I've moved...

I finally got sick of blogger and have moved this blog to:

See my post - A better way to blog - which explains the shift.

You can manage the privacy of your status updates

Facebook are fucking with me. They might be fucking with you too.

I take care to go through all my facebook settings thoroughly every few months and check that nothing has changed that I didn't expect. I have a private page, visible to friends. Most of my posts are visible to a custom group (friends, except some selected individuals). My default settings apply the custom group visibility to anything that I post, and I change it manually for individual posts if I want to.

Or at least, the default settings used to apply.

As it turns out, ever since I switched to the new 'timeline' profile, facebook has been posting all of my status updates, links, etc as "public" instead of "custom":

As soon as I noticed this, I went to my privacy settings to see what had changed:

Nothing had changed. As you can see, the default setting was still friends, with some exceptions.

I closed that window and went back to the homepage to check I wasn't imagining things. The status update window still showed "public" as the default setting.

I wasn't until I went back to my privacy settings, and clicked "save changes" (even though I hadn't changed anything), that my default setting changed back to what it should have been all along:

Now this might seem like a petty complaint, but I don't think it is.

When people start slagging off facebook for being evil and tricking people into sharing things that they don't want to share, I defend it. I say that sharing is the price that you pay for a free service, and that it's the responsibility of the user to set the parameters that they're comfortable with. When people argue that it's all too complicated, I tell them to suck it up or just stop using facebook.

What has happened here isn't a failure on my part to go through the available settings and make sure I knew what I was getting myself in for. I did all that. As you can see, facebook was well aware of my custom sharing settings. They simply chose not to apply them.

Depending on how cynical you are, you could blame this on a bug with the profile changes; or a deliberate act designed to look like an innocent bug. Either way, it doesn't do facebook's credibility and trust levels much good.

For the first time in history

The Law Commission has a new Issues Paper out The News Media Meets 'New Media': Rights, Responsibilities and Regulation in the Digital Age – dealing with regulation of news media and 'new media' publishers, as well as related legal restrictions on freedom of speech. The impetus for the report is the increasing significance of the Internet in the media landscape, and the disruptive changes that have occurred as a result.

In Chapter 1 – The Context of Our Review – at [1.17], the Commission quotes the following passage from Don Tapscott:

[t]he Internet is changing every institution in society. It enables new approaches to innovation, requiring new thinking about patents and copyright. It renders old institutions naked, requiring more transparency on the part of governments and corporations. It disrupts old models of learning and pedagogy demanding a [changed] relationship between students and teachers in the learning process. It offers new models of democracy based on a culture of public discourse, in turn compelling old style politicians to engage their citizens. It turns intellectual property into bits, that don't know the old rules that governed [how] atoms behave. It drops the transaction cost of dissent, subjecting dictators and tyrants to the power of mass participation. It breaks down national boundaries and [requires] a rethinking of how peoples everywhere can cooperate to solve global problems. And, for the first time in history, children are an authority on the most important innovation changing every institution in society.
(emphasis added)

There has been a lot of discussion both before and after the election on November 26 about voter apathy and the potential benefits of teaching 'civics' in schools.

While I agree that we should be teaching something along the lines of 'civics' in schools (probably during years 7 and 8, in my opinion), I don't think it's necessarily incumbent on the Government to act before anyone else does.

By my understanding, one of the arguments put forward in favour of the introduction of NCEA back in the early 2000s was the added flexibility that it offered. Particularly in the area of internal assessment, students were to be tested against 'standards' rather than ranked according to their individual 'knowledge'. But I might be wrong about that.

Anyway, it seems to me that there must be scope in the curriculum of either English or (shudder) Media Studies for students to have their say on issues like this and gain some credit for it. If, as Tapscott claims, children are indeed an authority on the Internet and if, as the Commission suggests, the Internet  is such a disruptive force in the news media environment and if, as the Commission also suggests, "a free press is critical to a democracy" (9, [37]), then I, were I a teacher in one of those subjects, would be trying to find a way to help my students have their voices heard. I would also come up with a much better way of structuring that truly hideous sentence.

From memory there is an internal achievement standard in Level 1 English that requires students to complete some sort of formal non-fiction writing. I imagine the marking criteria contain words like structure, argument, introduction, conclusion, vocabulary, and others. All of which are things that would probably be amply demonstrated in a submission to a Law Commission Issues Paper. It helps that the Commission even provide an example structure in their call for submissions.

I'm sure more knowledgeable and less idealistic individuals than myself will be able to point out the multitude of reasons why I'm living in a dream here. But it's a nice dream, so leave me be.


The Law Commission paper is available from their website at:

They footnote the Tapscott quotation as:
Don Tapscott "G8 and the Internet: Sarkozy Messes With a Good Thing" Huffington Post (United States, 27 May 2011) < >.

Come add your voice to ours

This is yet another post about Occupy Auckland. Sorry for those who are sick of this, but there just isn't much else going on lately.

This post is probably going to offend some people. I'm going to say some fairly critical things about some aspects of the way Occupy Auckland is run. Hopefully people will be able to look beyond that though and take something constructive out of this.

I want to talk for a while about the way that Occupy Auckland have run their media activities. By "media", I mean things like press releases, their website, their facebook and twitter accounts, live streams, youtube videos, and interaction with the mainstream media.

I'm sure people are going to question my standing to criticise, considering that I'm not a part of the movement. But it is exactly that fact that makes me eminently qualified to criticise. It is people like me, who sympathise with many of the issues that the Occupy movement is seeking to address - and are prepared to go looking for information and ways to contribute - who the movement should be reaching out to. If I feel like the movement have failed then, with respect, they have.

There have been complaints emerging from some members of Occupy Auckland this morning around a feeling that the mainstream media are "blacking out" the movement, specifically their "Declaration of Occupation." There is a proposal going around to the effect that, in response to being ignored by the mainstream media, members of Occupy Auckland should start ignoring the media. There is a belief by those proposing this idea that this will somehow cause the mainstream media to come running back, begging for "exclusives".

I, rather unwisely, jumped into this discussion on the email group. I take some support from the fact that, at the same time as me, someone with much more authority to have an opinion was making pretty much the same points as I was.

I said at the start that I was probably going to offend some people. This is where that kicks off.

The suggestion that the media are going to be falling over themselves to have a "relationship" with the protesters as a result of this ridiculous "media strike" action is arrogant in the extreme. Whatever certain members of the Occupy Auckland movement may think, the mainstream media are not under any obligation to devote time and effort to reporting on the issues that the protesters would like them to. As Chris Glen said in the email discussion that's just occurred, the media "don't make news only report it."

If there's anyone left who isn't thoroughly offended by now, then this next bit should do the trick.

Cross-posting links from other Occupy movements on facebook and twitter and running the occasional livestream that nobody watches is not going to cut it if Occupy Auckland want to be serious about their media engagement. Even worse is when the small number of genuine attempts at producing media are as childish and unbalanced as this one:

Building a relationship with the mainstream media requires a bit of hard work, and the accumulation of credibility. We all know that the media in New Zealand are under-resourced and lazy. So the solution to this is to make it easy for them. The single most effective way of getting into the news is to produce regular, well-written and media-friendly press releases.

Reporters don't want to have to go to all the effort of coming down to the camp, interviewing people, finding out what you're up to, following you around when you go on marches, getting photos and interviewing more people. You can do all of that for them. All it takes is some decent press releases. Now I don't have any qualification in media or communications, but it seems to me that the obvious elements that you need for a decent press release are:
  • A good title.
  • Factual background information.
  • Factual account of the event being reported on.
  • Quotes from named sources about what happened.
  • Opinion about what was achieved.
  • Contact information for further information.
  • Ideally some high-quality pictures that you don't mind being used.

A perfect example of this sort of opportunity being missed is the recent activities with community gardens. From what I heard at the General Assembly on Wednesday, these were a huge success. They're exactly the kind of coverage that the movement should be generating if they want to get the general public on side. They're the kinds of stories that provide the balance to counter ones about the movement being "hijacked by rival agendas" and sexual assault claims.

The other thing to consider with this approach to generating positive media is that you have to build up credibility. What you're basically asking the mainstream media to do is to copy-paste your press release onto their website, with a minimal amount of additional reporting and comment. They'll only do that if they have some confidence that the story you're telling is a genuine one. Credibility is drastically undermined by silly statements like the facebook post pictured above.

The second part of fostering a good relationship with the mainstream media is establishing a reliable contact process for reporters to get in touch with you. On the rare occasion that someone from the media actually wants to write a proper story about the movement, you should make it as easy as possible for them to do that. At the moment, when you click on the "contact" tab on the Occupy Auckland website, this is what you see:

News cycles run quickly. Reporters don't have time for email contact forms. They want a name and a mobile number, and they want to know that the person on the other end is going to pick up when they call. You should have a list of contact people, along with their areas of interest, and email and mobile contact information all listed on the webpage.

Most organisations understand that mainstream media requests for comment are free publicity and do their best to make life easy for the media. For example, here's a small part of the media contact page for Auckland University, which is exactly two mouse-clicks from their homepage:

So those are the basics that I think the movement is missing at the moment. But there's a lot more that should be going on. As I've said before, the only power that the Occupy movement has is its ability to influence a wider discourse about the kind of society that the people want to live in. The only way you influence discourse is by getting people talking. The only way you get people talking is by giving theme something to talk about.

That means creating content.

There's some content that the movement already has, but is not using. Minutes from General Assemblies aren't available online. Notes from Learn@OccupyAuckland sessions aren't anywhere to be found. Key policies (like Safer Spaces) aren't available online. Making this sort of content more available would benefit members of the movement, as well as other interested people. It's those "other interested people" who are the ones with the potential to spread your discourse.

To put a real-world example on that point, it's people like me who would make use of that sort of information and help to spread it around. It's a lot easier to write a blog, have a facebook discussion, or post stuff to twitter if you have some concrete online resources to work with.

There's other easy ways that you can be creating content, and it doesn't all have to fall on the media team.

I imagine many members of Occupy Auckland are fairly familiar with the Green Party. Now I'm not suggesting that Occupy Auckland is equivalent to a political party, but obviously there are some things that can be learned from those organisations when it comes to communication. The Greens run a blog on their website called frogblog (Labour have one too, which is very similar):

It's a place where their MPs can talk about issues that they're particularly interested in, and people can comment and contribute to the discussion. Contributors put their name to their posts, and it's understood that content posted isn't necessarily official Green Party policy (though of course it would be expected to conform to the general principles of the Greens).

A similar sort of system might work for Occupy Auckland. I would suggest that, because the range of opinions present in the Occupy movement are varied, some sort of moderation system would be needed. But that shouldn't be too difficult.

Finally, as well as creating your own content, there's a lot more scope for aggregating content that already exists. I realise that this is already happening to some extent on the facebook page, but facebook is much more suited to discussion than aggregation. Because it's so open and there are so many posts, nothing stays visible for very long.

Last night, when I was putting together a collection of videos of Occupy Melbourne, I had a look on their website and found this page:

Obviously there's more that could be done with that, but the important thing is that the information I was looking for was there. It was reasonably well categorised, and I didn't have to go searching around youtube to try and find it.

A great example of content aggregation done well is the New Zealand website The Standard:

According to the small print at the bottom of the page, The Standard is powered by WordPress. So I imagine it's probably a very simple system to use. Systems like this allow you to combine your own content (all the stuff I was talking about above), with other peoples' content from all over the web (youtube videos, favourable news stories, interesting blog posts, NGO reports, etc). It's all about bringing information together into one place to make it easy for people to engage with.

While I've been putting this post together, the email discussion I referred to earlier has continued. Linda, who started it off, has said that she's "not prepared to say that our current media team has failed." I agree. I don't think that what I've been talking about can all be laid at the feet of the media team. Rather, it's one respect in which the entire group has failed.

For a movement which (I think) should be focused solely on influencing discourse, the neglect that media engagement has faced is a reflection of the confused priorities and conflicting distractions that the movement has suffered from. The measure of success of this movement is the extent of the conversation that is generates. It is only through media, mainstream and otherwise, that that conversation is going to take place.

Delivering a Safer Victoria

After spending all day in court for Auckland Council v Occupy Auckland CIV-2011-004-2497, I feel like I want to try and keep the discussion around #Occupy going. But I'm bloody tired.

So here's an idea... I'll tell a story using video. It's a story about Occupy Melbourne.

The Melbourne occupation started on October 15 – the same day as Occupy Auckland – the Global Day of Action:

That video shows a very similar story to what we've seen in Auckland and around the world.

On October 21, the Melbourne Police moved in:

Not to be defeated, a small group of the Occupiers found a novel way to continue to push their message, without setting up camp. This video from December 3:

That video made its way around the world. When I first saw it, it put a smile on my face. Say what you will about the Occupy movement, that was just a good laugh. Unfortunately someone had to be the butt of the joke, and here it was the Melbourne Police and the local authority.

As it turns out, they don't take a joke very well. This video from December 5:

I have no fucking words.

In any kind and in any form

Tomorrow morning Occupy Auckland go to court to defend Auckland Council's application for an injunction forcing them to leave Aotea Square. I was going to post a more detailed summary of the relevant law involved, but I really can't be bothered right now. I might get around to it sometime in the next few days, but for now, here's a prediction.

Ultimately, the argument is going to boil down to one around s 5 of the Bill of Rights Act 1990, which says:

5 Justified limitations
Subject to section 4 of this Bill of Rights, the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights may be subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

The two most obvious freedoms that the Occupiers are going to allege have been breached are those in ss 14 and 16 of the Act:

14 Freedom of expression
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and opinions in any kind and in any form.
16 Freedom of peaceful assembly
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

They might also make a case based on s 21 of the Human Rights Act 1993, via s 19 of the Bill of Rights. The two sections are:

21 Prohibited grounds of discrimination
(j) Political opinion, which includes the lack of a particular political opinion or any political opinion:

19 Freedom from discrimination
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of discrimination in the Human Rights Act 1993.

I doubt they'll get very far on the s 19 (discrimination) argument, simply because I can't really see how they've been discriminated against. I also can't see them having much luck with s 16 (peaceful assembly) because what they're doing goes quite a long way beyond simply assembling.

The one that I think they will end up hanging their hat on is s 14 (freedom of expression). If I'm right, and this is what it comes down to, then they're going to have to come up with a pretty strong narrative to explain why occupation is a form of expression.

Because the matter is sub judice I'm not going to mention the argument that I would make in support of that assertion, but I will be interested over the next two days to hear how, or if, the defence manages it. I believe that it's an argument that can be made, and I think their success (both legal and otherwise) depends on it.

Vote as if you'd still be proud of it in three years time.

The first time I voted was in 2008. I was 20 years old. I gave my party vote to Labour and my electorate vote to Dr Wayne Mapp (National). I wasn't proud of either of those choices at the time, and I'm not proud of them now. I voted for Labour because they were promising universal student allowances, and I voted for Dr Mapp because I thought that regulations about energy saving lightbulbs and low-flow shower heads were the straw that broke the camel's back.

I voted (in advance) this afternoon, and this time I'm going to be proud of the vote that I cast. I'm one of those people who think that everyone has a social obligation to inform themselves of at least a few basic issues in an election campaign and vote accordingly. I think the strength of any democracy is measured by the participation of its citizens, and that the choice not to vote is a selfish one.

So this election I gave my party vote to the Greens, and my electorate vote to Ben Clark (Labour). In the referendum I ticked the box to keep MMP, and voted for STV as the best alternative. Here's why:

National are going to win the election. But that doesn't mean there's no point voting for the other side. For a start, we need to do what we can to prevent them winning an outright majority that would allow them to govern alone. No party has won more than 50% of the vote in New Zealand since 1951. No party has won more than 50% of the seats in Parliament under MMP in either New Zealand or Germany ever. For the past three years, National have been a party of moderation. Returned for a second term with an outright majority, an empowered National Party will not be so cautious.

Labour are going to lose the election, but they will eventually recover. They will get at least 25% of the vote this time around. They'll be back in force in either 2014 (hopefully) or 2017 at the latest.

The Greens are in a much less certain position. Though they have now reached "medium party" status, unlike Labour they are not yet an enduring force in New Zealand politics. The extra MPs that they will bring into Parliament on the back of a strong 12-14% result in this election will give them three years to solidify their position as the legitimate third party that they are.

ACT and New Zealand First won't be back after Saturday. John Banks is going to lose Epsom, and take ACT down with him. New Zealand First won't quite reach the 5% threshold, which will lead to a substantial wasted vote (a result that favours National). Voting for either of them is a lost cause. Even if it's not, it's still a bloody stupid idea.

The Greens won't support a National Government either through a formal coalition, confidence and supply, or abstention agreement. Never mind all this "highly unlikely" waffle, it simply won't happen.

I don't trust National. I don't think they have exhibited much in the way of principled integrity in the last three years, and I've seen nothing in the campaign to suggest that's going to change in the near future. A few months ago, while they were trying to press through retrospective surveillance legislation under urgency, their line was 'if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear'. Last week, when John Key was secretly recorded in a public cafe talking politics with John Banks, suddenly (allegedly) illegal surveillance was all about 'principle'. The hypocrisy makes me sick.

National don't trust anyone else. Simon Power's reforms of the criminal justice system stem from a distrust of the judiciary and the legal profession. National Standards for schools are about denying the autonomy of teachers and industrialising the education system. Payment cards for youth beneficiaries are a populist attack on the dignity of a small group of disadvantaged youth. Sending DPB mums back to work after a year says that private childcare facilities are better for kids than their own mothers.

I think we should keep our state assets. Not because the world will come crashing down if 49% of four SOEs are sold, but because it just makes more sense to keep them. The argument for selling them is not convincing, and I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that the sale will actually be anywhere near as successful at National seem to think (they have denied OIA requests to release advice explaining the $5-7b figure that they're talking about).

I think agriculture needs to be brought into the ETS sooner rather than later, because it is only through the financial pressure that an ETS will impose that scientific developments in the field of animal emissions will accelerate. On the same point, I think we need to be doing a lot more to encourage research and development, and the reinstatement of the R & D Tax Credit will help.

I think education is about more than skills training and that it has a variety of wider benefits to society. That's why I think that increasing funding for community education will be good for communities. Even if the courses taught don't contribute to marketable skills, they are an important way of improving community engagement and helping people get involved in their local communities.

I think we put too much pressure on school leavers to go to university and get degrees that they don't need. We need to be putting more effort into creating clear pathways for school leavers to go into employment and skills training - Labour's dole for apprenticeships plan is a part of this, and is a clever example of how policy and markets can work together to improve outcomes for people.

I think taking GST off fresh fruit and vegetables is an unnecessary complication of the tax system, but that making a portion of income universally tax-free is a great way to give a boost to low income earners without encouraging negative sentiment from higher income earners. Labour are proposing that the first $5,000 should be tax-free (in conjunction with the GST exemption); the Greens are proposing $10,000 (not sure about their position on GST).

I think the tax base needs to be broadened and modified so it doesn't incentivise investment in unproductive assets like housing. Labour and the Greens both have Capital Gains Tax policies that exclude the family home which will go some way towards broadening the tax base, but probably not do all that much to change investment incentives. I think we need a Comprehensive Capital Tax, but at least a CGT is something.

I think that "open government" should be a much bigger issue. National don't have a policy on this. Labour's is uninspiring. The Greens' is better, but still could go further. In the age of the internet, Government information should be much more accessible than it is. We need to be looking at new ways of encouraging citizen involvement in the democratic and legislative process.

I think the top personal tax rate, the trust rate, and the company rate should all be the same, and they should be higher. Under National, the top personal rate was dropped to 30% to align with the trust rate. The company rate falls to 28% next year. Labour are proposing a 39% rate for income over $150,000, but as far as I've heard aren't planning to change the trust or company rates. I'm not sure where the Greens are on this. The point is that, fundamentally, Labour and the Greens support higher taxes and more distributed income - I think these are ideals that our country long ago learned were desirable, but that we have forgotten them.

I don't believe in universal equality, but I do believe in a minimum standard of dignified existence for all people. I think the neoliberal experiment has failed and that the sooner we return to a sensible system of compassionate capitalism the sooner we can start to mend the wounds left by 30 lost years. Other than Mana, I think the Greens are the strongest advocates of minimum living standards. Their home insulation programme is one small example.

I believe that children are not only the future, but the present as well. I think Labour are strong supporters of children, but that their commitment to their working-class base prevents them making children's interests as much of a priority as they need to be. The Greens have a plan to bring 100,000 children out of poverty in three years. There is no higher priority.

Everyone has an ideological position on welfare, and mine lies on the left. I don't believe that the majority of beneficiaries are in that position by choice. I don't believe in punishing children for the mistakes or circumstances of their parents. I think overly targeted welfare programmes will inevitably create cracks through which people will fall. If we are going to make sure the social safety net catches everyone, then we are going to have to accept some level of wastage.

If you accept, as I do, that most beneficiaries would rather be in work and contributing to society, then it follows that the single biggest thing you can do to reduce beneficiary numbers is to create jobs and assist beneficiaries into them. It is not only stupid, but cruel and heartless to kick people off benefits when there are no jobs for them to move into.

I could go on, but I think that explains well enough why I support Labour and the Greens on a policy basis. But elections and governments are about more than just policy; they are about principle, integrity, and trust as well. That's why my party vote goes to the Greens.

Keith Locke (who is sadly leaving Parliament after this election) and Kennedy Graham are champions of principle and integrity in New Zealand. They and the rest of the Greens have long been the conscience of Parliament - they are the party who is always prepared to stand up and make a noise when Labour might be tempted to hold their nose and vote for something they don't believe in.

Though Charles Chauvel and Labour might be able to claim substantial credit for the compromise solution to the Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill that was passed a few months ago, it was Keith Locke and the Greens who were the most vocal on the issue. Though the final Bill was much better than what was originally proposed, it was still not perfect. Labour voted for it; the Greens didn't.

Back when the Ahmed Zaoui case was going through the courts, it was Keith Locke who poured his time and energy into defending the fundamental rights of a man who would otherwise have been cast out by the system. Against massive opposition, Mr Zaoui's cause was eventually vindicated and he now enjoys the life of a free man in New Zealand with his family.

After the Canterbury earthquakes, there was a universal recognition across Parliament that the Government needed to act and that legislation would be needed to allow it to assist the people of Canterbury in an emergency situation. But it was Kennedy Graham who defended, in the face of a Government determined to grant itself wide an unnecessary powers, the constitutional importance of the supremacy of Parliament. He failed, but the point is that he tried.

Kennedy Graham's speech in the House on the closure motion in October gives me hope for the debate that is coming in the constitutional review that approaches in the next term of government. Graham talked about an upper house and the physical layout of Parliament. The Greens want to adopt a code of conduct for MPs that would raise the level of debate in the House out of the gutter into which it sometimes descends.

I want a Labour-led Government, but I want the Greens to have a significant presence in Parliament. It won't happen in 2011, but I think there's a good chance of it happening in 2014.

As for my electorate vote, I'll admit to being a bit disappointed in the candidates on offer in the North Shore. It would be a cold day in hell before I voted for Don Brash (ACT) or Andrew Williams (New Zealand First). I haven't heard a word from either of them in the electorate contest anyway.

Over the past few weeks I've received brochures in the mail from Maggie Barry (National) and Ben Clark (Labour). The Maggie Barry one contained not a word about the candidate. It was three pages of National Party policies and achievements. The Ben Clark one was mostly the same, but had a small section telling me who Clark was and a bit about himself.

Electorate contests are about individuals, not parties. If National put up a candidate with some passion for the electorate and a discernible desire to represent the electorate, then I would vote for him or her. But they didn't. Instead they put up a semi-famous nobody who is so confident in her ability to win that she doesn't even have the decency to ask us to vote for her. The arrogance of the campaign in this electorate makes me angry, frankly.

So, while I don't see much in Clark that inspires me, at least he made some sort of effort. Plus he's from a party that I actually support, which always helps. Not that it matters; Barry will win.

That just leaves the referendum on MMP to cover off. For me, the decision was simple: votes are supposed to correspond to seats in the House. The only system that does that properly is MMP.

True, there are some issues with it that have been discussed extensively in the past month or so. I'm not going to go over them all here, because at the end of the day most of them will get sorted out in the review that's triggered by the referendum. Even if they don't get fixed, it's still the best system warts and all.

I ticked STV on the second question because in practice it apparently works out relatively proportional, and I like that it gives voters some power over the lists. But I think it's far too complicated and I don't like the fact that electorates will have to be much larger for it to work.

So that's who I voted for, and some of my reasons. I set out to be proud of my choices, and I think I've achieved that. I'm fairly confident I'll still be proud of them come 2014.

As I said at the start, I think everyone has an obligation to vote. Whoever you support, and whatever your reasons, try to make your vote something you can be proud of.