DateWednesday 4 May 2005

Oh yeah, so anyway, here’s where my vote goes

I live in a very solidly Tory constituency (where to make it even more galling the MP doesn’t even vote, because he’s a deputy Speaker). My vote wouldn’t make much difference.

But I think that even if I lived in a marginal, I’d be voting this way, as I will tomorrow: Green.

I’ve not voted Green before, but had the idea planted by George Monbiot, in this article, where he wrote:

If, on the other hand, you were to vote Green, Plaid Cymru, Respect or Scottish Socialist, you would send an unequivocal signal about the kind of politics you are rejecting and the kind of politics you are embracing. The reason is that these parties, as far as Westminster is concerned, inhabit the political margins. It is precisely because none has the slightest chance of running the country that a vote for them is interpreted as a clear expression of intent: your choice must be ideological, rather than tactical. Paradoxically, a vote for a minor party can thus be far more powerful than a vote for a party with an eye on government.

The fact is that green – environmental – issues are the really important ones, and pulling the eyes of the government on Friday around to them is what matters. Think of this (mentioned in the Reith Lectures Wednesday night): airplanes create more greenhouse gases than surface-level transport, yet aircraft fuel is untaxed; we don’t watch how much energy we consume, yet we don’t generate it by environmentally-friendly ways while the French generate 95% of their power from carbon-neutral means, nuclear and hydroelectric (you’d forgotten about hydro-electric, eh? China is big on it).

So voting Green is my way of trying to attract the attention of politicians. The Iraq war would have happened whether Britain had joined in or not; so that’s not an issue. The NHS and hygiene might be changed, but MRSA isn’t actually about cleaning (see this Dutch study reported in the Guardian). There are differences between the parties, but what’s really needed is to grab their necks and wrench them round to look at the long term. Unfortunately at the moment they’re just short-termists, like teenagers unwilling to think about being 20.

Of course, if the Greens start to accumulate power, I’ll be first to the barricades demanding that they embrace nuclear power. But that’s for the future. Hopefully on about May 6 we’ll have an announcement of a new building programme for nuclear stations in the UK.

The hi pri of wi fi; and another Tiger review

In today’s Independent, I’ve written on the reasons why Wi-Fi hotspots still cost so much, even though it’s a mature technology (in internet time) that would surely see a boost by dropping the price. (Clue: it’s one of those economics and ‘captive market’ things.)

I’ve also done another review of Tiger, which makes many of the same points as the Macworld one, but with more comparisons to what’s going on in Windows.

Interesting: we’ve got someone at the office where I work who had a Windows98 laptop and wanted to connect it to the broadband. “Don’t do that!” we almost yelled. “Viruses, worms, untellable evil!”

Upshot: she headed off and bought Windows XP Home (thankfully, with SP2 included) for £99. Now all we need to do is find a way to install an antivirus program on it without putting it online. Seems I’ll be burning a disc pretty soon…

Update: ah, found the well-hidden page for AVGSoft’s antivirus (except it’s the first hit on a Google search for ‘free antivirus’, which must frustrate Grisoft a bit when it wants to sell people the thing).

Extra bit: for OSX Tiger owners, James Duncan Davidson has dug deep in the innards of /System/Library/ to find the Tiger intro movie and intro music that greets you when you install the system. The movie’s very impressive – someone’s bound to put it up soon. And it turns out that you can buy the song from which the intro music is extracted on the iTMS. But how did he find out which it was??