In The News

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The digital ‘bill of rights’ proposed by Jeremy Corbyn

As part of his battle for Labour leadership, you may have seen Jeremy Corbyn and his plans for a Digital Democracy to “democratise the internet” mentioned in the news. It seems this would be achieved by the use of a digital “bill of rights”.

A more simple way of looking at this, is that Mr Corbyn would like to make the internet a more level playing field (particularly in terms of internet speed, and access to information), and government use of the internet (with an apparent focus on engaging young people in politics). Which are policies I agree with.

The main pledge in the digital “bill of rights” that would probably get the most attention is the “Universal Service Network”, this is the pledge that says:

“We will deliver high speed broadband and mobile connectivity for every household, company and organisation in Britain from the inner city neighbourhoods to the remotest rural community.”

Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a commitment to the expected speed, and if the government would be reliant on BT for this promise. But according to his press conference, there would be £25bn pledged towards this happening. So I guess this would help the remote Devon farms to be connected.

The manifesto is available online here, and is an easy read. Reading it though I cant help shake the feeling that this has been said by previous governments before.

I would praise Mr Corbyn for his seeming want to create an inclusive society, as highlighted by comments made about not everyone being comfortable with online services, but I do feel his digital “bill of rights” misses out comment about the costs involved in buying a computer, and potentially teaching people in these online services.

Obviously many people access the web via a smart phone now, but I imagine using a number of the local and central government online services to be a challenge on a mobile device.

I like the heart behind a lot of today’s announcements, but feel more detail would be needed in the future.

For more information, check out the BBC website.

(Post originally appeared on AndesMedia – Photography and Web Design)

Dear David Cameron, Good Bye, and Thank You?

Dear David Cameron,

I’ve wondered over the last couple of days, as we’ve seen you moving on from being PM (and possibly a massively well paid speaking job and / or middle eastern peace seeking role), what my daughter will hear about you as she grows up? What will she hear about how the country was led back when she was born?

Will she hear about how you encouraged a Big Society as you came to power? And how that phrase seemed to disappear as time went on?

Will she cover the Libyan war in History? I wonder what people will say about that, and how the after effects were managed?

If she asked, would I mention about how some may say that your party’s campaign tactics have been a little… negative?  The thing is, it has occasionally worked for you.

What will people say if she asks about Englands response to the refugee crises? (As a side note, I guess thats still ongoing, not heard about it in the news recently)

I guess a lot of what she will hear will depend on what happens over the next few years. Will the UK still be United? I wonder if History will come up with a clear reason over why we had a referendum?

Would I tell her about the welfare state, the sanctions, and the changes in the benefit system that arguably led to a rise in Food Banks?

Or should I just explain that it was in your time that I and others really seemed to start to care about politics? That people gave up their own time to help other people, and run things like foodbanks? I guess some would argue you’ve done something about housing.  Stuff like that, I guess you should be thanked for.

Anyway.

Thanks for your time. (I guess time will tell anyway. )

 

 

Dads Sofa

P.S. Thanks for not taxing pasties.

Who should be the next England Manager? (From The World of cbeebies)

Over the last seven days it feels almost everyone is resigning their jobs. It started with a Prime Minister, and now the England Manager job is vacant.

This led me to wonder (possibly in a fit of post EU Referendum result depression) Who, in the world of cbeebies, should be the next England Manager?

The Voice from Sarah and Duck

Sarah and Duck TitlesLets look at “The Voice” from Sarah and Duck. Is he is a parent figure? Is he the voice of a shared consciousness between the characters? Either way, he seems to be a respected and possibly knowledgeable figure in their lives.

Sadly due to his only feature being a floating voice, he wouldn’t be liked by any media outlet (except possibly radio). Therefore he is out of the running for England Manager.

Iggle Piggle

He is the key figure in a crowd of various strange, amusing, and talented individuals. He is the one that appears to hold them all together, to the point that he is the last one asleep at night.

Sadly his lack of ability to talk could be unfortunate, but some may see that as an advantage.

Mr Tumble

TumblejpegI’m sure people would be ok with a clown in charge of the England team.

But some may argue he should be the next Prime Minister.

Charlie and Lola

How about some sort of joint position? Charlie would be the sensible one that talks to the press… the players… other managers… everyone.

Lola would be the one that comes up with the tactics.

Sid and Rebecca from Lets Play!

letsplay_slidemain (1)This could be a winning formula!

Every week, Sid or Rebecca takes on a new job, and seem to do that job really well. These jobs seem to range from Nursing to being a Rock Star. Whatever it is they do, they seem to do it well. Therefore I would argue for another joint position, with both Sid and Rebecca in charge.

They pretend to do everything else well, I’m sure they can both pretend to be the England Manager.

Any other ideas to add?

Some Non-EU Conversation Ideas.

Ok. Lets face it, its been an “interesting” week here in Britain, with slightly over half the population* voting to leave the EU… Obviously this leaves just under half the population* wondering what the other half were thinking.

Now if you’re meeting up with people over the weekend, but want to avoid a fight about the EU, it may be best to try and avoid talking about it altogether.**

To help with this, let me introduce you to The Non EU Referendum Conversation Starter Card. Feel free to print this out, and take it with you as you go out and about this weekend, and use it to help you decide what to talk about… without upsetting anyone**.

Conversation Card

* …that voted.

** Possibly. Sofa cant be held responsible for any negative outcomes from using this conversation starter card. Positive ones… we can. Negative… Big no….

Does Devon need school lollipop patrollers?

School lollipop patrollers, the people that annoy some motorists, by ensuring mostly small children can cross the road safely. They have been a staple of a childs walk to school for a number of generations, but does Devon need school lollipop patrollers?  That’s the question that has been asked by Devon County Council a couple of times over the last 12 months or so, and according to the Exeter Express and Echo they are on the verge of not saying no – but that they shouldn’t be funded by tax payers money.

According to “The Echo“:

Despite overwhelming opposition from the public, schools and councillors, a proposal by Devon County Council to cease funding school lollipop patrollers has been approved at its cabinet meeting today.

The fate of the future of the service will now be decided next Thursday at a meeting of its full council.

The reason behind the cost cutting plans is to save £250,000 a year from the county council budget. Instead the cost will transfer to schools, with the patrollers themselves employed by a third party that would deliver the service on a full-cost recovery or commercial basis.

If schools decide not to fund the cost of their patrol, the alternatives are for it to be run by volunteers or to lose the service.

In other words, if a lollipop patroller service disappears, the council will say its the local schools fault for not sorting it out.

Is this David Camerons Big Society being played out? People needing to volunteer, because the state doesn’t want to find the money to help small  kids, and hassled parents to cross the road?

There is a campaign going, to try and save the crossing patrols, if you agree with what they’re trying to do, please sign their petition at change.org.

Staying Safe Online

Back in the day, I used to work on a Technical Support helpdesk for an Internet Service Provider. Yes I was one of those guys you ring when your internet stops working. It was around this time, when I began to care less about how the internet worked, instead I cared more about why people used the internet, and how people behave online.

I guess it was natural then that my interested was caught, when I had email come through about a new campaign from Get Safe Online and their partners. This is a campaign aimed at making people think twice before they act online, and not fall pray to scam emails, texts, or other forms of ‘Social engineering’ where fraudsters manipulate victims into sharing confidential information.

They hope that the following advert will “encourage the public to think twice before they act online”

 

Whilst the advert can possibly seem a fear inducing, I guess its to raise awareness. For example, you cant always believe that you’ve had an email from a friend who has randomly found himself stuck in the Ukraine., and needs money to get home*.

The Get Safe Online website is worth a look for their massive amount of advice ranging from online banking to safeguarding children.  While I’m not likely to send money to someone who says they’re randomly stuck in the Ukraine, resources to help educating our little one as she grows up in a more connected age then myself can only be helpful