"Google was a word in a dictionary not many people had heard of"
Google was never a word in the dictionary until Google came along as a misspelling of "Googol."
The Internet Archive has launched a campaign against tech regulation by setting up a Wayforward Machine, semi-parodying its famous Wayback Machine archiving site. The Wayforward Machine paints a picture of the internet in 2046 – smeared with censorship, regulation, governmental interference, and more. On typing in any well- …
> Google was never a word in the dictionary until...
In the USA, we knew Google since 1919. Every day in the funny pages. He did lay low when that Search started, but since 2012 makes occasional visits with his horse Sparkplug.
This week Google sent me an email saying they were downgrading my Google login account to "child" with intrinisic restrictions.
"For a more age-appropriate experience, Google has changed some of your settings because you aren't confirmed to be over 18.
If you're 18 or older you can verify your age when you check your settings.
To verify my age I have to give them my credit card details for them to do a nominal validation transfer. The email looks genuine - but I am not touching that verification process with a bargepole.
I'm sorry sir, but first you have to prove you are 18+.
Google have been tracking most of use for over 18 years now. They should know how old we all are. I received an invite to have a gmail account very soon after it entered beta. That is not far off 18 years ago.
It's a Google scam to get personal details. I discovered you can reset the settings Google changed.
Another annoyance is Google locking access if you use a different IP address!
Sign-in attempt was blocked
Someone just used your password to try to sign in to your account. Google blocked them, but you should check what happened.
You can also see security activity at
Another scam is Twitter locking your account for "violations".
But then you have to fill in the privacy stealing & USA Cultural Google captcha and give them a mobile number to receive a code to unlock. However there is a form where you can appeal and then they claim it was an automated software mistake. They never say what was violated and unlock the account without getting a phone number. This will happen multiple times. You only get any email when you start the appeals procedure. Web Forms have to be filled in twice.
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It would have been a joke if it was a far fetched scenario. The problem is that many "outrageous" changes to laws, policy and commerce are more plausible than you'd expect. And that is the real danger here.
Many small changes in the wrong direction will exactly result in the described scenario. One step makes the next step logical/acceptable/plausible from the public and policy maker's perspective. The lobby groups will work overtime and the general public is misled by newspeak. We've already seen a (small) taste of the the unword discussions on the internet.
Social media companies and totalitarian governments represent opposite ends of a spectrum. Sanity lies in a third corner, where nobody gets to suck up anybody else's privacy or call their shots.
Set them at each other's throats and let them knock each other out, I say.
When elections are decided by "first past the post", you can indeed vote against someone. But in many places they have "proportional representation", whereby the voters go through the motions and then the politicians take the real decisions on what sort of carve-up will do for the time being.
We have both systems in the UK. With FPTP for Westminster, a party that two-thirds of the voters oppose can form a government. With a form of Proportional Representation, Single Transferable Vote, used for the devolved assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, you vote for individual candidates. Your idea of the politicians carving things up without regard to the voters sounds like some of the list-based versions of PR. I don't care much for those myself, but they aren't a necessary consequence of PR.
Hello Mr Tory politician. Proportional representation is actually much more democratic than FPTP but I wouldn't expect you to admit that since you would lose elections.
I vote in both types of elections and in 30 years have never, ever voted in or out a government via FPTP. I have however managed to get candidates, parties and even governments I wanted from PR.
PR is the preferred mechanism for would-be elites because it takes power out of the hands of the loathsome vulgar voters and creates a privileged class who can then concentrate on playing political games amongst themselves.
The way the party systems have been hijacked by parasites is bad enough as it is.
Australia's system works quite well. First past the post of a majority (ie, min 50% required), where votes are accumulated via iterative fail-through of a descending-preference list per voter. Has all the uncluttered-mandate advantages of FPTP *and* all the advantages of grey-scale part-representations which are offered in theory by PR but always hijacked in practice.
That's not FPTP.
Australia uses Single Transferable Vote, which is exactly what the OP said they wanted.
It's currently the best voting system we know of, because you can vote the way you get biscuits - my favourite are dark chocolate hobnobs, if I can't have those then dark or milk chocolate digestives. Plain hobnobs will do if there's no chocolate at all.
FPTP forces a two party system where the everyone has to vote against the party they're scared of, never for the representative they actually want.
Depending on how the two parties choose candidates, FPTP means you either end up with the choice between bland and extremist, or two almost indistinguishable forms of bland.
PR in the news today, as a special elite decides who has power in a "democracy":
> PR ... creates a privileged class who can then concentrate on playing political games amongst themselves.
@W.S.Gosset - "PR ... creates a privileged class who can then concentrate on playing political games amongst themselves."
Any kind of party political system does the same, and people have a choice to join the "privileged class" by joining and working within the party of their choice. Where the games go on may change... in the UK, ordinary voters don't choose the Prime Minister. Who stands for a particular party in a constituency may be decided by a small, local party selection committee, or heavily influenced by the central party, either way, the ordinary voter in the constituency doesn't have a say in the candidates offered.
If Germany's system is working, then those games are actually a balancing of power and policies between the different political viewpoints: the voters have allocated power to each of the parties, and the parties are negotiating on behalf of their supporters to get the most important parts of their manifestos implemented.
Allan George Dyer,
I prefer first past the post, but accept and understand it has major flaws. But then so do all political systems. I was starting to waver as in the UK the two big parties were getting a consistently smaller share of the vote - which makes FPP much less legitimate as a system. Since those numbers have gone back up in recent elections, on relatively high turnouts, I'd say I'm still happy to stick with what we've got. As I still think the disadvantages of PR are slightly worse and the downsides of FPP.
in the UK, ordinary voters don't choose the Prime Minister.
Seeing as you're compairing to German, neither do the voters there. Israel were one of the few (only?) countries to directly elect their Prime Ministers, but haven't they stopped?
At least in the UK though, you know who the Prime Ministers are likely to be, because it's a choice of 2 that you know beforehand - and if you voted for a Conservative candidate at the last election you knew that this was more likely to mean Boris Johnson as PM. In the recent election in Germany the polls were pretty close - although I believe it was obvious the Greens had fallen away in the final weeks. But otherwise you were looking at 3 parties on similar percentages, and so had less idea who'd be Chancellor. Also if you're a smaller party voter, you've less idea what effect your vote might have. In the UK voting Lib Dem in a Lib Dem/Conservative marginal is making it less likely that Boris Johnson will become PM. That's an advantage of PR, it's eaiser to vote against a candidate - which I know some pepole don't approve of. But if say you're anti-FDP or don't want die Linke in government - it's much harder to cast your vote accordingly.
Who stands for a particular party in a constituency may be decided by a small, local party selection committee, or heavily influenced by the central party, either way, the ordinary voter in the constituency doesn't have a say in the candidates offered.
That's true in most systems. And PR list systems are much worse for that, because the party hierarchy can put their favourites higher up the list.
However you can join parties to get to choose that. And the Conservatives in the UK have recently experimented with open Primaries for candidate selection. But I'd say this is much more a problem with the existence of political parties, and if the voters don't like the candidates, the obvious solution is to vote for another party until the buggers get the message.
If Germany's system is working, then those games are actually a balancing of power and policies between the different political viewpoints:
This is true. But it is one of the big problems with PR. This is the point where the parties all get together and agree amongst themselves, and there's not a lot the voters can do about it. In first-past-the-post systems - this coalition negotiation has happened more-or-less openly over the last electoral cycle - and each party has published a manifesto to tell you what they've decided. So you've a much better idea of what you're getting - and usually the winning Prime Minister will appoint most of his major shadow-ministers to the jobs they were spokesmen on. So you've even got some idea of what government you're going to get.
So the trade-off is really between the electorate having more of an idea of what government they're going to get under FPP and more power for smaller minority voters (and parties) - but less influence for the voters on the evntual make-up of their government under PR.
I would argue that the two major parties in Germany have been in coalition with each other for far too long, depriving the voters of choice and influence. And I'd suggest the voters agree, in that neither are getting the percentages they achieved 10-20 years ago and before.
@I ain't Spartacus - Nice analysis, have an upvote.
I was mostly arguing against W.S.Gosset's "PR ... creates a privileged class" comment, but they have descended to the level of shitty metaphors so I'll continue a civilised discussion with you.
The biggest flaw of FPP is how it leaves a large %, possibly over 50%, of the voters unrepresented. I don't think this outweighs the advantage of "the electorate having more of an idea of what government they're going to get" because they don't have any influence on the details. Is an elector going to consider, "I'd like X as Prime Minister, and I like most of their likely ministers, except Y, who will probably be Home Secretary, so do I vote for A, in X's party, or their opponent, B, because I really do hate what Y will do." They may have more information about the eventual government makeup, but does it really help their decision?
Some parties experimented with open Primaries in Hong Kong last year... that did not end well.
I haven't looked closely at how the German system is or isn't working, so I'll defer to your conclusion on the major parties coalition. However, I do have a suggestion on How List Proportional Representation by Largest Remainder Fails and how to improve it, based on my observations of Hong Kong's elections up to 2016.
Allan George Dyer,
a civilised discussion with you.
This is the bloody internet! We'll have none of that rubbish around here!
Ya boo sucks to you!
I think you go a bit far into the details of my post. My argument isn't that voters know who the ministers are going to be. I literally thought of that point as I was typing it.
I would rephrase your sentences thusly:
The biggest flaw of FPP is how it leaves a large %, possibly over 50%, of the voters unrepresented.
The biggest flaw of PR is that it over-represents often quite small, minorities of voters.
FPP often leads to over-mighty goverments with too much power to act on too small a support from the voters
PR can lead to gridlock, or small parties having to be bought off with too much, thus over-priviliging their voters as against the majority.
For my final argument, I go back to Germany. This is one of the main reasons I prefer the faults of FPP to those of PR.
The FDP in Germany (Free Democrats), they're an economically liberal party that in Germany are called centre-right in UK terms are about in the centre. They've been in government (mostly with the Union - CDU/CSU) since the war from 1949-56, 1961-66 then 1969-82 in coalition with the SPD and 82-98 back with the Union again. Then 2009-13. So that's 29 continuous years in government and a total of 13 years where they weren't in power between 1946 and the end of the century. They've tended to hover around the 5-10% of the vote mark often not winning any directly elected seats at all, but getting all their seats from the list seats. And yet got to be in government for 41 years of a 54 year period.
Which basically meant that so long as they could keep getting more than 5% of the vote - they had a damned good chance of being in government, and there wasn't much any voter who didn't like their party could do about it.
Not that I have a problem with them or anything, they're just the first example that came to mind. FPP has the advantage that it lets you "kick the bums out". You can vote negatively against a particular party even if voting positively for your chosen party is ineffective. Which does also make the system look worse than it is, because that has voters supporting a major party sometimes not voting for it and thus making its vote percentage look worse than it is. But as soon as both parties can't regularly muster around 40% of the vote, FPP becomes even more unfair and then I'd be forced to support PR.
FPTP is the preferred mechanism for would-be elites because it takes power out of the hands of the loathsome vulgar voters and creates a privileged class who can then concentrate on playing political games amongst themselves. FTFY
Paragraphs that are little more than political sloganeering, like that, are easy to fix :-)
The problem with FPTP is that you can get 100% of the power when the majority of people voted against you, indeed this is how it normally operates. Hence the British Tories got 100% of the power with 44% of the votes.
Proportional representation is not a single defined electoral system, as you seem to imagine, but any electoral system in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. It can be party-lists, single transferable vote, reweighted range voting, sequential proportional approval voting, evaluative proportional representation and so and so on with infinite variety through mixed-member combinations of them.
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