So today apparently the G8 have moved “forward” with agreements on Climate Change as Mr Blair put it. All I can see is continued attempts to sweep aside the rising media and public noise urging more action on climate change. I think I should be forgiven for missing what they have achieved, I still find it incredible how childish an attitude is displayed by these the figures who are controlling this planets immediate future. The attitude that we won’t do anything if person/group x won’t is surely more reminiscent of a playground or a child’s response to a parents request when their sibling is not expected to follow the same request. It is important that climate change is a world wide effort, but whilst the G8 argue and fail to take any sort of credible or actionable stand, many smaller countries are getting on with it. Maybe something that they should consider, lead by example and all that!
Big Brother is the other point, something which I highly detest and only picked up on via the radio. Channel 4, worried over possible head bashing from Ofcom have evicted a contestant for referring in what appears to be a none-aggressive manner to another as a ‘nigger’. Yet Channel 4′s E4 flagship entertainment channel plays music during the day which should surely be considered just as, if not more derogatory. Double standards?
Well this morning I woke up as did almost 1.8 million others to find an email from Tony Blair in my inbox regarding the governments proposed road charging scheme. If you didn’t sign it, the full email is now on the BBC news website as well as the petitions.pm.gov.uk website, the PM’s website doesn’t seem to be able to handle the current demand and so reading it on the BBC website is certainly a better choice unless you wish to be reminded of what 28k dial-up internet was like.
I couldn’t’ help but laugh at the start of the fourth paragraph in the reply “But let me be clear straight away”, you can just see his gesticulations and the well practiced frank expression on his face when reading that (yes I’m typically a critic of the government). Without me picking it apart any more the reply makes for useful reading, the key point made throughout which I’m sure all would agree with is the fact that congestion is an issue and one that needs to be dealt with. Unfortunately in my view, public transport is really not at a stage where it offers a credible alternative for most people.
The continued increases in price for bus and rail tickets above and beyond inflation as well as infrequent and inflexible travel options mean it is hardly surprising that many people choose the car. More investment in public transport infrastructure with the capacity for long term growth would be a major step in the right direction. From my own point of view I’d be happy to take public transport for most of the work I do, suffice to say driving home at 2 in the morning is not preferable but unavoidable.
I do in many ways resent that fact that the governments only response to most major problems is to tax said problem until use of it abates. It would be interesting to see a graph of general taxation level against public opinion of government, would be nice to see how it correlates. From my point of view as a ‘young voter’ the increased taxation alongside the pathetic level of insult throwing which takes place across the house of commons on a daily basis is what frustrates me most about the political climate in this country. Watching PM’s question time is a prime example of how childish the entire thing is, dialogue from one speaker is typically rebuffed with a response starting with “But under the previous government…”, which is usually followed with a list of carefully selected statistics chosen to better reflect the respondents party and belittle the opponents, whilst having little or no relevance to the wider and more important picture. At the point when I see a lead politician who takes a genuine and grown-up approach to politics, and who’s interests are genuinely those of the voters then politics may become more than the farce it appears to be to so many younger voters.
I suppose on the positive side if the PM is going to ignore petitions like this as I’m sure he will at least he’s emailing people to tell them he’s ignoring them!
I picked up on an article today from New Media Knowledge via the RSS feed I knocked together for them a while ago. Its about the Digital Dialogues study released into the use of online technologies between government and the people and is well worth a look at, err have a look at the comment from Ian below about the author!
the author isn’t given but I’m assuming its Ian Delaney. I won’t go into the details on it as its perfectly readable on the NMK website but the thing that really got my attention was the cost of David Milibands blog. The figure quoted in the report is around Ã‚Â£6000……and for that money we have…..a blog, no there’s nothing else, Ã‚Â£6k well spent according to the government.
I took a look at this a little more to try and understand how they spent this much on a blog, the first thing of note is that from looking at the source code of one of the pages it appears to run on Community Server. This ranges from $0 to $1900, for that you get ummm a blog package, and in the case of David’s blog you deploy it with half the features such as trackbacks disabled!
I still struggle to see why they spent that much money, the top of the range software package with gold support equates to Ã‚Â£976 in todays money. The domain itself I think we can ignore, the blog resides on a subdomain of the government website defra.gov.uk so this isn’t really relevant. However community server does have fairly hefty server requirement in terms of cost, Microsoft Windows Server 2000 or higher, Ms SQL Server etc aside from the hardware which will add a fair bit onto the total. Its just incredible that they went for this route, the team behind it apparently wanted flexibility, manageability and security, whats wrong with one of the free alternatives? Many of which support multiple blogs etc, far more features than community server offers and better integration into larger systems. My old college has just deployed a Blojsom system for 1200+ students, its feature packed, extensible and uses the same login as the rest of the college system, its impressive in many ways to say the least. But thats on another level, we’re talking in this context about a blog for one person, I don’t know if it actually has dedicated servers or not but it sure as hell doesn’t need it for one blog! I’ll finish this rant now as I’ve gone off on one a bit but this is something that could have been carried off perfectly well on a standard LAMP server config with WordPress or similar installed for Ã‚Â£500 or so at the most. Its just sad that it seems justified to spend that sort of money on setting up what is a fairly bland blog.
Something I’ve only just discovered (another excellent find from Ian’s blog), it seems the goverment have made another move to try and stay in step with technology by launching (albeit in beta) an online petitions service to complement the many received through the door. It follows the trend which I thought was gone now of prefixing internet ‘stuff!’ with an ‘e’.
The skeptic in me believes these will be largely ignored, especially considering the lack of technical knowledge on the part of the PM. Although it does make the whole system a bit easier and enviromentally friendly to get away from the paper idea! Oh and there’s an RSS feed as well which is useful.
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