Sunday, 13 May 2012

Writers Wanted!

About a week ago my other Blog Voices of the 7 Billion experienced what can only be described as a total technological meltdown, which resulted in every post, page and user account being deleted. Thank you Wordpress. After a mild heart attack and bout of sobbing from Edward and I respectively, we decided to take our metaphorical lemons and make them into metaphorical lemonade. How you may ask? Well, we have decided to use this erm 'opportunity' to start over with the site.
All of our previous contributors have been contacted and many have been able to resubmit their articles so that we can create an 'archive' section to the site. However, Edward and I are now looking for people who want to contribute to our site. You can either choose to write on a weekly, fortnightly or ad hoc basis. No experience in writing or journalism is required as long as you can write to a good standard of English we will take you. We are both also happy to offer feedback and advice for those who want it. The site is non-aligned politically so those of any political persuasion can contribute and we are also looking for people to write about things other than politics.
If you think that you may be interested in writing for us then drop us a line we are on Facebook, Twitter and Email and we will send you more details about the project.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Citation Need?

It turns out that I am a Wikipedia Citation. Well not me exactly, but something that I wrote on a Film Blog about a year ago about 7 Brand New Russian films that I think the public should watch.
Earlier today while I was doing research for my dissertation I went to Wikipedia to read their article on Russian Cinema to see if it may list any films or ideas that I did not know about. Having scanned the article I headed to the external links section and discovered my article has been listed as one that should be read as further reading! To put it mildly, I was more than a little surprised and pleased. This means that anyone who reads this article will technically be advised to read my post.
The next step is to work out how to use this site as a reference in my dissertation :P Nothing quite like a bit of shameless self-promotion....

Saturday, 5 May 2012

And the winner is....

After what can only be described as one of the tenser nights that I have spent in a pub the results of the 2012 elections are in and it is just as I hoped Boris Johnson has won another 4 years as the Mayor of London. In a night that saw technological failures, several recounts and some very nervous looking activists the news came as welcome relief.
This election saw some surprise results in London and elsewhere in the UK. In London it must have come as a bit of a shock to the Lib Dems to see Brian Paddick come in 4th after being beaten by the Green Party. After being defeated by Boris for a second time Ken Livingstone has now officially resigned from Politics. The voter turn out for London was a rather disappointing 38%. However, on the plus the BNP lost their seat on the GLA and their seats in various other councils.
Outside of the M25 the Conservatives lost a large number of councils to Labour reflecting Labour's 11% lead in the polls. The Lib Dems suffered too and it looks like Call me Dave and Calamity Clegg may be in need of a reshuffle and may need to come up with some fresh ideas.
That's my rather brief summary of the results. Now back to the dissertation, can concentrate now that I know London is safe for another 4 years.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Voting is Important

When people ask me why it is that I am interested in politics and vote in elections when this is seen as something nerdy and 'uncool', they are often met with a stare of disbelief and the answer 'do I really need to answer that question?'
As far as I am concern voting in an election is one of the most important things a person can do. We in the UK are lucky enough to be able to have a range of candidates on offer, be able to vote for the party we choose and not risk threats or physical violence on the way to the polling station. Free and open elections are NOT something that should be taken for granted.
Around the world people have fought and even died trying to get the right to vote in a free and open election. Over the last year the news has been filled with images of the various uprisings during The Arab Spring. Not to mention the thousands of Russians who marched through the streets of Moscow in temperatures of - 20 to show their displeasure at potentially having Putin as their President until 2024. And don't forget the people of Burma who had to wait over 20 years to be able to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi to be elected to their parliament. I'm sure these people would totally understand you not wanting to vote because it's not 'cool', not.
One thing that particularly annoys me is women who cannot be bothered to vote. Less than 100 years ago women believed so strong that just because they had a uterus did not mean that they should not get a vote that they were prepared to protest, starve, face imprisonment or even through themselves under horses just to prove their point. I'm sure that Emmeline Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes would be delighted to see that all their sacrifices and hard work are so easily taken for granted.
Apathy is perhaps the most dangerous thing possible. All it takes is an apathetic majority and an active extremist minority to win an election and the UK could become like Germany in 1930 or like the Government shown in 'V for Vendetta'. As the saying goes 'People should not fear their Governments, but Governments should fear their people.'
It is one thing to not really be interested in politics to a level where you obsessively read manifestos or pay to join a part, but it is entirely another to not vote in an election because 'it's not cool' or 'it's wet outside' or 'I can't be bothered'. By not exercising your right to vote you are effectively wasting an opportunity that people the world over would do anything to have. Tomorrow is polling day, please make sure to get down to yours and don't waste something that people have fought and died trying to obtain.


As often happens when I am studying I get peckish and bored, so in an attempt to stop myself from feasting on chocolate, crisps and other such delights I decided to look through my kitchen cupboard and see what I had the ingredients to cobble together.
After much rummaging I discovered sugar, syrup, butter and a large sack of Scottish porridge oats so flapjacks it was! It had a while since I had last made them so a recipe was needed and the Good Food site greatly oblidged and is one that I would recomend:

4 oz Sugar, 6 oz butter, 1 desert spoon of syrup and 6 oz of Oats
Oven temperature:
Gas Mark 2 or 150 C
To start, place the sugar, butter and golden syrup together in a medium saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the porridge oats and a few drops of almond essence.
Now, press the mixture out over the base of the prepared tin, and bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before cutting into oblong bars. Leave until cold before removing the flapjacks from the tin, then store in an airtight container.

The further I get into my dissertation the more random my snacks will probably become, so standby for some more unorthodox recipes from Laura' Kitchen.