October 16th, 2015


Stop Fucking Plate Shaming!!!!

A guest post* from my friend Farah, who has had diagnosed coeliac for 18 years:

Ok. I am at breaking point on this one.

Stop Fucking Plate Shaming!!!!

Saying that people are faking food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances because you see them eat something they shouldn't is no different to calling a wheelchair user a fake because they walk a hundred yards in your presence.

I am pre diabetic. I starve myself some days so I can have a glass of wine or dessert at dinner.

I am terribly dairy intolerant but if it's night time and I can sleep it off, I'll steal a sliver or two of cheese from the cheese board.

I don't really cheat on the coeliac because it's too damn painful but I know that the symptoms from a little soy sauce are manageable so tho I'll order my food without I'll steal from your plate.

My Dad's coeliac is much less severe than mine. I yell at him for eating a piece of French bread/slice of matzo or Cornish pasty but it doesn't make him a faker.

My mom has a passion for brown sugar meringues. It doesn't mean she is faking her diabetes.

I was brought up that whatever my private thoughts, commenting on someone else's plate was bloody rude.

And no, sometime gluten refusers don't make life more difficult for me.
A) they help sustain a market for free from foods
B) the jerk wads who use others to claim I must be "faking" too are the same jerk wads who would try to test my migraine by secretly feeding me cheese or a friend legumes (I ended up sick, she almost died).

Show respect. Not your stomach, not your plate, not your business.

*Farah posted this on Facebook, and asked people to share. As I thought what she was saying was important, and applies to me directly, I thought it was worth me hosting a copy in a more public place .

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Interesting Links for 16-10-2015

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I had an odd discussion about voting systems

Over on Twitter I was having an odd argument about voting systems, where I really didn't understand the other person's argument. Probably because trying to put across a significant point in 140 character is. both hard and frustrating. So I offered to stick up a post about it, so we could continue the conversation over here. That being the case, I'm taking the opportunity to get my side in first :-)

(And now, if you have no interest in voting systems, or in me taking Twitter arguments over to LJ so I can have more space to have them, then feel free to page down.)

So, the Electoral Reform Society [twitter.com profile] electoralreform put up this:
After changing to STV 76% of Scots got their first preference elected:
Which seemed to me to be both true, and a direct effect of STV.

The reason for this is that multi-member constituencies reduce the effect of winner-takes-all voting systems. If you have three FPTP constituencies, all of which are 40% SNP, 30% Labour, 20% Lib-Dem, 10% Other, then the effect is to elect three SNP representatives. In a three-member constituency you'd (probably) end up with either 2 SNP and 1 Labour, or one each of SNP, Labour, and Lib-Dem, depending on how the votes split. This would would mean either 70% or 90% of people saw their first-choice elected.

Now, you can argue that "Having your first choice elected" isn't actually what we're trying to optimise for here. And, personally, it's not the top thing I'm trying to optimise for. But a lot of people care about having a representative that they feel represents them. Telling them that changing the voting system to STV will give them a greater chance of having a candidate elected who was their #1 choice will make them happier about it.

And you can also argue that if your prime metric is "Having your first choice elected" then there are ones more guaranteed to do that - changing FPTP from "Elect the highest ranked candidate from a single-choice vote" to "Elect the highest-three ranked candidates from a single-choice vote" would probably be better at that, for instance. But this assumes that I only have one metric I care about, and I don't. I care about giving people a representative they want representing them _and_ I care about giving those representatives a voice which is in proportion to the number of electors who supported them. Plus, of course, nobody is actually suggesting Nth-Past-The-Post as a voting system.

Different people prioritise different metrics. I care more about proportionality, and giving small parties a voice, for instance, which means I like AMS, which gives the Scottish Greens two seats on 4% of the vote. While Andrew Hickey (for example) cares more about not having party machines controlling the lists of who can be elected (and what order candidates are elected from them), and so favours STV. And I think that picking a metric that I don't care about, but some people do, and pointing out that a particular voting system has that metric, and thus some people who care about that metric might be interested in supporting it, is a good thing.

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