How has the Web changed things for parents? – a video from Switched On Families


This video was posted recently on Youtube and on the Guardian website here.

This was originally created as part of the Virgin Media group’s actions to support consumers, particularly in the use of the web and digital media.

So they created the Switched On Families resource:

Switched on Families is about giving parents clear, honest, useful (and sometimes even fun) support to make sure your family gets the best from the web.

…and covers information for parents on all the big digital issues like who to trust, digital addition, what to share, and how to play nice online. This information is filtered by child development stages and also features videos with families talking about the choices they’re making online.

Well done to Virgin Media for making this available.

[Disclosure – I’m not a Virgin Media customer – just a parent appreciating this helpful resource]

Education, Education, Education – Hmm, Hmm, Hmm



“Education, Education, Education” a slogan made famous by Tony Blair at the 1996 Labour party conference .

(“Ask me my three main priorities for government, and I tell you: education, education, education.” – 1 October 1996, Labour party conference speech)

Now some eighteen years later, there are still struggles we face to get the balance right around personal and private choice.

Perhaps you feel strongly about an area of your personal privacy or choice being removed or gradually eroded?  Then don’t acquiesce, and allow such regulations and restrictions to become the unchallenged norm in your culture, and lifestyle.  Now more than ever, individuals have the options to speak out and challenge these issues and campaign for redress.

For example write to your MP via Writetothem

You still have choice, to stay quiet or to speak out – use it wisely!

BigChurchNightIn – Manchester

The BigChurchNightIn event (1st of 2) in Manchester tonight! (22nd Nov 2013)  (Looking forward to it loads!)



It’s taking place at !Audacious Church Manchester, and will feature the !Audacious Church Band, and headline acts from Martin Smith and Leeland.

Here’s a video preview of the event:

BigChurchNightIn 2013–Martin Smith & Leeland


Martin Smith is of course well known as the lead singer from the group Delirious?

Leeland are a Christian rock band from Baytown, Texas

Here are a couple of my favourite tracks from Leeland:

Leeland – I Wonder


Leeland – Carry me on your back

There’s also the 2nd BigChurchNightIn event on the 5th of December – which features Stuart Townend and Philippa Hanna – so there’s another opportunity to catch some great music!

HopeforJustice– Happy 5th Birthday!

Happy Birthday and Congratulations to HopeforJustice for another great year!


Here is their “Hope News” celebratory video:

Hope News–Nov 2013

From HopeforJustice

This month we’re celebrating 5 years of rescues and lives restored! We’ve changed the lives of over 200 modern day slaves and started to build a rescue network that will leave perpetrators nowhere to hide!

Here’s to many more rescues!

Link to last years note

On Restrictions

There have been a couple of campaigns that I’ve supported recently:

The Gagging Law:

The Campaign to prevent the “Gagging Law” (Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill) going through Parliament in its current state – which would seriously restrict and curb the ability of a large variety of organisations and bodies to lobby and campaign in a period preceding an election by imposing strict funding and activity criteria.

because it threatens to stifle public debate on policies that affect people’s lives in the year of an election. This is because the Bill includes a very wide definition of campaigning for “electoral purposes”. It means that, in the year before an election, if Oxfam campaigned on a policy that impacted on the lives of poor people – on the impacts of climate change, or on tax avoidance – and one political party supported our policies but another didn’t we could be seen as campaigning “for electoral purposes” and be breaking the law.

Despite serious concerns being raised by charities, think tanks, unions, civil society organisations and the Electoral Commission, the Bill has passed through the House of Commons and is moving to the House of Lords next week without changes Oxfam sees as critical in allowing us to run campaigns on crucial policies in election years.

See Oxfam >> link

Complete the survey for “The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement” >> here

Education & Term Time Holiday Rules:

Secondly one that imposes strict conditions and limitations of term absence (holiday) that can taken while a child is in education (term time family holiday rules under The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006)).

Ok there is the cost based aspect – the general holiday period are accompanied by inflated travel prices.  But as the campaign note says:

Doesn’t the government think that holidays can be a source of education? Two years ago I took my 6 year old to Rome on holiday and he loved it. Soon he will be doing a project on Romans at school. He can say that he has been there and to Pompeii. If this isn’t education then what is ? The government are so narrow minded.

This petition is being handed in to the Department of Education next Wednesday 30th of October 2013 in London at 12.00 pm and everyone that would to be there would be very welcome.

Support and Sign the Petition >> here

My Thoughts:

There seems to be too much effort from the government to remove the ability to think independently from the public.  Aided and abetted by not enough thorough thinking on the whole spectrum of implication on the results of these bills by the government itself.  This is far from the free-thinking democracy and reasonable and “lawful” self-determination that voting electorate should be receiving from the elected representatives and civil service.

Update on Gagging Law:

The UK Government has postponed the bill to re-think aspects of the bill further.

Here are newspaper articles reflecting on this decision:

Apart from all the prose about the implications and politics – I find these statistics pretty interesting:

A few statistics have been plaguing MPs for some time. The National Trust has four million paying members; 38 Degrees has 1.9 million (we don’t have to pay subs but sometimes do anyway); many animal or wildlife charities boast 500,000 members. Membership of political parties, meanwhile, has fallen to 1%, or under 500,000 (in the three main parties combined). This means there are more people who care about birds than who can get meaningfully exercised about the victory of any particular candidate.

It really shows how and what people are engaging in, or not as the case may be, and politics – by membership of a party isn’t one of them.


Anti-Slavery Day (2013)

This video has been released by HopeforJustice on Anti-Slavery Day to high light the on-going issue that needs our support.

Every Good Father–Anti-Slavery Day (2013)


Raise awareness of this brutal crime and join the fight to end modern day slavery.

Just share this simple and powerful tale of one man falling into devastating exploitation.

Success of Unearth the Truth campaign (Tearfund)

We Unearthed the Truth

This is great news and shows the impact of campaigning and lobbying to increase the transparency of accounting for natural resources companies.

With over 40,000 actions from supporters, Unearth the Truth has been an amazing campaign to be a part of – and it worked!

On 12 June, the European Parliament passed new laws to fight corruption in the oil, gas and mining industries, with the potential to release billions of pounds to tackle poverty.

After months of hard work by MEPs, MPs, NGOs and campaigners, the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives were formally accepted in the European Parliament in June. As a result of this new legislation, extractives companies must now ensure that they publish what they pay on a project-by-project basis for extractive projects over 100,000 Euros, which will mean that local communities can track mining in their area and that there are no exemptions for any company.

This will have a huge impact on citizens living in developing countries, who will now be in a better position to hold their officials in Government to account for the ways in which they spend natural resource revenues.

Watch the video:

We Unearthed the Truth

Highlights from Big IF London – June 2013

On Saturday 8 June 2013, tens of thousands of people gathered in Hyde Park for the Big IF London rally. They were there to make a massive noise in demanding that G8 leaders – meeting in Northern Ireland on 17-18 June 2013 – take action to tackle global hunger and save the lives of millions.

Speakers on the day included Bill Gates and Danny Boyle amongst others…

Here are some video and photo highlights of the event.

Big IF London: Tearfund
Big IF London: thank you
Big IF London–installation timelapse

A video of why this action is needed and should be supported:

Big IF Belfast–15th June 2013


The next event took place on the 15th June in Belfast, where the G8 leaders meeting was held. Lets pray and hope that the clear message sent to the G8, from people of all ages and from all parts of society, is taken on board in word and action.

The IF response summary to G8 session was:

Sally Copley, Enough Food For Everyone IF spokesperson, said:

“Today’s G8 tax deal is a step in the right direction, but it also leaves major unfinished business.” 

See more at: IF G8 Response