Screw your vote. Be influential anyway.

I live in Hornsey and Wood Green, where my vote during the general election was worth the equivalent of 0.309 votes. If I voted three times, I still wouldn’t have as much say over who is in power as if I had voted in Swansea West. That is why I’m not at all surprised that 27% of people who didn’t vote say they didn’t because their vote isn’t worth anything.

Even those that did vote feel that their vote didn’t change much – the vast majority of people did not get what they wanted.

I agree that your vote has very little power. I don’t even care that you decide not to vote because of it – in fact if going to vote is in any way an inconvenience, it’s probably not worth it.

Being disappointed by their vote is where too many people opt out of politics. But the next five years after your vote is when you have the most power. Vastly more than you did in your polling station.

Remember that your MP is just a person, and they respond to lobbying the same way as you do. They will read what you send them, and if you’re persuasive enough they might completely change their mind. Even if they agree with you, you should write to them to say you support them.

MPs hold surgeries too. Although I’ve found it very tricky to attend these, or to even find out when they are, it’s a chunk of time you have with your MP and can tell them about your issues and ask questions.

There are many ways you can get in touch with your MP and try to change or reinforce their views. You just have to do them.

Adam Wagner is just a guy (with a full time job) and he (and a few others) still find time to build the amazing RightsInfo website, which I’m sure has made many MPs learn more about this issue. It’s definitely helped me understand the rights we have under attack at the moment.

Not for nothing, but your MP was once just a person, until they poured their heart into a campaign which got them elected.

Pour your heart into something. Screw your vote.

Some references:

“British Sovereignty”

It’s true, there is one court directly outside of our country’s power.* The European Court of Human Rights. It was created (by the British) because we decided, after a mad man’s government murdered and stole the freedom of millions, that no one country should be able to have that much power again.

Rules were designed, like no man can ever be punished without a trial or no government should be allowed to stop your right to privacy at home. Then we decided that we shouldn’t be our own watchmen. That decision created the ECHR. Each member of the Council of Europe would have a judge to watch over the others, to ensure these new rules were never violated.

Have they over stepped their bounds? No. The Conservative government is telling you this because they think some verdicts weren’t harsh enough, and that some cases put them in too much of a bad light. Both of those are political decisions, by men using the court system to try and get more votes.

That’s the exact reason the Court exists. It’s why we created it.

You’re a human, your mum is a human, and your children are human. Protect them.

Read some of the cases where our courts had to fall back on the European Court of Human Rights in order to keep us civil and free.

50 Stories about the Human Rights Act are doing a series of 50 storing of the Human Rights Act, and European Court of Human Rights, have helped you.

* – FYI: Not that this means we’ve lost all power – British Judges only have to take guidance from the ECHR, and ECHR isn’t a precedent setting court – they can completely ignore them if they like (and they have: ie. prisoners voting).

Why I Care

Those who know me know that I’ve recently become politically impassioned by the ongoing attacks of the Human Rights Act.

I believe this Act forces our government to respect its citizens far more than they would naturally. They know that if they do not then a higher court – one above politics – will demand justice. But that higher court is only accessible by the people most in need with the Human Rights Act.

Without this Act, any who want to be protected will have to fight their case in Strasbourg, thousands odd miles away from their home and family for months at a time.

I’ll be posting more about this in the days and weeks to come, and I hope I can make you understand the importance of the Human Rights Act before it’s too late.

If you want to find out more about your rights click the image below:

What Human Rights Do For Us do a lot of work to help raise awareness, especially through cool graphics like these.

Learn Photography: Playing with aperture

F-stop: f/29. Exposure time: 1/3sec. ISO-125.
F-stop: f/29. Exposure time: 1/3sec. ISO-125.

The photo above was taken with a very high numbered “f-stop”, which apparently is described as a “narrow aperture”. The hole made by the blades through which the camera receives light is small, or narrow. f/29 is quite narrow.

The exposure time was 1/3 of a second, which was noticeably long when I took the photo. I was worried that I’d be too shaky to get a clear photo, but it seems okay. I was in aperture mode on the camera, so the time value was automatically decided for me. It needed to be so long because the amount of light that can get through the narrow slot isn’t enough at shorter periods.

You’ll notice though that the sign is in focus, but you can also see some people in the background. Not clearly, but you can see them. You can contrast this with the following photo I took a moment before.

F-stop: f/5. 1/125 sec. ISO-125.
F-stop: f/5. 1/125 sec. ISO-125.

Here the aperture is much bigger (the hole is wider). You’ll note that you can’t see the people at all in this photograph. They’re just blurs in the background.

Since the sensor can get more light to it through the wide aperture, the shutter doesn’t need to be open for nearly as long. This time the exposure time was much faster. You can see that there’s not a lot of blur in the sign this time, since I didn’t have time to shake the camera.