14th July 2005: Who rules the roost?

BBC Three has a TV programme for parents called Who Rules The Roost?. Tonight's episode featured the Punter family: Clive & Georgina. Both work full-time, and employ a nanny to look after their children. Very large house. BMW convertible and a Vauxhall Astra. (The cars don't reflect the size of the house - it's a very large farm house with all mod cons. They are clearly very successful at work, and are both ambitious.)
They don't seem to be parents at all - they are simply the owners of two children.
The programme starts with the mother taking 2 weeks off work to be a housewife; then the husband spends 2 weeks as a househusband.
She despairs at the state of the house, the need to put out the bins (well, she doesn't actually notice that, she just crams more into the kitchen bin!); she complains that the children don't go to bed on time and that she wants her space; the Nanny has dealt with all of this for her until now. Who's the parent?
They don't even seem to know their own children.

I'm not saying that both parents working full-time is necessarily wrong - these days, it's often a financial necessity. These particular parents, though, just seem to despise the fact that their children have needs, and that those needs don't fit in with the business experience they are used to dealing with.
I'm not a perfect parent; there is no such thing. At least I know my children and have a relationship with them.
On the TV programme, though, these kids see their dad drinking a bottle of Stella, so they want one - they don't have any idea about teaching these pre-schoolers about alcohol, but give them lemonade in a Stella bottle... until the mother gives her son a bottle of beer! These people appear to be adults with no idea about parenting.

Then it's the dad's turn. That is barely covered by the programme; he acknowledges that it's tough on the parent who returns home, as their stressful day is not recognised. He seems to recognise the link between working and being rather selfish, versus parenting and spending time with the kids. On returning home, Georgina gives the eldest boy (3?) a (watered-down) glass of wine!
At the end of the programme, the mother decides to leave her job to become a full-time Mum.
I'm not in any position to say that this is the right decision in every case, but I do believe that children should be brought up by their parents wherever possible, and this particular family certainly had no financial reason to say that it was not possible.

8th July 2005: OSS in the School

A school local to me, which my own nephew attended, has embaced open source software.
They are still using MS Windows clients (d'oh!) but are apparrently using Open Source software as servers - allowing them to reuse otherwise obsolete hardware. It is not specified what software they are using (presumbably GNU/Linux, possibly FreeBSD). They do plan "the eventual replacement of Windows by an OSS desktop", also. Go, Parrs Wood!

3rd July 2005: Live 8

I'm just filled up with music and goodwill.
I have to admit, that I hadn't been too sure - was it 'just a pop concert' but throughout the day, as I've been watching the events from around the world, the scale of this action has been gradually taking me over.
As it is a project of raising awareness, nobody can escape the scale of this event - it's not only taking place in the G8 countries, it's also a worldwide event - AOL and Nokia (as the sponsors) have helped to make this happen, but - in a rare aberration - have (sensibly) not made a big thing of it.
I've heard the phrase that 8 men in one room can change the world so many times recently, I didn't really think about it. Today, I realised that Messrs. Blair, Bush, et al, cannot avoid seeing this challenge from so many millions of people, to, as Nelson Mandela said today, "Do not look the other way, do not hesitate ... It is within your power to prevent a genocide."
Today has been truly historic, in a way which I had not fully apprecated until it happened.
The G8 leaders have a responsibility to respond to the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign.
Whilst it already had the backing of over 400 charities, this event, and the march to Edinburgh and Gleneagles, is the voice of the people.
Add your name to the Live8Live List of people who urge the G8 to:

  • double the aid sent to the world's poorest countries,
  • fully cancel their debts,
  • change the trade laws so that they can build their own future.
It's a simple form - just add your name to the list of millions.
The Powers That Be cannot ignore this - the more names the better. Remember, They Work For Us, not the other way around.

I've just heard that an estimated 5 Billion people - that is more than half the world's population - have heard the Live 8 event. Eight men in one room cannot ignore such a populace. Join us.

Random blog - July 2005
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