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.

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.

6th February 2013

Hampo Vlogs: Gay Marriage
Posted by at 11.34pm | Gay, Politics | No responses

Once more, I have stared awkwardly into a camera and edited the results together for your viewing pleasure. Today I tackle the tricky subject of gay marriage with my usual tact and sensitivity.

If you wish to comment, please go to this video’s page on YouTube.

4th February 2013

Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew
Posted by at 8.23pm | Gay, Politics | No responses

One of the few enjoyable moments at my alma mater was the Religious Studies lessons taught by John Pugh. What could have been a dull topic (especially to a young proto-gay leaning towards atheism) was livened up no end by his sense of humour which permeated every lesson. He once set an end-of-year exam consisting of multiple-choice questions, every one of which had a “gag” answer alongside three more serious possibilities (I can’t remember the question, but one of the answers was “Unshaven villains are impersonating priests!”). It’s the only time I’ve ever chuckled during an exam.

Since then, he’s left the world of teaching behind and is now the Liberal Democrat MP for Southport. By all accounts he’s done a decent job (although back in 2004 he said silly things about trains). So, it’s very disappointing to see that he is going to vote against the same-sex marriage bill tomorrow.

He has set out a very detailed argument explaining his opposition. Unfortunately, on closer inspection, he appears to have fallen for many of the talking points that gay marriage opponents have used to try and derail this change in the law.

He states: “The gain made by referring to a legally committed gay relationship as a ‘marriage’ rather than a ‘civil partnership’ strikes me as negligible.” There speaks a married heterosexual who has never had the legitimacy of his relationship questioned by anyone. Full marriage rights, rather than separate-but-not-quite-equal civil partnerships, send out the message that same-sex relationships are valued in exactly the same way as opposite-sex ones. That “negligible” gain will, in fact, be a big step towards full equality.

He thinks marriage should be reserved for “procreation”. Sorry childless couples, you have to get divorced!

He thinks it is a “threat to religious liberty”, despite the existence of protections in the bill (in a letter to the Times, three leading QCs are of the view that the so-called “quadruple lock” cannot be challenged in court).

Worst of all, he trots out the tired argument that it will inevitably lead to polygamous marriage being legalised in the future, similar to what happened in… nowhere.

Pugh concludes by stating that he is “tortured by the thought that I might be on the wrong side of history.” Him and about 142 others, at last count.

5th May 2010

I agree with Nick
Posted by at 1.04pm | Politics | No responses

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, you’ll be aware that there’s an election tomorrow. If you’ve been following the election closely, you may be reaching the stage where you want to live under a rock for a month.

I sent my postal vote on Friday morning, the ballot paper enthusiastically marked for the Liberal Democrats. In the remainder of this post, I am going to set out the reasons why they have earned my vote and also why Labour should not win another term.

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