

“Many grassroots Tories will say Lord Young of Graffham, David Cameron’s enterprise adviser, has resigned for speaking the truth.”

What Lord Young said, according to the Telegraph:

“For the vast majority of people in the country today they have never had it so good ever since this recession — this so-called recession — started, because anybody, most people with a mortgage who were paying a lot of money each month, suddenly started paying very little each month. That could make three, four, five, six hundred pounds a month difference, free of tax.”

NSO reports that 39% of houses are mortgaged in England. That’s not a majority at all, let alone a vast one; the best you could say is perhaps “a substantial minority”. (And for those whose mortgage payments have gone down, the cost of other things has gone up, and in many cases their salary probably hasn’t; for at least some of them the balance may turn out to be negative.) So no, he wasn’t speaking the truth or even something ‘technically correct’; it was a load of nonsense and he and his supporters ought to know better.

(The Telegraph has a more detailed analysis.)

ewx: (Default)

Tory MP tells constituents: “Don’t email me… it’s becoming a real nuisance”

I had a look at 38degrees and they're doing a bit more than “publishing his email address”, in fact one thing I don’t see there is an MPs email address. Rather they have a web form that pre-fills an email message to your MP (looked up by postcode) and sends it.

It looks like this:

Read more... )

The only things I entered were the email address and false name, and my postcode. Everything else is filled in by the website. I didn’t press the Send button l-)

It seems suspiciously like “push a button to spam your MP” to me and as such I can see why he’s pissed off. Perhaps they should instead send him a daily email saying how many people agreed with them (and invite anyone sufficiently motivated to say more than the boilerplate to contact him separately).

Would anyone care to argue that this sort of thing isn’t spam?

ewx: (photos)

[livejournal.com profile] naath made this for the election. I don’t recall what the exact mapping of cakes to parties was.

ewx: (Default)

A few people have expressed the objection to PR that it might lead to BNP MPs (I think twelve is the figure currently being bandied around). Rather than repeat my responses to that each time someone says it:

  1. Some of the BNP votes may be protest votes. The BNP vote might very well turn out to be less in a situation where they might actually get seats.
  2. FPTP doesn’t actually possess some magical anti-BNP property. It just happens not to give them any MPs because of the way their support is currently spread. That situation isn’t guaranteed to persist.
  3. Choosing an electoral system to disadvantage a specific party is fundamentally dishonest. There are lots of better reasons people say they like FPTP, even if they aren’t persuasive to me. (I know this is the Internet and so everyone who disagrees is assumed to be arguing in bad faith, but let’s ignore that for a moment.)
  4. A handful of ineffectual extremist MPs publicly making idiots of themselves is a reasonable price for a fair voting system (whatever you think a fair voting system looks like). I think that as well as being predisposed to ineffectiveness, the other parties would tend to cooperate to deny them any real power (because supporting them would be electoral poison).

Arguably we already have some extremists (of various kinds) in Parliament already, you just don’t find out they’re an extremist until they make a politically unwise outburst.

Is this academic, since the most we’ll get is a referendum on AV (which is electoral reform but isn’t PR)? Maybe, but I think that even a lost referendum would keep the electoral reform debate open in the medium term, so (if extremist support remains near current levels) the point will remain relevant.

I need a politics userpic.

ewx: (Default)
If UKIP merged with the Conservatives:
                                   Party     Votes  Seats
                            Conservative: 11573560    326
                                  Labour:  8583224    242
                        Liberal Democrat:  6806098     50
               Democratic Unionist Party:   168216      8
                 Scottish National Party:   491386      6
                               Sinn Fein:   171942      5
                             Plaid Cymru:   163196      3
        Social Democratic & Labour Party:   110970      3
                             Independent:   140537      1
                          Alliance Party:    42762      1
                                   Green:   285616      1
                                 Speaker:    22860      1

So there you go. If it weren’t for UKIP, looks like the Conservatives might have a (tiny) majority.

Where I got my data from.

ewx: (Default)

Political divides in the UK; a document possibly already familiar to many readers, but of renewed relevance.

To my mind it implies that the “LDs give up and join Labour” scenario discussed in my previous posting isn’t quite as unlikely as all that: the graphs on pages 18 and 25 show substantial overlap between Labour and LD supporters on the two main axes they identify.

The other thing I’d forgotten about that survey was the implication that UKIP supporters are disaffected centrist Conservatives. Sadly the script I was using is inaccessibly located on a laptop right now but this evening I shall work out what difference UKIP throwing in their lot with the Conservatives might have made.

What if…

May. 8th, 2010 11:26 pm
ewx: (Default)

I’d been wondering about this. What if the LDs found they just couldn’t get PR, gave up the whole third-party thing as a bad job, and merged with the Labour party? Well, on this election’s numbers:

                                   Party     Votes  Seats
                                  Labour: 15389322    433
                            Conservative: 10658048    189
               Democratic Unionist Party:   168216      8
                 Scottish National Party:   491386      5
                               Sinn Fein:   171942      5
        Social Democratic & Labour Party:   110970      3
                             Plaid Cymru:   163196      1
                             Independent:   140537      1
                          Alliance Party:    42762      1
                                 Speaker:    22860      1

The outcome is even more extreme if they merged with the Conservatives instead:

                                   Party     Votes  Seats
                            Conservative: 17464146    483
                                  Labour:  8583224    140
               Democratic Unionist Party:   168216      8
                               Sinn Fein:   171942      5
                             Plaid Cymru:   163196      3
        Social Democratic & Labour Party:   110970      3
                 Scottish National Party:   491386      2
                             Independent:   140537      1
                          Alliance Party:    42762      1
                                 Speaker:    22860      1

The actual outcome in the same format, just for completeness:

                                   Party     Votes  Seats
                            Conservative: 10658048    305
                                  Labour:  8583224    257
                        Liberal Democrat:  6806098     56
               Democratic Unionist Party:   168216      8
                 Scottish National Party:   491386      6
                               Sinn Fein:   171942      5
                             Plaid Cymru:   163196      3
        Social Democratic & Labour Party:   110970      3
                             Independent:   140537      1
                          Alliance Party:    42762      1
                                   Green:   285616      1
                                 Speaker:    22860      1

(In each case only parties winning at least one seat are shown. Errors and omissions (such as Thirsk & Malton) excepted.)

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