Friday, 2 September 2011

Thank you Louise Mensch

Quick post here - Just for ease of reference I wanted to summarise here Louise Mensch's proposed amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill in relation to the provision of independent counselling for abortion as posted on Twitter.

"Provides indie counseling on NHS as a right/choice but not obligation. Allows a woman to choose a referral instead to any BACP accredited counselling service including Marie Stopes/BPAS (which the Field/Dorries amendment forbade). Any BACP accred counsellor who is abortion provider, faith group or ideological will be labelled as such allowing woman to choose her own counselling service with full info on their background. Finally, my amendments provide language requiring a timeframe be set so as not to delay woman's decision"

Thursday, 19 May 2011

I love the British Constitution

Originally posted on the PLMR website 

The poor unnoticed British Constitution. Dismissed as unimportant or non-existent by many, but fundamental to the workings of Westminster.

However since Labour were elected in 1997 with a swathe of reforms in their manifesto, reform to the UK constitution has not strayed far off the political agenda - despite arguably failing to capture the imagination of the electorate.

The current Coalition Government has pressed on with a programme of constitutional reform, led by the Liberal Democrats, and on Tuesday we saw the Deputy Prime Minister launch the draft House of Lords reform bill.

But what does the British constitution look like? The majority of countries operate under a codified constitution (written in a single document). The UK’s constitution is uncodified and has four key sources:

             Statute law (Acts of Parliament)
             Common Law (Legal principles and precedents)
             Conventions (eg Collective Ministerial Responsibility)
             Works of Authority (eg Bagehot and Dicey)

So what makes up the British constitution? Everything that impacts upon the political system. When we talk about reform to the House of Lords, Electoral Reform, Devolution, Elected Mayors, this all falls under Constitutional Reform.

The uncodified, multi-source nature of the UK constitution makes it extremely flexible and easy to change. It has at its very core the ability to grow and adapt to the changing political wills of generations (very much like the British people).

Of course the electorate have more immediate concerns do to with health, schooling and their standard of living, and maybe this is preferable to constitutional reform becoming an overtly partisan issue. But this is exactly why it is so vital that our representatives take time to consider the true and lasting impact of constitutional reform.

While our constitution is easy to change, getting the will together to do so – and in particular to hammer out the detail of any rushed reforms – is a bit more difficult.

Far better to spend years in quiet consideration over well thought out and implemented reforms, then saddle future generations with sorting out the mess.

I love the British Constitution –please handle with care!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

My Marathon

So the last six months have flown by. I've trained in all weathers (rain,wind,sun,snow,ice). I've trained in 3 different countries, thought predominantly South London.... hence why the Common features heavily in the selection of maps above! In the sessions I've been able to record on GPS I've run enough to get to Paris and back (on which note I would highly recommend the Cardio Trainer App on Android). Putting my completely non-athletic body through shin splints, grazed knees, weak ankles, and the rest.

Next Wednesday I get on a flight to South Africa. On the Saturday I'll run 56k in the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in aid of World Emergency Relief.

I want to thank all my lovely friends and family for their incredibly kind donations. And to my colleagues at PLMR Ltd. They have been so generous and the company has donated enough money to will provide a month's worth of nutritional muffins at training sessions for an entire children's football team in Paarl in South Africa. For many of these children it will be the only meal they have all day.

If you have any spare pennies please do visit my JustGiving page. Every little helps and will be all the more motivation. Thanks everybody!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

This isn't a dot-com bubble 2.0, its a Web revolution

So one of the most popular articles on the Independent today is whether the Web 2.0/Social Media 'bubble' is going to one day burst horribly in everybody's faces.

This kind of argument resurfaces every couple of months, and I imagine is propagated by Web Worriers who lived through the dot-com bubble bursting 99/00. You can see the similarities.... Hundreds of platforms, doubling in its worth year on year, providing an ultimately free service.

What this attitude doesn't take into account is the fundamental change in the way we as individuals and consumers use the internet.

Google has become our first port of call for information. We scour blogs for opinions we want to read. We connect with friends on Facebook and Twitter (and others!). We share photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube. Etc etc. Social Media provides these free tools in easy to use formats, in exchange for our content and personal information.

Whether you like it or not (and the Web Worriers most vehemently don’t...) the boundaries of personal privacy are slowly eroding. But younger generations, who can't remember a world without the internet instinctively use Social Media and have fewer fears of giving out their personal information online.

The bubble can’t burst, because there is no bubble. Social Media relies on being social, and including everybody in the permeation of our very internet useage. Web 2.0 is a grass roots revolution. It's successful because all your friends, all your colleagues, all your connections are using it.

Platforms may come and go, but as it ingrains itself into our every day life, Social Media is not going away. Ignore it, and the opportunities it brings at your peril!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Serving those who serve

Published my first post on the company blog today regarding the Armed Forces Bill this session and the codification of the Military Covenant.

Read here;

Here's hoping it adequately serves the 48,000 service personnel and their families who may be suffering from Mental Injuries as a result of the sacrifices they have made for this country.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Killers and Rapists no longer to get the vote?

In an update to my previous post the BBC reports this morning on a 'climbdown' (am I the only person that hates that word?) on prisoners getting the vote.

The Government is opting to push through with the option other EU countries adopt of allowing prisoners serving sentences under one year to vote.

There is some hope left!