Junior Doctors Contract – Scrap Saturday Pay Demands


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

With Saturday and weekend pay seeming to be a political sticking point and public support gradually slipping away from the Doctors, how can @TheBMA move forward with the Country on its side?

I’ve worked in Hospitality and Events for nearly 15 years. I’ve lost all concept of a ‘Weekend’ and have also seen the gradual removal of overtime for working on bank holidays. While I am angry about this, I do not want to get involved in a race to the bottom.

To maintain its current Public support I would like to see the BMA offer an olive branch towards the Governments plan for a #7DayNHS. I would like to see the BMA withdraw all of its demands for increased pay on Saturday or at weekends. The world we now live in doesn’t operate on a Monday-to-Friday-9-to-5 cycle and while some elements of the NHS have long appreciated that, from another point of view it could look like #JuniorDoctors are making a twisted attempt to maintain their #Bourgeoisie status so they can keep playing golf on a Saturday and offer their penance on Sunday.

I strongly #support the Junior Doctors and their contractual negotiations are far more complex than a matter of extra pay at the weekends (despite what many Conservative MPs are saying), and hope that this a moment where our support for them could be reciprocated.

Although the concept of a weekend in its traditional sense may well be meaningless, that doesn’t mean there is no value in having a regular period free from work. This helps provide structure, space and support to people outside of work, so they can maintain their heath, work more and as a result, make our Country more efficient. That is something #WorthFightingFor


Dear BMA, please drop all demands for Saturday or weekend pay rates in exchange for a #FixedRestPeriod. A period of between 24-48 hours, that starts and ends at the same point within a 7 day week, that is defined by the Employer, guarantees the Employee at least ££p/h x 1.5  if they are offered and accept work during said #FixedRestPeriod.

I have lost all hope in ever ‘getting my weekend back’, but this negotiation could change that. You, The BMA, could be the catalyst for real #SocialReform within the labour market and if you did that, would undoubtedly carry the support of the Nation with you.

#CrowdLeader #7DayNHS #ContractNegotiation #TwoPenceWorth #FixedRestPeriod #TheBMA #JuniorDoctors #Politics #Reform #Capitalism #NHS #JuniorDoctorsStrike




#CockInABox = #Vote #GE2015?

A #CockInABox was considered, ‘a mark that clearly identifies support for one candidate’ in Lewisham. This received support from 2 other parties.

#Obvious image below is reinterpretation:

cock in a box If 10 cocks in 10 boxes was deemed a rejected ballot for ‘voting for more than one candidate’, than one cock in one box must be a vote?!?

#ElectoralReform needed

#CC #CreativeCommons @creativecommons on #Image Original Copyright #DNTHarvey Please #Quote 

BBC Editorial Complaint – Biased Coverage of General Election

Dear BBC Trust

While I have made an official complaint and did wait for many hours in your reception for you not to reply to me, I now feel compelled to write this open letter to you.

While I am generally most satisfied with your service, today I have what I think is a serious complaint against your own editorial guidelines.

I would like to stress that you are not alone, but as a tax payer funded institution you should lead the way for change!

Time is pressed with only 2 days to remedy the situation, but that does not mean you can not make amends. After all you do say in 19.4.2 that you will respond in a timely manor.

There are a number of issues that I wish to raise about the quality of journalism and standard of impartiality you have expressed in your ‘coverage’ of our #Option2Spoil and use of “who” instead of “how” during the #GE2015 campaign. 19.2.2

As an Independent Candidate in a constituency that is not important (after all I do not want to make this a constituency issue) I would like to draw your attention to section 4.1 or your General Election Guidelines which indicates giving “a higher profile to candidates in general”.

As a candidate campaigning on the issue to educate the Nation of our #Option2Spoil I have seen or heard of no coverage from any candidate that covers this unrepresented mechanism of engaging in our electoral system and therefore believe your editorial guidelines should allow this view to be represented.

Section 4.1 also suggests that the BBC has an “obligation of fairness in ensuring the audience is informed of all the main strands of the argument.”

I believe that educating people about the option to spoil their ballot is just as important as educating people about the different parties. After all it is a voting choice that is available in 100% of the constituencies, not many parties can say that!

Section 3.2 states that individual programmes “should normally achieve proportional and appropriate coverage within the course of each week of the campaign.”

Being a regular watcher of The Daily Politics Show, I can not think of a single show, yet alone week that has given appropriate coverage. In addition a search of your website produces woeful results.

Section 3.1 states that “determining appropriate levels of coverage should take into account levels of past and current electoral support.”

A survey of 15,840 people by a House of Commons Select Committee show what 71.8% of people would like to have ‘none of the above’ on the ballot paper. While they also fail to mention that your #Option2Spoil exists now, both represent a mechanism for illustrating a dissatisfaction with the current system. This indicates overwhelming support exists for this subject.

Section 10.4.23, 10.4.32 and 10.4.34 ask you to sceptical towards, question the credibility of and trustworthiness of polls.

If no poll company has ever produced a poll that included our legitimate choice of #Option2Spoil, how can any be trusted and is it therefore honest to represent any of them in any or your content?

Section 10.4.2 states “particular care should be taken with the use of language” in the context of voting and parties.

By consistently asking the question “who are you voting for” instead of “how are you voting” do you not think you may be influencing people to vote for a specific individual and guide them away from exercising their legitimate #Option2Spoil?

For a comprehensive list of the other questions that I have about #Option2Spoil and your editorial guidelines please search “@HOWnotWHO @BBCPolitics

Kind regards

David Neil Thomas Harvey

Why you should tell people of #Option2Spoil even if you’re supporting a candidate

#Option2Spoil – The Integrity of Politics is at stake

What is a ‘Spoilt Ballot’, is this important, does it really matter?

Everyone is entitled to their own ideology and opinion, not everyone will agree and that is ok. But I do hope this metaphor will encourage you to at least discuss the issue.

Within sex education, I believe that understanding the emotions that are generated through a physical relationship, are more important than just acknowledging the existence of the LGBT community. But if you do not acknowledge the existence of the LGBT within sex education, you have some serious issues!

Within our electoral system you have an option to intentionally spoil your ballot paper. This allows you take part in the general election without offering your support to a specific party or candidate. So if you don’t want the ‘straight’ choice, there is an alternative out there.

I know elections and sex (at lest for most people) are very different (but if that’s what gets you up or opens you out, all power to you) but I think there are some similar issues, all be it at slightly different evolutionary stages (and that is ‘evolutionary’ in relation to acceptance).

There are currently millions of people who don’t get involved with ‘voting’ as they don’t know that there is choice out there that resonates with their views.

That choice is #Option2Spoil.

It might not be for you, but you should at least tell people that it exists.


Enough with the appeal, here are my facts, and judge for your self.

First of all a 1 minute quiz with open access for all to the results including 8 gender identity choices:

So who should be telling us of our option to spoil?

Politicians want us to think they are honest, perhaps they do?


Conservative spoil vote Screenshot from 2015-05-04 12:26:08


Labour vots spoil Screenshot from 2015-05-04 12:32:55

Lib Dems?

Screenshot from 2015-05-04 12:27:26

Green Party?

Green Party Spoil Screenshot from 2015-05-04 12:24:46


UKIP vote spoil Screenshot from 2015-05-04 12:34:31

Trade Union and Socialist Coalition?

TUSC spoil vote Screenshot from 2015-05-04 12:35:57

Ok so what about the institutions involved with political eduction in the UK


They do have a number of search hits, but none tell you why you may wish to intentionally spoil your ballot.

gov.uk Screenshot from 2015-05-04 15:56:51


They do have a number of search hits as well, but we still do not have information as to why you may wish to intentionally spoil your ballot.

Electoral Commission Screenshot from 2015-05-04 16:08:41

They do have one link that acknowledges ballot papers can be spoiled intentionally, but if you look at the URL its related to referendums. In addition, I have not managed to navigate from the previous page (using the url) to this one..?

How do you get from http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/past-elections-and-referendums/referendums

to here http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/past-elections-and-referendums/referendums/help

Electoral commision navigation problem Screenshot from 2015-05-04 16:17:50


Well they have a few references to spoilt votes and in some of their own reports they suggest that an increase of spoilt ballots could reduce the legitimacy of a result. But they are “to busy trying to reform our electoral process” to educate us about how our current one works.

ERS spoil vote Screenshot from 2015-05-04 16:23:10


They have 4 links. The top of the list mentions spoilt ballot papers and follows shortly that putting ‘none of the above’ would give voters a clear choice to express there dissatisfaction with politics. I guess it is a shame that they do not make the link between the two, and that it was published in 2006.

Hansard Screenshot from 2015-05-04 16:30:44


This is managed by the Hansard Society. Although it looks like zero results, they do mention that you need to separate out the spoilt ballots during the counting phase, but then fail to mention what a spoilt ballot is in their jargon buster or anywhere else in their downloadable material.

mock election Screenshot from 2015-05-04 16:36:51


The bastion of independent news and education within the UK? Well it does have selection of articles, with several people mentioning they will spoil their ballot paper. But no education as to what it is.bbc spoil vote search Screenshot from 2015-05-04 16:44:55For more detail on this subject please see my other blog, #Option2Spoil Facts

Open Letter to Vicky Foxcroft

Dear Vicky

It was nice to meet you earlier on this evening at the hustings and thank you for agreeing to answer one question from me.

As the only Independent Candidate in Lewisham Deptford, I am standing on the sole issue of improving voter engagement with politics and the electoral process.

With 77 out of the 100 constituencies with the lowest voter turnout in 2010 being Labour seats and Harriet Harmon saying we have to “make sure people can see the genuine choice there is” in the general election.

The final guidance that voters see in the poll booth being Making-Your-Mark-Example-Booth-Notice-English-Colour-A2

A direct quote from Lewisham Electoral Service Manager “It is not permissible for staff employed in polling stations to advise voters how to mark their ballot papers, save to read  the instructions at the top of the ballot paper, as you have remarked.  That does not prevent an elector making a choice to spoil their paper howsoever they may wish.”

Will you support my Manifesto to educate the Electorate that they have the option to spoil their ballot paper on May 7th?

#GE2015 Risk Assessment

I would like to rule out a few issues that have come up that are a distraction and agree on some others things that no longer need to be discussed as a means to keep to the point (please do feel free to challenge them though, but dont mix them up with other arguments.

Lets all agree that people do have an option to spoil their ballot paper.
Lets all agree that Poll Staff should be aware of this OPTION
Let us not debate how ethical these people may be and how often they choose to lie
Let us not debate the external influences that pressure people into taking jobs.
Let us focus on Carl’s question: Why do they need to lie.

Before i move onto that I would like to clear up one issue. As a lowly Tech member I do appreciate that i have much to learn, but Chris has raised the issue of what Stress has to do with the Management Regs. My understanding is that the Management Regs require you to be able to demonstrate through your management approach that you are complying with the H&SWA. Chris also posed the question of what “controls with you magically come up with”. Which is kind of my whole point.
Since my last post I have looked through the H&SWA and couldn’t find the specific schedule that references that Stress must be assessed, so I would welcome some clarity on that too.

But if there is a legal requirement to conduct a risk assessment relating to stress, and we are knowingly unable to create any controls that can mitigate the stress, and that the stress has a real potential to a cause significant hazard. Would there not be an obligation to stop the activity or change the process? (Q1)

The question then moves closer to Carl’s “why do they need to lie”, but before going to that would like to address what a significant hazard. It has been mentioned that this event takes place very infrequently, but the question of how frequently it may happen on the day and what magnitude or impact it will have on the individual staff has not.

before we consider whether or not this particular incident forces people to lie, do you think that knowingly placing the number of staff that we are talking about (i dont know the numbers) in a situation where they are occasionally forced to provide ‘deceptive’ advice, although they have no ‘intention’ to deceive as part of their job, is compatible with the stress related legislation we currently have? (Q2) Because if the answer to this is ‘yes’ I need to start another question.

As Jeff points out (much appreciated), and i have used above, a Lie is where there is intention to deceive, and that is different to following an instruction. While that is true, Nazi SS Officers are still being bought to trial for carrying out instructions. While clearly very different in some ways, my aim is to indicate that simply carrying out instructions can be morally wrong.

So unless someone can provide some strong counter evidence i will now explain why staff will be placed in this position where there is a conflict between their intention and the outcome.
The Electoral Commission guidance to staff in Section 5 p.15 says “some voters may still find the instructions unclear… In these circumstance the Presiding Officer the instructions printed at the top of the ballot paper and the details of the candidates in the order that they appear on the ballot paper.” http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/175621/Polling-station-handbook-UKPGE.pdf
This says “Vote for one candidate only only by putting a cross [X] in the box next to your choice”.

The following is an email from the Electoral Service Manager at Lewisham Council. Whole sentences have been removed but no other editing has been done.

Dear Malcolm
If a voter askes “I am looking for advice on how to vote, can I spoil my ballot paper?”
What official response should they get?

Dear David
Thank you for your further email of the 23 April. I can only repeat what was said in my earlier e-mail of the 17 April

It is not permissible for staff employed in polling stations to advise voters how to mark their ballot papers, save to read  the instructions at the top of the ballot paper, as you have remarked.  That does not prevent an elector making a choice to spoil their paper howsoever they may wish.
Electoral Services Manager
London Borough of Lewisham

Direct: 020 8314 6907

So, does this situation have any resemblance to the one addressed in Q2?
Does this situation have any resemblance to the one addressed in Q1?

#Option2Spoil Facts

@HOWnotWHO Manifesto

My #Manifesto #Mission is to educate the voting electorate that they have an #Option2Spoil on #May7. This is a positive mission to make sure the nation knows how our current electoral system works. It provides an opportunity to voters, who are registered but have no intention of voting for any specific candidate, the ability to be actively involved. [1]

In an attempt to bring this issue to as wide an audience as possible, I am running as the only #Independent candidate in #Lewisham #Deptford and hope to use this platform to reach more people. [2]

In my Official Flyers I tell you that “I don’t care who you vote for” [3] and I have tried my hardest not to use anything but facts below.

Please do ask @FullFact or anyone else to check the integrity of my work. My sources are good but my interpretation of them could be twisted, so do check for yourself and let me know if you think I am an honest politician (in the making).

Draw your own conclusions on how to vote, that’s right its #HOWnotWHO. So read on, and hopefully learn something.

What is #Option2Spoil?

This refers to a way that you can participate in the general election without voting for a specific candidate by intentionally spoiling your ballot paper.

What is a spoilt ballot paper?

A spoilt ballot is any ballot paper where there is any doubt over which specific candidate the vote should be attributed to. A ballot may also be spoiled by writing your name on it, voting for more than one candidate or if the ballot paper does not have an official mark on it. To make life slightly more confusing, a spoilt ballot becomes a rejected vote when it is officially counted.

Are spoilt ballots counted?

Guidance called ‘Verifying and Counting the Vote’ [4] produced by The Electoral Commission says “The count produces an accurate result, where the total number of votes cast for each candidate and rejected votes matches the total number of ballot papers given on the verification statement for the constituency” (1.1) The Electoral Commission also produce reports that indicate how all of the ballots are distributed in every constituency. This includes all votes for each candidates and rejected ballots. In the 2010 general election there were 0.666% rejected votes (Rejected votes / Electorate x 100) [5]

Am I allowed to use my #Option2Spoil

The following is a quote from Electoral Service Department in Lewisham so you will have to ask them if you don’t believe me.

“Currently what you describe as “the option to spoil” is not prescribed for in the law, though should the elector choose to do so, the are free to do so in whatever way they may wish” (Emphasis added)

How will people know I used #Option2Spoil and didn’t make a mistake?

As you can see from the groups that rejected ballots are be place into, there can be no ‘official’ meaning to you #Option2Spoil. However, real people count the ballot and unclear ballots are counted in front of candidates, election agents and Electoral Commission Officials (1.6) [6].

As indicated above by Lewisham Councils Electoral Service Manager you are free to spoil your ballot in whatever way you wish. The Electoral Commission produce guidance on distinguishing between rejected ballots and ballots attributed to specific candidates [7] . All you need to do is make it crystal clear that you have intentionally spoilt your ballot. My suggestion is that you #DrawTheLine where you are told to “Vote for one candidate only” [8]

Does #Option2Spoil ever make any real difference?

While no-one can predict the future, it is possible to give examples in the very recent past. The Electoral Commission produced a report on the 2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections and highlight that “a significant proportion of the rejected ballot papers were deliberately spoiled by electors wanting to register their concerns about the elections, although it has not been possible to quantify” (1.23) [9] and later go in to say “LROs have no power to reject a ballot paper under a separate category, such as ‘deliberately spoilt’. We will explore with ROs whether and how this information could be recorded at future polls” (3.86) [9]

There is still “currently no published material of the Commission’s discussions with Returning Officers surrounding the recording of deliberately spoilt ballot papers. The Commission is committed to putting voters first by working to support a healthy democracy.” (Email dated 02/03/15)

Okay, so there is an #Option2Spoil. What is your point?

When you go to vote you will see this A2 size sign in the Poll Station [10]

When you go into the Polling booth you will see this A2 size sign [11]

If you are unsure of how to vote or of your #Option2Spoil and ask any question, the guidance that is allowed to be given is limited. Firstly they will be directed to the above posters and then if they are still unsure and require more assistance, the Presiding Officer should read out the instructions on the top of the ballot paper (section 5, p15) [12]

What does it say on top of the Ballot Paper?

“Vote for one candidate only” [13]

Do you think I have a point?

Answers to @HOWnotWHO


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46kzqxbYho8&feature=youtu.be
  2. http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-10p-political-project/
  3. https://www.dropbox.com/s/kuxaqki5jpxzzki/firstmanout.pdf?dl=0
  4. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/175389/Part-E-Verifying-and-counting-the-votes.pdf
  5. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/excel_doc/0004/105727/GE2010-turnout-admin-web.xls
  6. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/87699/UKPE-doubtfuls-booklet.pdf
  7. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/87701/Doubtful-ballot-placemat.pdf
  8. https://www.dropbox.com/s/32cqtz2toizu9pm/New-ballot-paper-design-2015.png?dl=0
  9. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/154353/PCC-Elections-Report.pdf
  10. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/150412/Making-Your-Mark-Example-Polling-Station-Notice-English-Colour-A2.pdf
  11. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/150364/Making-Your-Mark-Example-Booth-Notice-English-Colour-A2.pdf
  12. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/175621/Polling-station-handbook-UKPGE.pdf
  13. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/87701/Doubtful-ballot-placemat.pdf

David NT Harvey for #IndependentMP – Lewisham Deptford #GE2015

My name is David Neil Thomas Harvey (I like to think of that ‘classic’ film Highlander, “There can be only one” at least that’s true on facebook) and I am standing as an independent MP for the constituency of Lewisham Deptford.

lewisham deptford

You can find out more by searching and donating to the 10p Political Project, following @HOWnotWHO and using #10pPoliticalProject wants you to question #HOWnotWHO, inform you of #Option2Spoil and suggests #DrawTheLine to create a #GameChanger idea that could cause a #RealRevolution.

My main campaign if elected, will be to include “none of the above” on future ballot papers. As a result I am target two specific groups of people. I want to reach out to those who currently do not vote because they do not feel that any specific candidate or party accurately reflects their views or they don’t have faith in the electoral process. Lets call this the Russell Brand group. The second group I am targeting are those who intend to vote, do not currently know which (if any) party represents their views, but think that they have to vote for one candidate or party. Lets call this the Joey Essex group.

The reason I feel compelled to put £500 of my own money forward (and im no trust fund baby) is because I believe that many people are mislead by ‘information’ from the Electoral Commission. I want to encourage more people to vote by promoting #HOWnotWHO as everyone has an #Option2Spoil so #DrawTheLine through your direction of “vote for one candidate only” on the ballot paper.

The Electoral Commission clams to “Put Voters First” and to support participation with “no undue influence”


Doesn’t that just sound grate! If only it were true… Before you get your ballot you are told to “vote for one candidate only… or your vote may not be counted”. While they do acknowledge in this ‘guidance’ that you may “spoil” your ballot paper, they do also imply that would be a “mistake”


Then when you get presented with your ballot paper you are told again at the top “VOTE FOR ONLY ONE CANDIDATE”


While all of these ballot papers are technically ‘spoiled’ and after they have been placed in the ballot box are known as “rejected votes” (though many commentators do still refer to them as spoilt votes) they are most definitely counted!!!

This snap shots shows a spreadsheet, produced and downloadable from the Electoral Commissions, on how many (yes they are counted) votes have been rejected in each and every constituency. It even breaks down why why each ballot is rejected into 5 easy to understand sections. Votes are rejected for: a) want of official mark, b) voting more than once, c) writing or mark by which the voter could be identified, d) unmarked or wholly void for uncertanity or e) rejected in part.


From this is should be fairly clear to see that spoilt ballots or rejected votes are counted. So to advise that they “may not be counted” is about as helpful as saying “Jimmy Savile did a lot of good charity work”. Moving swiftly on, this is where change I tack slightly. Yes I am campaigning to be elected, but lets be honest, this is my first ever campaign and I’m starting from nothing. Starting from nothing does have some advantages though, I will have ‘something’ at the end and that ‘something’ can be measured. So, despite the 12,499 majority Labour have and my expectation (and hope – I’ve got a wedding to plan) that I wont be elected, why on earth would I risk wasting £500?

Well that option of “none of the above” exists with your option to spoil your ballot. I want you to promote that idea with #HOWnotWHO. Should you ever hear anyone say “WHO are you voting for” please also make sure you let them know, it’s actually “HOW are you voting”. I would never encourage anyone to spoil their ballot if they want to support a political party, but I do expect everyone interested in the political process to acknowledge that as an option. So remember if you do want to vote for ‘none of the above’ you can do so with your #Option2Spoil and just #DrawTheLine.


A problem that you might see, is that it is unclear from these categories to know if a vote has been intentionally spoilt or if the voter has made a mistake. Fortunately for us the Electoral Commission is aware of this problem! After the 2009 Police and Crime Commissioner elections they acknowledged that people are intentionally spoiling their ballots and told us that they will investigate how this could be recorded in the future.



So as an institution that has its priority set on putting voters first, how are they doing at exploring that possibility? Below is an email I received from them earlier this year.


Hopefully you are thinking about ‘how health is our democracy?’, but more importantly for NOW, ‘how healthy is the democratic process of the general election?’ This is where statistics can actually be helpful and occasionally offer more understanding than just a number, even to those without any maths qualifications at all. The number of spoilt ballots in the 2010 general election was 0.666%, this number can hold significance to many people for many different reasons, but for me this represents less than 1% which is effectively nothing. The beauty in starting from nothing, is that any increase, even a very small amount, is easily measurable and can be attributed to you participating by spoiling your ballot. So to improve the healthiness of the general election, tell people that its #HOWnotWHO, tell people they have that #Option2Spoil and tell people they can #DrawTheLine. They might not chose it, but they must know about it! If you start from nothing and get something, you have something. How big that something is, well that is up to you. Could this be a #GameChanger, is this the time of a #RealRevolution?

In my opinion (and remember that is all it is), spoiling your ballot represents your best option of passing a message to Westminster, through the system which they use to justify their power, to say “I am not happy” (that’s the Russell Brand), or “I do not understand” (that’s the Joey Essex group). As the Electoral Commission have kindly pointed out there is know way of knowing why different people may not be happy, so a spoilt ballot is like a text message alert to Westminster. For them to know you have something different to say, you have to send that message, and just like your with your phone, for them (and you) to know what the message is, you have to say. So, if you spoil your vote, it is up to you to engage with the country and say why you did it with #GE2015 #HOWnotWHO #CrowdLeader.

first tweet

If you want to help the Returning Officers (the official in charge of verifying the vote) and other Election Agents be sure that you have intentionally spoiled you ballot, the best thing to do is #DrawTheLine through “none of the above” on your ballot. Though as indicated earlier, if you do anything other than mark a cross in the box, your vote is likely not to count for candidate, but will still be counted!


The most important thing to remember is that spoiling your ballot is a legitimate, positive and effective way of interacting with the government, and will be counted.
I wrote a blog some weeks ago that referenced a psychologist who indicated how apparently “disruptive behaviour could potentially be viewed as supportive of the group” and found out about his work through a research project that I am also doing independently. The broad subject is looking at ‘How group boundaries and membership affect behaviour” with a current focus on relationship between music festival crowds and security and have just published my interim report.

My degree was in International Disaster Engineering and Management and during my dissertation I became interested in integration between Emergency Services at music festivals. This moved on to a diploma in Event Safety Management from University of Derby and a then a failed but short-listed PhD application on the “perspective of acceptable behaviour” before arriving at my final (well, more like starting) point: CrowdLeader and How do group boundaries and membership affect behaviour.

I’ve always volunteered as a means to get involved with new opportunities and learn about new experiences and have found this massively rewarding on a personal development level, but i also know how important it is to be rewarded from external sources too. As a little reward to you for making it this far, I want to tell you about my overfunding aim. My overfunding target is for £50,000. That is a little larger than my own goal of £500, but I thought if I am asking for £500 from you, may be I should try and give something back to you too! I want to give £500 to the first eligible documentary produced in each of the 100 constituencies with the lowest voter turn out. I want to encourage secondary school students and first time voters to make new social groups and talk to people in their constituency. I want to inspire (with a small bit of financial encouragement) young people to find out how engaged their neighbourhood is with politics, if any political party actually reflects peoples political views and why, if people know they can spoil their ballot paper and what people think Westminster would do if people spoilt their ballot papers. I want to find out why people don’t engage with Westminster and share it on www.facebook.com/CrowdLeader so Government can at least be told. But what happens next is most certainly still up for debate.
As already mention in a Labour seat with a majority of 12,499 I may well be the first candidate who will already conceded defeat, and think I would still be faltering myself to suggest I might get the relatively meagre target of 3,400 (5%) to not lose my deposit. What I can claim to be doing is helping some people feel able to participate in a process that they previously felt excluded from. Any extra participation must be a good thing!

Combining my overfunding aims, political ideas, research project and education, I hope you can see that while standing on a single ticket issue, I am more than a single ticket candidate.

So question #HOWnotWHO, inform of #Option2Spoil and suggest #DrawTheLine to create a #GameChanger idea with the #10pPoliticalProject that could just lead to the #RealRevolution

I look forward to sharing more ideas with you

David Neil Thomas Harvey your Independent Candidate for Lewisham Deptford

Why ‘disruptive’ behaviour can be supportive of the ‘group’ – Development of Alex Haslam interview on #630CHED

Alexander Haslam is Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology, and Laureate Fellow at the University Queensland.

His work is specialised research in ‘Group Processes’ and ‘How Groups Work’.

In his recent interview on 630 CHAD while visiting Alberta, as a Key Note speaker for the www.CIFAR.ca Change Makers conference. Haslam’s interpretation of an Edmonton Oilers fan, throwing their own Edmonton Oilers shirt on the ice at the end of the game, out of disgust for their performance. Might have some similarities to those who wish to spoil their ballot paper at the UK General Election, this 7th May, #GE2015.

Primarily, it could be seen as a positive action, in support of a group that they highly value, that they perceive needs to change.

“How we are as individuals and as people, is not just structured as a sense of our selves as individuals, like ‘I’ and ‘me’, but a lot of our sense of self comes from the groups that we belong to, like: ‘we are Canadian’ or ‘we support a particular football team’… That sense of ‘we-ness’ provides us with a sense of shared identity, a sense of purpose and direction and it can be critical for life'” (2:00-2:30).

It was suggested by the interviewer that the Oiler’s fan, was acting in defiance against the group (their team) which was apparently precious to them, which was therefore a counter-productive act against their group, and could be detrimental to the individuals health.

Haslam’s response, while acknowledging his limited knowledge to the specific incident, suggested this action could be a way of “affirming their commitment to the group. They are not saying that ‘we don’t care about the group’, but ‘we really care about the group and its history’. And at some level they are having a dialogue with the team to say: ‘where are we going? What are we up to?’ So rather than disavowing their group membership, they are saying how much it matters to them. The fact that they all did it together suggests a sense of leadership. ‘We are saying no collectively and this is where we want the group to go, and we think that things aren’t right.’ Its precisely because they care about the team that they are engaging in that behaving. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t turn up..” (7:00-7.45)

So, now seamlessly to British politics. I firmly believe that we need a government, somebody or some group, to give strategic direction to our nation. I am passionate about the idea of democracy and feel that my vote in the General Election #GE2015 #May7 should allow the future government to know, how ‘we’, the people, want to be governed. The problem is, we have an electoral system designed for a two-party-state, with multiple parties. Despite the choice to vote for who ever we wish, in reality, we know that the only likely winner will be from ‘Party A’ or ‘Party B’. So if ‘Party A’ is the antithesis of what we think is important, we are quite likely to vote for ‘Party B’ as they represent our best bet of beating ‘Party A’, even though they might not reflect the political views we truly support. This gives an unclear picture to our government about how we want to be governed. Instead of voting to support what we want, many are voting against what they don’t want.

The problem within the UK is that we just do not know that we can vote for ‘none of the above’ or ‘throw our shirt on the ice’. At the last General Election in 2010 only 0.666% of votes were spoilt, but there were more non-voters, than votes cast for the winning candidate in 438 of the 650 constituencies. I believe this shows two things: the guidance to “vote for one specific candidate” is accurately followed and that many people do not value the system as they choose not to take part in it.

The Electoral Commission are the body in charge of producing the ‘event’ of the #GE2015 and have a handy How to vote at this election guide. The problem is that even though they acknowledge the current limitations placed on Returning Officers, who can not distinguish between an intentionally spoilt vote and an unclear vote, and should clearly be able to see that many people are disenfranchised from the system, as they do not take part. They seem unable to recognise that telling us to “vote for only one candidate” and implying that it would be a “mistake” to “spoil your ballot”  is unduly influencing our behaviour. For if we know that we could spoil our ballot to vote for none of the above, I am certain that more than 1% of voters would do so.

Going back to what Haslam says, “when groups split… that’s a basis for the evolution of identity… and critically for the dynamics of social change” (8:40).

So if you believe in democracy, and want to create social change, spoiling your ballot paper this #GE2015 will fulfil both criteria and certainly will not be a wasted vote.

Cultural Difference to Event Safety – a reply

I attempted to post this directly as reply, but appear to be having some technical issues…

The initial post is by Professor Chris Kemp https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cultural-differences-health-safety-crowd-management-guidance-kemp

And my reply

Hello Chris

It just so happens, I am doing some independent research on this matter, so have a few ideas of some of the issues and some possible ways to improve matters.

One of the fundamental difficulties the industry faces is a lack of knowledge and understanding of crowd psychology. If you look to the UK Police (who you might think would be at the fore-front of understanding crowds), little changed from Hillsborough, to kettleing at the G20 riots and the death of Ian Tomlinson. While we should be grateful for Le Bon for ‘founding’ crowd psychology, it is shameful that many people still believe his work is credible – namely that crowds are irrational and dangerous.

The second problem is the lack of adequate training for those involved at events. This is not just about the security staff but also the crowd. Developments in crowd psychology indicate that Social Identity Theory, and the Elaborate Social Identity Model, is the most effective tool at explaining behaviour. There are two components that must be met, to ensure that behaviours are effectively managed, 1 – that the requests are seen as legitimate & 2 – the request come from someone within your ‘own social group’, as this increases perceptions about their legitimacy.

Addressing the issue of knowledge, while there is genuinely nothing out there to tell you about crowd psychology at events, and their relationship to security (until i eventually publish my research, or someone else does) there is an abundance on Police management and also of note, crowd behaviour at emergencies. The inherent value of looking at ’emergency incident’ crowds is the emergent self-regulation and support for those in need of help, created by the induced feeling of ‘all being in it together’ aka ‘shared social identity’. As events tend to bring people of a ‘shared social identity’ together, this needs to be tailored for each event to enhance that self-regulating nature.

Leading nicely onto training. The best people to tell you how they expect to behave are the people coming to your event. One development project of my research is to encourage people attending an event to put up a short video, 10 seconds max, showing a favourite activity/behaviour (obviously using #CrowdLeader #EventName). You will then have as good a guide as possible to how the crowd will behave, assuming that it is sufficiently populated. The benefits to this would be, continually updated training material for security, giving them an accurate idea of what to expect so they know (after event specific training) what to stop and how to stop it, but more importantly what to promote (but that is another issue altogether). As well as giving security a good idea of what to expect, it gives those attending a clear idea, so they will be in no doubt what to expect when they get there. This further enhances the shared identity of the event, increasing the level of self regulation, reducing the burden on security staff.

Leading back to the beginning and Le Bon. The problem is cultural change in the academic ‘understanding’ of crowd psychology and its influence upon crowd management. The ‘evidence’ is slowing being gathered, then we can educate people about the problems with the old and the value of the new, then gradually behaviours will change and we can really show the value of the new…

Oh yes, then after everyone in the industry has changed, then you have to convince government and legislate, so quite simple really….

You’ve got to love being at the beginning of the curve though.

PS in theory I can find quality references (eg journals) for everything, so if anyone wants any, please let me know.