Here is a collection of a few small thoughts I have had recently that aren’t really big enough for a whole post each, I thought I’d bung them together in a miscellany:
1. Apparently I have been Follow Fridayed a bit in the last couple of weeks. Welcome to any new readers who have found me through Twitter and thanks to the lovely Tweeps who felt I was interesting enough to be advertised
2. New friends are silver… It is lovely to get new readers, but it is also very nice to know that my older ones are sticking around. I know many of you prefer to lurk rather than comment and it never ceases to amaze me when people I had assumed had drifted off long ago say they are still reading. Thanks to you too
2. Life does mean life. When someone is given a life sentence in the UK, they may be allowed out on licence after they have served the custodial part of their punishment, but they are not free. The are subject to restrictions over their activities and to continual supervision. I would imagine that, like me, most of my readers were unaware of that fact. I learned it through my involvement with the Free Prisoner Ben campaign but perhaps, if nothing else, the recent recall of Jon Venables will go some way to educating the rest of the nation on what a “life” sentence actually means. His return to prison doesn’t mean there has been a failure of the system, rather, it means it is working as it should.
3. We might be winning the fight against advertising through the “news” media. Rentokil’s recent attempt has backfired spectacularly.
4. The passport office issues a list of professional people who are allowed to countersign the photo if you make a passport application. It has long annoyed me that although “engineer” and “journalist” are specifically mentioned, “scientist” is not. I think we probably slip in through the catchall of “or a person of good standing” and there’s also “member, associate or fellow of a professional body”, which most scientists are , but it is not the same. I feel rather strongly that your average scientist is both rather better trained and also rather more responsible than your average journalist, especially given the current state of their profession. And before all you journos start getting upset; yes, of course there are many excellent reporters. I’m not suggesting you be removed from the list, just that we should have been added to it long ago.
5. Back on the subject of Jon Venables. This article sums up perfectly all my thoughts on the matter, so I won’t go into any more depth, except to reiterate this quote: “Hang on to justice, don’t confuse it with “vigilante vengeance”.” – Hadley Freeman of the Guardian.
6. I have set up a petition to try and convince the government to bring back funding for equal or lower qualifications. I intend to do some promoting and writing to various organisations (universities, the NUS, that sort of thing) but please help me by signing it and spreading the word. It is a very bad idea and it is already doing a lot of harm. The univeristies are doing their best to get it changed but if we can help by showing them the weight of public opinion is behind them, then so much the better.
7. Happy Mothering Sunday to all those mums out there, especially mine. I may not believe in the religious basis of the festival, but I can still celebrate motherhood. I love you.
1. I think miscellany might be my most favourite word of all time .
2. Along with tautology, of which that was an example.