Robert Hampton

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6th May 2015

Ballot Dancer

Note: this post is quite long. I’ve tried to rewrite it a couple of times, and each time it still ends up quite rambling. It doesn’t say all I want to say; for example, it barely mentions the Greens (which I’m not happy about) or UKIP (which I am much less unhappy about). But voting takes place tomorrow, so I’ve more or less run out of time to say anything about the election. On the basis that the text below probably makes about as much sense as any other comment on this unusual and unpredictable election, I’m posting it as-is.

TLDR: Labour aren’t perfect, but Ed Miliband as PM is the best possible outcome.

Opinion polls are rubbish. Seriously.

During this campaign we have seen two or three new opinion polls released each day. Generally, one shows a slight Labour lead, and Labour supporters get excited for a couple of hours, until a different poll comes out showing the Tories a couple of points ahead. Average them all out and both parties are in a dead heat. In fact, the polls have barely moved since the start of the campaign on 30th March.

Politicians are fond of saying that the only poll that matters is the one on election day, and they’re probably right this time. We could easily see a rerun of 1992 when the polling got the election result spectacularly wrong. On the other hand, the polls could be right, and both Labour and the Conservatives could end up more or less level in terms of seats.

(As an aside, my friend Ian Jones’s UK General Election blog is an excellent source for number-crunching and statistics)

In short, we are going into Thursday’s election with no definite idea of what the result will be. Lots of commentators are saying it is the most exciting election in living memory. Yes, it’s exciting – the same way I’d be excited if I didn’t know whether my birthday present was a gold watch or a lump of dog shit. If this election goes the wrong way and the Tories somehow get back in, I think it would be a disaster for the country.

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19th April 2015

24 hour warning
Posted by at 1.59pm | Politics | No responses

I have been following the election campaign, but I’ve also been snowed under with Open University study (note to any potential students: doing three modules at once is not a good idea) so I’ve had little time to blog. The occasional snarky comment on Twitter is the best you can hope for from me at the moment.

It’s a close race. Today, one opinion poll puts Labour three points in front while another puts the Tories four points ahead. Two-and-a-half weeks to go until polling day and it’s all to play for.

Please make sure you are registered. The Government changed the way voters register, which has resulted in an estimated 800,000 people going “missing” from the electoral register. The deadline is TOMORROW (20th April) so it’s important to get it done now. Go to to register. It takes only a few minutes. It helps if you have your NI Number handy, but not necessary.

It’s nonsense to say that “they’re all the same, there’s no point”. Please don’t be seduced by the likes of Russell Brand; failing to vote is not some high-minded protest against a bourgeois elite, it will simply deny you a voice. Spoil your ballot if you must, but at least make the effort to make a mark on the paper. Vote for whoever you like. Vote for UKIP, if you must (please don’t vote UKIP). But please vote.

Here endeth the sermon. I’m off to read some more about Deterministic Turing Machines.

24th March 2015

Help the Raged
Posted by at 11.34pm | Politics | No responses

Grim news today, so to cheer us up, let’s watch David Cameron getting heckled mercilessly by some plucky pensioners at an AgeUK rally:

By 90 seconds in he’s reduced to begging the crowd not to boo. Cameron strikes me as the sort of person who doesn’t like being contradicted and doesn’t quite know how to handle it. No wonder he didn’t want to do the debates.

21st May 2014

The Love Vote

Tomorrow there are European and local elections taking place across the UK. Here follows my usual entreaty to my readers, imploring them to make the effort to go the polling station. I don’t consider military service or standing for the national anthem to be a required civic duty, but voting is definitely something that every adult should do willingly.

Never mind the guff about “fighting two world wars for this freedom” (although that’s certainly worth considering) – when voter apathy sets in, the only winners are the extremist candidates whose supporters always turn up. This is why the North West currently has Nick Griffin as an MEP. This time round, UKIP are hoping to benefit from dissatisfaction with the main parties. While I understand the many issues people have with the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems (especially the Lib Dems), voting for Nigel Farage and his rabble of narrow-minded, ill-disciplined fools is not the answer. Do some research online; examine the candidates standing at the election, find out what they and their parties stand for. In the age of the internet, there’s no excuse for ignorance.

Again (with the caveats above) I say: please go and vote; it’s quick and easy to do and is an essential part of a healthy democracy. As long as you’re on the electoral register, you don’t need the polling card (or any ID at all) to vote. If you’re not sure where your polling station is, contact your local council or see About My Vote for more information.

13th March 2013

Let’s have a heated debate

Sign above a polling station: "Do not sit on the fence"I’m a procrastinator by nature. Back in 2003, I dragged my heels about setting up the blog, and even after the software was installed and ready to go, I didn’t post anything for quite a while. I was eventually persuaded to get my proverbial arse in gear when I realised that I wanted to have my say on the hot topic of the day.

There was a war looming in Iraq, and controversy over the morality and wisdom of invading Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship was raging. What better subject for my second ever blog post, on the second day of the blog?

I’m not one of these people who believe war is always wrong. Similarly I don’t think it’s the solution to every problem. I DO think it should be the last resort, when all sensible diplomatic avenues have been exhausted.

While the UK government always emphasised weapons of mass destruction, the US made no secret of its desire for regime change in Iraq, citing Saddam Hussein’s record of using chemical weapons on his own people. I don’t doubt for a moment that Saddam is evil, but we are setting a dangerous precedent: if you don’t like a government, it’s OK to launch a pre-emptive strike. And if the real reason for invading is out of concern for the Iraqi people, why are we concentrating solely on Iraq and not on the many other dictatorships which are ruled by tyranny and fear?

Looking back ten years later, and I think I was right. The Iraq war was a colossal mistake. Unfortunately no-one in Britain seemed to get punished for it, except the BBC, which got hauled over the coals for reporting the truth.

I haven’t always been so spot on. This post on “chavs” makes me cringe now. What was I thinking?!

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7th November 2012

Barack O’Drama
Posted by at 11.03pm | In the News | No responses

Barack ObamaCongratulations to President Obama, who won a well-deserved victory. It was a close vote in the US, but we can collectively breath a sigh of relief that this intelligent, level-headed, moderately liberal man has been given another four years, and the chance to finish what he started.

Although Obama’s victory is great news generally, it is especially welcome for marriage equality campaigners in the US. The President declared his support for gay marriage back in May, and some commentators were worried that this would damage his chances. In fact, the opposite his true: Obama has been re-elected while his opponent – who made “traditional marriage” a cornerstone of his campaign – has lost.

Elsewhere, four states held referenda on same-sex marriage legislation. For the first time, the electorate voted pro-gay in all four votes. The talking point that marriage equality is not wanted by the public has been demolished, and I suspect that the President’s endorsement has maybe helped change a few peoples’ minds, or nudge undecided voters in the right direction.

I remember waking up on a cold morning in November 2008 and hearing Obama’s victory speech on the radio. I don’t mind admitting I teared up a little bit. I didn’t feel the same euphoria this time around, but the speech he made in the early hours of this morning is definitely worth a watch. Obama is gracious and articulate with a dash of soaring rhetoric – we desperately need a figurehead like this on this side of the Atlantic.

Much as I like Ed Miliband, I can’t imagine him delivering a speech like this.

30th April 2012

Hampo Vlogs: The Liverpool Mayoral Election

Once more I have stared awkwardly at the camera while talking.

30th December 2010

Twenty Ten – again

What a year 2010 was! It had twelve months, each consisting of at least 28 days. On some of those days I made blog entries. Here are the highlights.

I began the year in January fretting about an alleged Crystal Maze remake starring Amanda Holden. This story fortunately turned out to be utter bollocks. Ginger people again proved that (yours truly excepted) they have no sense of humour or perspective. Britain experienced a deluge of snow, and Merseyrail impressed everyone by soldiering on throughout, a feat which they would surely repeat next time we experienced awful weather… right?

I finally joined the Wii owners’ club, just as the console stopped being cool. My rekindled love for video games did not result in me getting rickets. I also celebrated my first Twitterversary and cautiously welcomed the iPad.

I also took time to blog at length about a US comedian no-one has heard of over here, illustrating my post with YouTube clips which have now been removed for copyright infringement.

In more serious matters, the Haiti earthquake occupied people’s thoughts as a humanitarian catastrophe unfolded in the devastated country.

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5th April 2010


I haven’t been blogging much recently. I wish I could say that this was due to me having more important things to do, but that would be completely untrue.

The looming general election might provide some material for me, but at the moment all I have this well-timed demonstration of old-school Tory unpleasantness, so I will leave it at that for now.

Also, you could follow me on Twitter, where I’m posting all sorts of interesting stuff:

Just argued with my sister over whether vegetarians can eat fish. I say they can't, she says they can; but that's because she is WRONG.

15th June 2009


Twitter has been playing a crucial role in Iran, allowing protesters to disseminate information. Simultaneously, other twitterers have been heavily critical of CNN and other news outlets for under-reporting events, using the #cnnfail hashtag.

Surely now is time to say goodbye to the dinosaurs of broadcast television and hello to the new world of Web 2.0! The mainstream media is dead! Long live Twitter! Except…


Oooh. That is… awkward timing.

Update: The downtime has been postponed.