Monday, September 30, 2013


I was on TV tonight. Admittedly, I was only in the audience, I didn't speak, and in fact you only catch a very brief glimpse of me as the camera pans across the audience (I was sat back left), but I was at the BBC studio in Glasgow for the filming of an episode of Newsnight Scotland focused on the arts. (I believe anyone in the UK can watch for the next week here.)

I was surprised how much waiting around there was. We were told to turn up around 5:45 and certainly by 6:15, for filming to start at 7:30. I assumed we'd get some extensive briefing or something but for the most part we did nothing until around 7 (though those who had been pre-selected to ask questions may have received some further advice).

Friday, September 06, 2013

Democracy Max

The Electoral Reform Society has recently released this video-clip of events in Scotland. I was at the People's Gathering in Edinburgh - though you can only just about see me at the back, towards the left, around 2:30. There's a much clearer shot of me at one of the public events in Stirling, at 4:35 (perhaps not the most flattering shot, but you can see that I'm talking).

There was a previous video of the Edinburgh People's Gathering, using much of the same footage, but in which I am more clearly visable - albeit behind a flipchart - around 1:40-2:00 and again, standing on the right, at the very end.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Are We Being Lied To?

Apparently - according to this BBC story - a good number of buttons on pedestrian crossings do nothing, as crossings are often automated, at least part of the time. This isn't simply in response to traffic. Some stops in North London are timed to avoid Jews having to operate them on the Sabbath!

The article focuses on whether we're being lied to when buttons don't actually do anything. I'm not sure I've ever been clearly told, by someone in charge of them, that the buttons do something; the authorities need only give the instruction 'press the button and wait for the green man' which is reasonable advice, even if the button may do nothing in some cases.

I found the brief comments on jaywalking more interesting, given that I've recently been thinking about paternalism and cases like Mill's bridge-crosser. Martin Low, transport commissioner for Westminster City Council, apparently thinks that we should allow individuals to judge for themselves whether it's safe to cross.