Archive for April, 2004

The European Constitution

Tonight I went to watch a debate between a Conservative MEP candidate and a Liberal Democrat counterpart on the proposed European constitution. It was organised by the Lib Dems and a group in favour of a federal Europe so the conservative speaker, Jeremy Middleton was quite brave to show up. I thought he did a good job and was a good, clear, charismatic public speaker.

Fiona Hall, the Liberal Democrat speaker was also quite clear, she was a bit too keen to score party political points in my opinion but she did make interesting comments – I learnt things I didn’t know this evening.

It seems to me that you really have to wait for the document to be finalised before you decide whether it’s a good thing or not but on an emotional level I’m all for it and assuming there’s no detail in the final draft that I can’t stomach I’ll not only be voting for it but actively campaigning amongst friends and family.

If a single country passes a law that can adversely affect a business, for example regulating pollution or limiting employee working hours it will disadvantage that country compared to its major trading partners but the same law implemented Europe wide would be much less damaging. Of course such laws have to be kept carefully in check, we still need to be productive and I’m not arguing for more business-hostile laws, but having those regulations that are warrented on a wide an area as possible can only be a good thing.

It also makes sense to me that Europe has a constitution to regulate which powers are held at a state level and which are Europe wide etc. I learnt for the first time tonight that the constitution would allow national parliaments as opposed to just ministers to have input into the drafting stages of European law. That change and the fact that the phrase “…ever closer union” would no longer appear in European treaties makes it slightly surprising that the most vocal opponents of the constitution are the Euro-sceptics.

I guess we’ll here a lot about it before the referendum. I wonder how far away it will actually be?

Starting out…without the outrage.

I’ve had an online diary before but I guess that doesn’t count as a blog so this is my first. I think that my entries will be sporadic, coming in bursts every now and again, rather than the gentle trickle of most blogs or the roaring tide of the most prolific. Because I am a geek, many of the posts here will talk about computers but in case people want to screen such entries out, I’ve created a separate technology category.

When I decided to start a blog, I wasn’t sure whether to write anonymously or not. I decided not to because I don’t think that most of the content will be very outrageous but also because when I do write about my opinions, I decided that I wanted to take responsibility for them.

Yesterday I went to school for the last time. Although I am still a student, I had been part of a pilot project and was helping to teach in a secondary school, part time. I wasn’t the most gifted teacher but I did enjoy my time there; when one of the pupils handed me a card which she’d got all her class to sign I was really moved. I’ll miss teaching, it was certainly a change from my day-today routine. Before I started at the school I had heard a lot of horror stories about what life was like as a teacher. On my first day I would have worn a flak jacket if I’d owned one and taken up an offer of a UN peace-keeping force. I only really interacted with the top-sets, and in those classes the students were, to my surprise, polite and well-behaved and a subset of them seemed genuinely interested. I hope they all do well in their exams. I wonder if I’ll cross paths with any of them in the future?

If any science teachers read this, maybe a couple of small programs I made while at school might be interesting to you. They’re free! Why not have a look?