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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Do we have no voice?

This article was originally published by Subrosa who has agreed it can be published here.

We’ve had NOTW and now we’ve had the tragedy in Norway. We’re living in an economy, which has at best stalled, and depending where you live is in recession. We have a Chancellor telling us he’s doing a wonderful job and the UK is a safe haven (for whom and from what?). He also claimed he’d brought interest rates down with the only evidence being he’d reduced the interest rate being charged to Ireland for the loans he gave them. That’s the loans we can’t afford to make. Not to mention the £9.4 billion he signed away to the IMF, which is money we don’t have and which we have to borrow.

During all of this the MSM have been at their best. Very little criticism, little if any real reporting and jumping on the bandwagon galore.  They have grabbed the extreme right wing link of the mass murderer in Norway and are already speaking about bringing forward additional legislation to gain the powers they deem necessary to further restrict legitimate views along with extremist views, which of course are the legitimate target.

The left wing MSM march forward emboldened by their apparent triumph over reducing Murdoch’s power whilst maintaining and developing their influence. Where is the voice of reason?  Where is the voice that argues for debate? The BBC will reduce the input from AGW sceptics based on last weeks convenient and contrived report no further debate there either.

The Chancellor. The Government. Have they the slightest idea of the seriousness of the state of the UK economy? 0.2% growth in the economy is shocking, disgraceful and wasteful. The deep cuts? What deep cuts? The government continues to borrow more money.

The EU faces ruin. We have to rely on the German people, and the French to a lesser degree to wake up to the money being provided by their governments to keep the EU show on the road. They must call a halt or continue to pay into the greatest pyramid scheme ever.  Who will be left holding the parcel when the music stops?

Perhaps the greatest need is that for democracy to actually work. It would seem that the world has become bereft of democracy. Democracy in name only is there for us all but democracy, which allows us to feel that we have opinions, which count, and mechanisms in place which allow the majority to see their views carried but at the same time allow the minority to be able to voice their concerns.

Perhaps things will have to become much worse before they become even a little better. Can we wait that long?

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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Politics

 

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Press controls

This post was written as a guest post for Subrosa who has kindly agreed to it being reproduced here.

Apparently, Ed Miliband is suggesting that Murdoch, or anyone else for that matter, should be restricted to owning no more than 20% of the press? This is so predictable. Politicians, or to give them their technical name headless chickens, try to be seen to do something with meaning whilst showing responsibility. Of course they actually achieve the reverse.

Complete yawn time. Reach for the legislation. Several new laws designed. Tiresome voting required. Job done. Move on. The next over-hyped crisis will be along shortly. Bank on it, especially if it’s a financial crisis but that’s another story entirely.

You can second guess what they will actually do. They’ll come up with something, implement it and then months later we’ll find out that it affects us more than it affects the people it was supposed to. Of course there will be absolutely no chance, no chance at all that they will then change it or ditch it. Once it’s there it’s there forever.

For goodness sake.

And… and… we sit back and take it. Every time! Will we ever learn?

How about they do the following –
a. Bring all the UK newspapers into the scope of the inquiry.
b. Also include the BBC and all the other UK broadcasters.
c. Do not consider, plan or layout any new legislation until the inquiry has fully and finally reported.
d. Do not increase privacy laws, which will damage democracy by allowing the creeps, who tell us what not to do getting away with doing it them selves.
e. Split up the BBC and immediately remove the license fee.

f. Give every license fee payer an equal share of the money raised after selling off every single bit of the BBC.
g. Re-enforce the requirement on all press and broadcasters to ensure balance at all times regardless of subject etc.

Will it happen?

Of course not.

Well at least not soon.

But maybe.

Just maybe sooner than the politicians etc. expect?

Let’s hope.

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Politics

 

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Bringing the threads together.

I thought it might be the right time to bring at least two threads together, education and Scottish Independence. There is a genuine link in as much as some of my previous blogs have focussed on the apparent shortcomings of education and some others have lingered on the need to, at least, begin fleshing out how an independent Scotland might be.

A greatly improved education system should, surely, be a high priority, high want and high need objective (pre and post Scottish Independence). Are you listening and agreeing Alex?. To achieve this ALL politics need to be put to one side. Now at this point you’re thinking naive and utopian. You’re thinking politicians would never be able to achieve keeping politics out of this challenge. Well, maybe there is a way.

In order to create an education system, which is acceptable to pupils, educators, parents and taxpayers and which meets appropriate governance, a framework would need to be defined to work within.

Given the present situation, going down the “experimental” route seems to be the most likely way to proceed. So introducing a high level control to keep everyone on board and stop scope creep and, perhaps, restrict personal agendas being pursued. The control would be based on Referism. Involve as many people as want to be involved throughout the whole of Scotland and refer all decision away from centralised high-level authorities and direct them to the people of Scotland

The following is an extract from an earlier blog article

“Referism has been suggested as a potential way forward and why not? EUreferendum defines it as a “political philosophy, which states that, in the relationship between the British people and their governments, the people should be in control”. Dr.Richard North, through the EUreferendum blog, goes on to define further aspects of the term, which are based around the people taking part in yearly referendums to accept the budget on which all government activities are based.

On the face of it this seems like a reasonable and simple way forward. A simple mechanism, control the purse strings, control how much, where and when funds are spent. Politicians will, of course, take a different view. MPs have been voted for by the electorate to represent them, They are likely to cite “voter apathy”, a “lack of understanding by the voters” and any other number of views which in effect talk down the ability of the electorate to take on such responsibilities. The electorate can and does form opinions and can drive change although the present system is being manipulated to reduce the likelihood of that happening.

Referism could, perhaps, be extended to directly involve the electorate more often and on a larger number of issues. Technology exists today to ensure that greater communication can take place between Parliament and the electorate. It might be unwieldy to require all the electorate to participate all of the time however, and there’s also the spectre of 1984 examples, which are less than beneficial”.

So we have our high level control. Next, how do we identify and determine the elements required to meet the vision of a modern education system? Well…

Now at this point you’re thinking naive and utopian. Again. Yawn.

Last time I checked, quantum scientists had a theory that we live in a world, which has 14 dimensions, this is just a bit too many for us to make any real sense out of. However, we regularly manage quite nicely within 5 dimensions, which encompass –

Height Width Depth Timing Duration

This 5D-scoping environment provides the framing for topics, which have strategic importance. Now you’re thinking height? Width? Depth? What?

Well how high do you want to set your success parameters? How wide will the scope be? How much depth of detail will be required for the initial framing? What order will things be carried out? How long will it take?  Simple really.  The 5D-scoping environment would be applied to every question, statement and answer as a means of ensuring every possibility is evaluated to identify value.

So far so good. The next stage, following the creation of the framing or scoping, is actually starting to make things happen and for this, another 5D solution, the 5D Methodology would work pretty nicely. Surprisingly, it has five stages all of which start with “D”. How convenient.

Discover Define Design Develop Deliver

Discover what already exists, if anything.

Define what needs to be done.

Design the project plan (based on Prince2 governance).

Develop the project (using an appropriately customised version of Prince2).

Deliver the desired outcome as exactly as intended.

So where to start? What are the main priorities for a modern education system for Scotland post independence? What is the single most important aim?

What’s the first step?

Come on people. What do you think? Collaborate? Share ideas? Leave a comment with your priority for improved education.

If you enjoyed this blog article please link to me on Twitter account “@TediousTantrums”. I will then tweet you as more political articles in the same vein are published.

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Sorry it’s another education post

I’d kind of promised myself that I’d have a rest from blogging about education and then along came a link provided by Subrosa and Autonomous Mind for a post by Old Holborn.

Within a very interesting article he says he is not in favour of the state educating any child. This is a lightbulb moment is it not? All the more so as a further commenter again on the Subrosa blog makes the point that education is not compulsory; as in it is not compulsory for children to be educated within the state system albeit with certain legal requirements.

It reminded me, that in my time working with schools and educators I’d come to the conclusion, that things had to change but in order to have them change significantly it would take three cycles of children going through their entire education. Why that length of time? Because following changes, the first batch would still be tainted by the present system, the second batch would be truly the first to go through an improved system and the third batch would go through a completely changed, improved and delivering system. A long time? Well yes, but, of course, not a long time in the great scheme of things.

The answer of course is simpler. Move away from state (and religion but that’s another story) based education. It’s a no brainer. And conveniently, here we are with our good friend, Mr. Michael Gove, trying to facilitate free schools, which are free from local authority control. Of course this policy does not form part of the education strategy for Scotland but let’s hope that it soon will be.

This approach however, has been visited before. You’ll all be familiar with Dunblane and the terrible tragedy, which took place at a primary school there. In fact there was, and still is, a second primary school in Dunblane, St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School. The school was one of only two schools, the other being Dornoch Academy, in Scotland, which opted out from local authority control enabled by a policy, introduced by the Conservative Government in 1988. The school was well run, supported by committed parents and had been recognised as a good school with good results.

Following the election of a Labour Government in London, the opt out choice was removed and a prolonged battle ensued to have the school returned to the “stewardship” of the local council.  The parents, teachers and pupils put up a pretty good fight to keep the school independent and whilst it was subsumed the school still continues to perform well.

Bottom line? Three options.

Firstly set up a free (independent) school from scratch. Lots of money required, but if what is being offered is appealing to enough parents, has credibility and longevity then it’s worth a go. (But only if you are in England).

Secondly, educate at home which is the cheapest, controlled and most flexible option. Gain the necessary permissions etc. (using “home education Scotland” as a search phrase in Google etc. will bring up a wealth of information and organisations who can help). No need to stick to a recognised curriculum although you would have to meet the local authority and EU requirements, which shouldn’t be an issue.

Thirdly. Stick with state education but get involved. Either become a parent helper, get elected as a member of the Parent Council or add value in supporting the delivery of extra curricular activities.

When I worked with schools I started off thinking that if I helped just one pupil move closer to their full potential it would be worthwhile. By the time I stopped I felt I had to help all of the pupils involved to move closer to their full potential.

If you enjoyed this blog article please link to me on Twitter account “@TediousTantrums”. I will then tweet you as more political articles in the same vein are published.

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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Education

 

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Progress? Shurely shome mishtake!

It’s been obvious for some time, and this goes back before the recent Scottish elections, that the SNP energy policy was at best incredibly naive and at worst destructive. It was therefore with some surprise and pleasure that I found this article.

The SNP are now saying that they would be happy to extend the licenses of our various nuclear power plants, extending their useable lives. Okay this isn’t going to be enough to address future energy needs, but it’s a start people. This looks very much like a first step in the ditching of windmills, tidal turbines and other fantasy energy sources. There is nothing to stop manufacturers or utility companies continuing to develop and install these –  just not at the tax and bill payers expense).

I can’t wait for the next deviation from the solid line of anti-nuclear, pro sustainable policies currently in place. Each change will be a further step towards making our economy more competitive, growing employment and investing in making Scotland a better place to live.

Bring it on Alex even although it may cause you a bit of embarrassment and a few hard questions.

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Where to start

Last nights Newsnight debate about the future of the UK didn’t really cast any new light or introduce any particular controversy. It was good to see a gentleman representing the English case for their own parliament. Well done to him.

The Conservative Unionist chap who was half Scottish and half Irish made some pretty silly remarks and comments. Defending the indefensible comes to mind. It was also a pity that an Irish chap was given the task of defining Englishness. But perhaps that is the real crux of the issue. Perhaps the English can’t define what being English means and what their core values are?

With the UK breakup only a matter of time now, it would surely serve the English cause better, if their politicians and the people themselves developed their own vision of an England which stands on it’s own.

The chap who wanted an English parliament should perhaps prepare for his ascendancy to Downing Street living? All of the other constituent parts of the UK would like to see an English parliament.

In the meantime let’s all agree that only English MPs can vote on English matters. I’m sure only the Labour Party would be upset with this.
Come on England! Be the best you can be! Be proud to be you!

If you enjoyed this blog article please link to me on Twitter account “@TediousTantrums”. I will then tweet you as more political articles in the same vein are published.

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It’s life Jim, but not as we know it (Part 1)

It’s 12:30 on the morning of the 1st January 2021, New Years day. My first footers and other visitors have left, heading back home through the snow. I remember in years gone by, even ten years ago, people used to party until the dawn, go home and sleep and start all over again at 9;00 the next evening. Those were the days. Indeed those were very, very different days entirely.

Everyone has gone because I can’t afford to keep the lights on and can manage very little in the way of heating. Of course we don’t have cars anymore and very few people came anyway as no one travels any further than a brisk walk in the cold and snow

How did things ever get to this point?

Those of us, of a certain age, can remember when energy was cheap and plentiful and the weather was much warmer.  Things weren’t bad at all. Then, I remember an American chap telling us all that Global Warming was happening and the science proving it was settled, I think his name was Al Bore? He said global warming was a reality due to C02 emissions by man and he had charts and stuff, which proved it all. He even won two major prizes, an Oscar for best Fictional Science Film and shared a Nobel Peace prize with other people who had recognized Global Warming as the greatest benefit for their wallets since .. well, since forever really.

Okay, he got the Global Warming name wrong but the scientists quickly came up with a new name – Climate Change, which they had researched using the money the government gave them. They had to find another name because the warming stopped; in fact it went the other way and got colder. The settled science became a bit less settled until another American chap from NASA proved CO2 did cause warming but it could also cause cold at the same time. Brilliant. He also showed that warmth could flow into hot things rather than just cold things. Even Einstein couldn’t prove that! How clever

We’d already had it decided for us that windmills would be the best way to generate electricity. Now don’t tell anyone I used the word windmills or I’ll be up on a charge, I should only say wind turbines. So we planted loads and loads of wind turbines but they weren’t at all efficient. After lots and lots of experimenting and testing, which was obviously paid for by us tax payers, a university down in East Anglia proved that the way the figures for the amount of electricity wind turbines generated had been wrong. In fact wind turbines generated ten times as much electricity as had been previously thought. Even when the blades weren’t moving or they were drawing electricity from the national grid to keep their blades moving incase they froze they were still, in fact, generating electricity! Who would have thought that?

To make sure they were doing things the right way and make sure they got more research money the scientists had to send each other loads of emails and also send emails to their chums who were scientists in America too. Someone stole a lot of these emails and put them on the internet (that was when you could just look for things on the internet whenever you wanted and find loads of good stuff). The emails were full of shared advice, which helped the scientists do the science properly and come up with the proof, which met the outcomes they’d planned earlier. You can’t beat a good doze of collusion to ensure the scientific method used and the outcome reached is beyond reproach.

Whilst the wind turbines generated electricity it was very expensive until the politicians stopped all oil, gas and coal production and closed all the nuclear power plants. It took them until 2015 to do that and it was a very proud day for the Greenies in particular. Although energy prices were higher than before energy experts told us that they were actually lower than before. I’m not altogether sure how that comes about but a man on the BBC news said it so it must be true.

Now we have our wind turbines producing electricity, which does work. Well I say work when I actually mean it sometimes works. We have a lot of power cuts or “power saving time”. Scientists tell us it’s just a matter of time before we get a workable battery solution so we can store electricity when no one wants it and use it when they do, or was it the other way around? They told the government that they would need to carry out a lot more research, which would need loads of money.

The plot thickens in part two which will be published tomorrow.

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