Information and communication technology is a vital system in the functioning of any community or society. Until relatively recently skills and knowledge were passed on from master to apprentice, teacher to pupil, and preacher to congregation by example and orally. This was a very personal process with group or tribal leaders aware that knowledge was power. It was essential to maintain the unity and identity of the group through origin legends and history, which had to be passed on from generation to generation unaltered. This need was met by the elevation of a class of learned men who memorised those legends and history, and passed them on to students who after many years could also pass on the knowledge word-perfect. This human memory and word might be described as the first ICT. The important and enduring elements were accuracy and truth. News was spread in the same way with travellers visiting hamlets, villages, towns, manors and castles. The service they provided was so valued that they were treated as honoured guests with free hospitality. Entertainment was also provided in the same way with travelling troubadours. Story-tellers were welcome visitors in rural communities, going from cabin to cabin, sat beside the firelight at night imparting fables, myths and legends, and the latest popular story. This was happening up to one hundred years ago. All imparting – impartial and accurate – information, education and entertainment, much like the British Broadcasting Corporation is supposed to do by virtue of its Charter. Read the rest of this entry »
George Osborne’s second budget of the year has produced much comment and even those who are critical of it have to admit that he has been bold. It is extremely complex and George’s budget speech does not do justice to the full extent of the changes that he has proposed. All budget speeches are pure theatre with the need to spring a head-line grabbing surprise, in this case the introduction of the National Living Wage, which aims to trump the Labour opposition. The Chancellor is lauded for having purloined Labour’s clothes, as if Labour had invented the Living Wage. Even the Civic organisations that have championed the Living Wage are johnnie-cum-latelys, and years behind Pius XI who promoted the concept of a fair Family Wage in the 1930s. Osborne’s renaming of the Minimum Wage does not make it a real wage that an individual can live on and it is nowhere near the amount that would enable a traditional family to follow a traditional lifestyle. What he has done is reset the minimum level for next April at the amount it would have been at if it had kept pace with inflation. To be a real Living Wage it would be necessary to add another 80p to the £7.20, and by 2020 his target of £9.00 would need to be at least £10.00.
Today is Canada Day. Our best wishes go to all those Canadian citizens celebrating their national day. Garda were called to the quayside at Cobh in response to a report that a man was trying to row away from the quay while his boat was still tied up. When questioned, and although inebriated, he was able to reply that he was off to drink Canada Dry. It is not known whether he was a local from Cork or a Canadian. Two years ago on Canada Day the new Governor of the Bank of England took up office. It is reported that he travelled to work via the London Underground. Mark Carney is a Canadian citizen and was previously the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Although born in the Northwest Territories, he is also an Irish Citizen due to his Irish ancestry. He has brothers and a sister named Sean, Brian and Brenda. He was born on 16th March 1965. One day later and he might have been baptised Patrick. In that case we would have been discussing Patrick-ism.