If you found me searching for the lyrics to the children's song, you can find them here.
I am a researcher in bionanotechnology currently living and working in Tokyo. I moved out here nearly three years ago, against my better judgement but in search of adventure. It has certainly been an adventure and not one I would have missed for the world.
I am trying to retrain as a designer and you may see the odd example of my work appear here as I progress.
I also indulge in opinionated rambling.
All the artwork by Nell on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Uh-oh… it’s one of the Big Two!
I’ve stayed away from religion (mostly) but this is going to be a full blown post on politics, so watch out…
One of my previous commenters mentioned 38 degrees and I think it deserves a bit more of a mention. It’s not perfect yet , but it is most definitely a tool for generating real change and we should get behind it and make it grow.
The other site that I’ve been reading lately is Unlock Democracy, they have an interesting idea that has gathered a surprising amount of support. There is no question that our political system is in major difficulty. From hereditary (or even appointed) peers to first-past-the-post and from MPs salaries and expenses to failure to consider evidence, the rot runs deep. Our political system requires a complete overhaul. We only have to look as recently as last month to see an example of the government sacking an adviser because he dared to state some facts that sounded unpopular .
It is hard to argue against a government that listens to public opinion and responds, that is their purpose after all and it is something that we have been asking for and not seeing for centuries. The problem is that the current government is so busy blowing this way and that in the wind of public opinion that they seem to have forgotten to check whether the opinions they are responding to even represent what most people think. At a time when public confidence in the ability of journalists to present honest unbiased news is plummeting , the Government is listening to the press like never before. And they wonder why voter turnout is low…
Unlock Democracy have a solution: they would like to see, amongst other things, the creation of a 100 member “Citizen’s Convention”. The convention would be composed of 100 randomly selected registered voters and would act as an independent body regulating and, where necessary, reforming government. They wouldn’t set policy, but they would keep a close eye on those who do. To prevent it being a glorified focus group that MPs can simply ignore if they disagree, the group would have real powers enshrined in law. The most important of these powers would be the ability to force a referendum if MPs refuse to put in place regulations the Convention believes to be necessary.
I think it is a fabulous idea and it is certainly one worth trying. If it worked, it could even be extended to cover matters of policy and, ultimately, it could replace the House of Lords. A real people’s parliament.
The only change I would make is to the pool from which members are selected. Unlock Democracy would like to see a random ballot with some adjustment, if necessary, so ensure fair representation for all. I disagree that all people should be equally represented on a Citizen’s Convention. A vast number of people have no interest in politics and are still registered to vote, they are unlikely to turn up to something like this unless forced and, if they do, are unlikely to take part in any meaningful way. Such a group can only harm the process and should not be included. Instead, I would like to see a requirement to opt in to the ballot. It should expire every year and should need some positive action (albeit small and simple) to renew. This way, anyone can be a member, but only those who actually care to be involved will be.
1. There are parts of the site I know exist that you don’t seem to be able to access from the front page and I would like to see their tool for writing to your MP made more generally accessible.
2. PN: “Excuse me, your policies aren’t working”
GB: “Shhhhhhhh! Don’t tell people! It will stop our policies working!”
PN: “Um… But… Oh never mind”
I didn’t weigh in to that debate at the time but my feelings can be summed up as follows: “WHAT IS THE POINT OF APPOINTING ADVISERS IF YOU SACK THEM WHEN THEY TELL YOU WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR?? YOU PLANKS!”
3. And not before time. Yay the bloggers!