Friday, 27 September 2013

Votes @ 16: If these are our experts...

... then boy are we screwed!

This article featuring a few 'democratic experts' lays out some responses to the positive words Ed Miliband has had towards the Votes @ 16 campaign. It makes for pretty sad reading from some of these talking heads, and I just wanted to pull out a few quotes here and respond to them.

First, young people are not generally passionate about their right to vote. Less than half of 18-24 year olds voted at the last three general elections. These figures are hardly surprising given that around 4 in 10 are not even registered.

So will giving people the vote at 16 encourage or discourage higher registration to vote, given that such registration would/could take place as part of the educational system?

Second, there is little evidence of widespread public support for votes at 16.

This guy has a weird concept of democracy, seemingly believing everything has to be about majorities rather than about actions being "right" or "justifiable". If the public supported, widely, the execution of all blue eyes people, would this expert be happy with that to occur?

Bristol Central Library needs you...

Sign the petition against the plans here

Bristol Central Library is under threat. Through the use of manipulative language and innuendo a local post-independent school has decided it would quite like the status of operating out of a grand old building like that the Central Library resides in. The Bristol Cathedral Primary School has significant investment that it can make, but instead of creating a satellite school with this money it has decided it wants a piece of Bristol's history instead.

Edit (clarified 29/09/13): At the request of the school I want to add this: The school is not *replacing* the Central Library. That is not the threat I talk about. The threat I talk about is to the functions of the library. As the first commentator says below this post, it's not enough to just say the public access part of the library is untouched, because the public part *needs* the private part to function at it's best, and because satellite libraries closer to communities that need them will also see their services suffer.

If we want to diminish the role the Central Library has in Bristol, then we should let this go ahead, and we need to hold our tongues if and when this means the library service becomes less relevant to people in Bristol.

And this, fellow Bristolians, is why you need to speak up.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

81 Gromits...

After managing, somehow, to find a 15 minute queue gap to the exhibition after days of most needing to wait hours (peak of over 5 hours this weekend!) I got to whizz around and take photos during my lunch hour. 81 Gromits, three photos of each... I don't think I've ever averaged a photograph every 15 seconds for an hour before!

Here's a little teaser of the 81 Gromits on the Gromit Unleashed trail, I have something else coming up to help make sure Bristolians and non-Bristolians alike don't miss out completely on the spectacle!

'Roger' Gromit
(Follow this link for an animated gif of all 81! - 6 megabytes)

Please consider donating a few pounds to the Wallace and Gromit foundation.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Questions about Bristol's Cathedral Primary School...

A number of questions have arisen since I started to look into the problems with an assertion by the Mayor of Bristol that the Cathedral Primary School move in to the office and storage space of the Central Library was "needed" in the center of the city.

The following are things that I feel that the school, the Mayor and councillors, should be addressing to you in order to prove that this is indeed something that must happen.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Primary School Admissions: A school in a library?

This is the tweet yesterday from the Bristol Mayor that alerted me to a little storm brewing over the future of Primary School provision.

The plan in Bristol is to take one of our oldest public amenities, the Central Library, and gut two floors to allow a Secondary School to create a Primary School in the center of the city. But don't worry, all we're talking about here is losing office space and centuries of history in order to accommodate a school that was up until 5 years ago a private, fee-paying, school!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Evolution of a conference

If someone who has never been to a "tech" conference asked me why it is that they should consider going themselves, I'd say that the reasons have to be personal. You can only learn for yourself, and you will have a hard time infecting others with the same enthusiasm you gain from such events.

But specifically, people should consider going to a conference to really start to understand themselves in the world (there are loads, they differ in value, but there are plenty of a good quality out there). Before my first conference, @Media in 2009, I had received an average degree and entered a field of work based on skills that were largely self-taught up to that point. The prospect of having to work out how to do all of the things that I might have been expected to do, the thoughts of just how good or not I may be at my job...these were issues that the attendance to such a conference helped to alleviate.