Friday, April 08, 2005

"He isn't John Paul II any more," Leon said. "From now on, he's The Incredible Popeman!".
posted by Mark 2:48 AM

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Okay, so the dust has started to settle a little after the initial announcement of a General Election on May 5th, and I've been looking at what the internet has to offer in the way of information that might be useful in helping choose who (if anyone) gets my vote.

I have never voted before, so this is very much a from-scratch enterprise for me, and I thought I'd share some of the stuff I have found useful.

The first thing I needed was a basic description of how the election works, and I found two; an excellent simple introduction at TeacherNet, and a more detailed explanation at Anything you're not sure about, those guys can put you straight.

Next up, you need to find out who is standing in your area - these are the people you have to choose from. To find them, use this search page.

To find out about your current MP (or anyone else's) and what they have said in Parliament you need TheyWorkForYou, while The Public Whip is more focussed on how MPs have voted. Both are excellent resources for deeper digging.

Channel 4's Factcheck might well be the site you'll need most of all: they look at the things politicians say while campaigning and check them wherever possible to see if they are telling the truth. This is essential stuff, and one of the things I find most lacking in mainstream political coverage. To make an informed choice you need to know who is misleading you, and what about. The "why" you might have to work out for yourself.

There is also the official site: The Electoral Commision is an independent body that was set up by the UK Parliament. These are the guys who register the political parties, monitor their donations and spending, keep an eye on the election, and generally try and make sure everything is fair.

And if all that wasn't enough, Keele University has a very expansive collection of resources, covering all the UK political parties, news, analysis and more. It's a bit like this posting, but with more links and less waffle.

Finally, if you want to be sure your vote counts, don't use postal voting as anything other than a last resort - it isn't safe.
posted by Mark 2:41 PM

Here's beer as you've never seen it before - through a microscope.
posted by Mark 2:38 PM

How to hypnotize a man.
posted by Mark 2:36 PM

In the first of an occasional series in which the greatest recording artists reveal their favourite records, Tom Waits writes about his 20 most cherished albums of all time.
posted by Mark 2:34 PM

The old meets the new: browse and search ceefax online!
posted by Mark 2:25 PM

Chocolate Gods and Goddesses sounded like a grand idea to me, until I realised that the Chocolate Jesus was missing, and there wasn't a Jehovah in sight. So it's only okay to eat other people's Gods, is that it?
posted by Mark 2:22 PM