I’ve been quite dependent on public transport to visit my mum. Journeys take a minimum of 90 minutes: bus to Worcester city centre, then an hour by bus directly to the hospital – or over an hour by train (with two changes) to Redditch, then another bus to the hospital. Coming back is complicated – and made more expensive – by direct buses not running after 4pm and buses from Worcester city centre to the house not running after 6:30pm. (They don’t run at all on Sundays!) And of course it’s all been made much less fun by the flooding.
I need to thank eleanor.scot and my brother for many lifts, especially when the hospital called me and him in at 1am one morning. Hairy in several ways!
But there is a point to this post!
eleanor.scot understood that I need an easy way to travel in Worcester that doesn’t involve bringing Lev Davidovitch Bikestein here. His home is Edinburgh, although he does love European jaunts and he has been known to take me from Birmingham New St station to Worcester. Add to that it’s just a PITA to book bike-spaces on trains. So ever-wonderful eleanor.scot has bought me a folding bike for my birthday! Accessories are from my mother, sister and brother.
‘Nikita’ is a Raleigh Evo-2 with 20″ wheels and 7 derailleur gears. (He gets his name because Mr Kruschev folded under pressure from Mr Kennedy.) Here are photos of unboxing to final assembled beast, and a video of our first ride.
I’ve just applied for some digital democracy work. (Yes, that is a hint!) My covering email (slightly adapted below) says I can do some stuff.
I’m passionate about democracy and IT, especially in hyperlocal democracy (community councils, parish councils, and similar).
Professionally, I’m a part-time social informatics researcher at Edinburgh Napier University, concentrating on use of the internet by, and information literacy in, hyperlocal democracy. See more at https://www.napier.ac.uk/people/bruce-ryan
My reward for all of this is nut roast with roasted potatoes, onions, sprouts and carrots. You have been warned!
Spinning at LifesCycle. We cheated slightly by travelling by bus, due to the rain. I usually prefer to cycle there and back, as warm-up and cool-down from the lovely madness. (Elly and I are on the front-left bikes of that Facebook video.)
much-needed coffee and lunch
catching up with personal and family finances, sadly neglected for a couple of weeks due to work-pressures
washing our manky spinning gear. That’s the only downside!
tidying my desk area after weeks of needing to let rubbish build up
avoiding watching Strictly Come Dancing
writing a presentation on a project I’m about to finish, so I can demonstrate the outcomes to a high-powered audience. (I think I should not say what the project is just now, but I will blow my own trumpet as hard as I can when the work goes live.)
proofreading and commenting on a tender written by my ever-wonderful better half.
I’m interested in local government finance mostly because of my interest in participatory budgeting (PB), especially £EITH CHOOSES. This leads to the question ‘where does PB money come from?‘ I’m also interested in how Scottish local government will ‘mainstream’ PB, leading me to consider ‘what budgets will be opened up to citizen input?‘, ‘how will this be done?‘, ‘how will citizen-control be squared with statutory requirements?‘.
On a personal level, I’m curious about how Edinburgh Council (CEC) decides how to spend its (our!) money, not least because it needs to make massive savings in 2019-20 onwards. I’m concerned about the effects this will have on me, on my adopted home city and above all, the many people who absolutely need government services and benefits. So I jumped at the chance to take part in a budget group challenge last Thursday.
(I’ve been interested in participatory budgeting since at least 2015, thanks to Ali Stoddart‘s talks at the digiCC events I organised, and subsequent conversations with the Democratic Society. Until recently, I’ve not had much direct involvement but am now on the £EITH CHOOSES steering group.)
After much hard work by the steering group and others, £EITH CHOOSES 2018-19 is open to applications. The closing date for applications is 21 January 2019. Continue reading →
Thursday’s tribunal decided that my sister qualifies for personal independence payments (PIP) at the standard rates for both ‘daily living’ and ‘mobility’. (These are explained here.) This qualification is backdated to the date that her disability living allowance payments ceased, and has no time limit. The tribunal judge stated that this is because her condition is unlikely to change. Continue reading →
(with thanks to Liam Bell for feedback on the first draft.)
On Tuesday 12 June, I was at a workshop organised by the Scottish Government (SG) to consider how lessons from e-voting, as used in participatory budgeting (PB), can inform SG’s investigations of how e-voting might be used in Scottish elections. A key theme of the discussion was how a system that would initially be used for PB voting could be set up so that it would ‘naturally’ evolve to be used for other voting ‘use-cases’.
It’s not my aim to describe what others said at the meeting: a scribe took detailed notes and I hope that a transcript will be published soon. However, I hope this post will describe my thinking, and how it’s evolved a bit since I last wrote about e-voting. Continue reading →
This post is the first of two – the second will be an attempt to crystallise my thoughts about e-voting that bubbled up after Brian’s seminar. However, for now, this post is an attempt to show why Brian’s seminar was such a positive experience for me, but it is not an attempt to record all that Brian said. My reactions are in blockquotes. Continue reading →
As many will be acutely aware, despite the many public objections to the proposal, the battle to save Edinburgh’s iconic Old Royal High School has not yet been won. The developer behind the plan to turn the Old Royal High School into a luxury hotel has refused to accept the unanimous decision of -elected members of Edinburgh Council, with the result that we are forced to engage in a lengthy and expensive process as we go through the appeal process.
The matter is now to be decided by Scottish Ministers at a Public Inquiry – which results in significant legal costs for those objecting to the hotel. Continue reading →