Thursday, November 11, 2010

Higher Education Cuts Demo

On Wednesday the 10th November 80 students from Loughborough University travelled down to the demonstration against the higher education cuts organised jointly by the NUS & UCU. We joined a march of 50,000 students and lecturers, many of whom had got up early to travel down to show their support and March against the coalition governments plans.

The march was a tremendous success with students and lecturers travelling from all parts of the England, Scotland and Wales, there was a real sense of community in the crowd with a united purpose. Nearly all the students that I went with had never been to a demonstration before but felt strongly that they should support this. We were all amazed at the numbers and ingenuity of the students there. My favourite banner, it was hard to choose but I personally liked one that read. "We want Ed at least he has Balls" genius and it summed up the general feeling on the banners, in the chants and in the discussion. The majority of students felt betrayed by Nick Clegg, it was generally understood that we expect the Conservatives to act like this, but the 'U' turn of the Liberal Democrat party has showed a complete lack of integrity and it was what everyone was talking and chanting about. I would share some of the chants but I'm not sure the language was appropriate. But here's one dreamt up by one of the Loughborough students.

"Nick Clegg is a liar, he deserves to be fired, for raising the fees on all our degree's, living in a Tory wonderland'

However unfortunately this was not the message that was delivered by the media, who only seemed to be interested in the damage caused by a handful of individuals who many doubt are even students over 2 hours after the march officially finished. People are responding with shock and condemnation, personally I am frustrated and very angry with the British media, who instead of reporting on the constructive effort of 50,000 students, decide instead to report on the drama and destruction. The British media should be ashamed of themselves; they have sensationalised the damage and given weight to the riot instead of supporting the efforts of committed and dedicated students. When there is such a large demonstration there is always a strong chance that the usual rent a mob, yobs wll rock up and the Police should have been prepared for them. The law abiding students however should not miss out on the publicity that should have been given to their grievances and concerns.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Politician's not telling the Truth

Yes I know no-one is particularly surprised, but I was astounded by the lack of evidence and overall personal bias by this Green Party Counsellor, see below:
"Wednesday, 3 November 2010 The fees disgrace - blame LABOUR
Let's be very clear. It was LABOUR who opened the floodgates to the university tuition fees debacle that is now being imposed on our country. The LibDems have allowed it to happen; the Tories made it happen; but it was Labour who commissioned the Browne report, and it was Labour who set the whole thing up in the first place, by imposing top-up fees. As soon as the argument had been made by Charles Clarke that it was right for students to pay a substantial amount toward their higher education, and that higher education free at the point of delivery was going to be a thing of the past, then full-scale marketization became inevitable. It was only a matter of time. I made this argument at the time, as did Ian Gibson. We have, sadly, been proven right by today's news that the ConDems are going to bring in variable fees of up to £9k.
It is LABOUR who need to take the blame for having created the conditions for this dreadful outcome. (And it is only the Green Party (and the Nats, etc.) who come out of this with clean hands: see!/TheGreenParty)
So: come the next election, let's all be clear about that. If you want to punish the LibDems over this, then there is no point in voting Labour."

Its very inaccurate in several places and just sheer self promotion based on half truths, so I have put him right.

"As usual for a politician you are missing out some vital information here like the introduction of the tuition fees originally in 1998 by Labour was based on the recommendations of the Dearing inquiry see: Commissioned by the Conservative government under John Major, so I think you'll find is has been driven as part of the ideological conservative (protect the rich screw the rest) agenda for the last 14 years. I don’t believe labour would accept the recommendations of the Browne report in the way that the conservatives have because they were committed to seeing more students going to universities unlike the conservatives who only want it for the privileged few. Claiming that the Green Party would do any different is hollow as you won't have to carry through on your promises, just like the Liberals never thought they would so they too promised the world and surprise, surprise once they are given to opportunity to stand by their promises they show that they have the least integrity of any party in this country.
Rupert why don't you show you have some integrity, put your money where your mouth is and come on the demonstration against the cuts and Browne review next weds will you, I will be there in the midlands camp, why don't you come and say hello.
Matthew Watkins BSc MSc PGCE"

Please do check on the accuracy of reporting of your local MP's and Counsellors, this example of defamation is even more extreme than that from those rats in power.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Adventures in Britian's Demise

Interesting title I know and I long time since I have written when a lot has happened on a social and political front so the title inspired by a fairly middle of the road album by REM. Relates to a less than average Britian in economic and societal breakdown. 13 years of prosperity and social investment have ended not by a fairly mediocore recession but by a change in government out are the socially minded, fair handed Labour party and in are the corporatly minded Conservatives and the sell out pathetic limb wristed Liberals and although this all happened back in May the country is only now starting to feel the after effects of the poor decisions made by a third of the voters in the last general election.

Unemployment is on the rise, house prices are sinking again, and swaving cutbacks are being actioned across a number of important social sectors. Up to old tricks the conservatives once again have gone to bed with business and the upper classes, whilst setting about destroying community and working class people's livelihoods and prospects.

Universities have been hit hard and my aspirations on a lectureship are now looking more like a distant dream again as the cuts have already brought about recruitment freezes at a number of universities and left 22,000 students without places this coming year, Ultimately threatening the future of a number of institutions and Britian's global position as a leading education provider.

Council workers, Police employees, Civil Servants and Defense Staff are all facing the propects of unemployment. On top of this a number of services and government agencies have been cut completely including the essential and life saving Air and Sea Rescue Service and the future proofing Carbon Trust set up to ensure we met the environmental emmissions targets set.

More on cuts here:

This is only the start the unfair cutbacks will continue to affect citizens for the foreseeable future undoing many of the great and socially beneficial outcomes acheived by the last Labour government. Having experience as a teacher, student, youthworker, and young man during this labour's 13 years in power I personally think there was alot to thank them for. I am not too young however to remember the carnage that the Conservatives caused and the broken society that they left behind in 1997. I am very concerned for the future of this country over the next four years that have been secured by the coalition due to a dubious change in the law ensuring that they can't be removed from power for at least 4 years. Yeah I bet you missed that one the law was passed in the first 2 weeks of them being in office. No Surprises .....

Friday, May 07, 2010

Hiding Place

Sometimes I wish for a hiding place, like when I was a child. To run away and hide in safe, warm and dark place. To escape people, life, reality, humiliation or embarrassment. I used to wrap my self up in a curtain by the front door, or hide in a wardrobe or the cupboard under the stairs for a while. Oh the memories of childhood how I wish I could now hide when I feel overwhelmed, when my brain is tired and my body is weak, life is mundane and my mouth is so dry I can barely speak.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thoughts captured on this day 13th April

Feeling lost and a little confused, listening to Ludivico Einaudi on a beautiful summers day thoroughly bored with my coding of transcriptions. But fully aware of my appreciation of the immense beauty in the world in nature, arts, music, people, emotions and experiences and being more interested in capturing this than dissecting research. Yet I am at a loss as too what I really want to do. The reality is that I know I feel discontented because I know that this isn’t it. Ignorance perhaps really is bliss...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The iPhone and other Apple crimes against humanity

Yes I'll be honest and as the title suggests I am not a fan of Apple's shiny but hopeless fashion must have. In fact I am not a fan of the Apple corporation at large. As a designer I appreciated the daring breakthrough of Jonathan Ive's colourful iMacs in 1998.

But now Steve Jobs seems as bent on world domination as Bill Gates was before he came to his senses and retired, now whenever I see the infamous apple logo it fills me with rage.

Why, well where do I begin the companies hypocritical marketing claims especially in relation to the environmental credentials of their products, the poor quality and short live of their products and the fake hip people that fall for it all.

The iPhone appears to be following in the footsteps of the iPod not only in its universal success but also in its built in obsolescence. Following in the footsteps of the iPod in failing shortly after the obligatory 12 month warranty period despite consumers having been sold 18 and 24 month contracts with the phone. Experiences of such have been reported by a friend and backed up by countless reports in Google, starting with Wifi failure which to be honest is why people bought them in the first place. They didn't buy the iPhone for its abilities as a phone because its pretty poor in that area.

However I fail to find much sympathy for the owners as reports of failures in Apple's products are now well documented and known off. What infuriates me however is that Apple have the cheek to claim green credentials whilst they are creating products with such short live's. The claim for instance the the iMac Air was highly energy efficient and recyclable, yeah but what about the high levels of Nitrogen Trifluoride (see an early post about the adverse environmental effects of LCD production) released in the production of all those LCD screens used in all apple products.

On a recent trip to the design Museum I was really angered to see jonathan Ive's iPod at the end of a wonderful exhibition on Dieter Rams yes he may have stolen design cues from the Rams but Apple's products do not follow Dieter Rams philosophy of a long service life.

Another claim that angered me at the time of the original iPod release in 2000 was the claims about their innovative scroll wheel. Apple took alot of glory for this innovation but in reality in was used two years earlier by Panasonic on a portable Hifi an example of which I own and incidentally it still functions perfectly after 10 years Mr Jobs.

Another area that the iPhone fails is functionality it fails on its core purpose that of being a phone it is hopeless at this basic task. I have found iMacs also to be extremely counter intuitive at times and in particular past apple products were also a little more than awkward. After first using a Power Mac I was shocked to understand that I needed to place the contents of the Zip disk I had been working on into the recycle bin in order to eject the disk, who thought that was a good idea, basically the same operation as deleting your work?

However my greatest annoyance has to be the smugness of iPhone users, an entertaining comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe summed it up in this statement:

“To the people who’ve got iPhones: you just bought one, you didn’t invent it!” - Marcus Brigstocke

Smugness is a very unfortunate feature of a fair proportion of apple consumers. Its like having the attitude of BMW drivers but with the abundance of Ford Focus owners. However what confuses me is, what exactly have they got to be smug about, how is their smugness justified? They have typically paid twice as much for an apple product than a competitor, which would be more reliable, easier to use and carried a lower risk of being mugged.