Ian ODonnell
Why voting is important

This stat caught my attention from the Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2013 report produced by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/monitoring-poverty-and-social-exclusion-2013:
"the proportion of pensioners in poverty is at its lowest for almost 30 years, but the proportion of working-age adults without children in poverty is the highest on record."

Now think about who (age wise) votes and who doesn’t. It doesn’t matter who is in power, the decision making about who will benefit most from budgets and fiscal planning policy will have a natural bias towards those who are most likely to act in the Polls as a result, hence at the moment we have a swing in favour of older voters as they are more likely to be influential in elections.

Demonstrates again the importance of us all going out and voting so that all demographics are equally considered! So make sure you make voice heard.

Ian O'Donnell - Shane O'Connor - BBC CWR Interview 03-09-2013
10 plays

Another interview from yesterday, on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire with Shane about hours worked by small business owners

BBC Radio 4 - Today 04/09/13: Business news with Simon Jack

I recorded an interview yesterday that was broadcast on BBC Today this morning. Unfortunately, as it was pre-recorded, I didn’t get to respond to the representative of Damos (http://www.demos.co.uk/) with whom I would like to discuss in more detail some of his points with which I disagree from what I hear on the ground from many small business owners.

Damos’ full report can be read here: http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/finance-for-growth

Anyway, for those of you who didn’t want to get up at 6:15 this morning, you can now take a listen to my “words of wisdom”.

Starbucks and all that

I’m not a Starbucks drinker really, I’m an Urban Coffee Co fan, but much of the talk on that particular company (of the three) is very misinformed. Many of the Starbucks shops are paying Corporation Tax as they are franchises ie stand alone businesses, so a boycott harms a local small business, employing local people and spending money in the local economy.

Also the media commentary, for all companies, talks about turnover figures. Turnover is irrelevant it just sounds big, you can make a massive turnover but still make very little profit which means a low Corp Tax bill or even a loss, so again it misinforms the audience comparing these two figures.

I’m all in favour of supporting local small businesses but I’m not sure the reasons given are entirely valid. Tax, at the end of the day, is a cost and any business should do everything it can to keep costs low! Keeping costs low, means business can grow hopefully employing more people, who remember are all paying tax and the company is also paying tax (NI) for every person it employs. So the companies are paying tax despite the current rhetoric.

So, in all the media buzz at the moment, as with anything, investigate a bit deeper before jumping on the bandwagon. Comments anyone?

Science makes God bigger, not smaller

Watching The Big Questions this morning I saw an example, yet again, of a straw man argument being setup to knock down.

 Their premise was that as science explains more of the vastness of the universe and the detail in the microscopic and sub atomic, that God is diminished. That as our understanding of “The How” increases, we no longer need God as we can “explain it all” by science.

 But they’re knocking down argument which is wrong to begin with, God isn’t a god of the gaps, he’s not a God to explain the things I can’t explain, which is what that argument sets him up to be.

 My relationship and belief in God actually inspires me to want to learn more, I’m always keen to know how something works. As I learn more, my God gets bigger. As I understand more of the wonders of creation, so God’s ability to know and hold all that in his hand adds to rather than diminishes him.

 You see, I don’t necessarily look to God to explain the how, I look to him for the “Why”. While science can explain the detail of how my DNA was able to define the detail my physical makeup and can explain the intricacies of my eyes ability to see, it cannot explain “The Why” I was made.

 Atheism would tell me that there is no why, that here and now is all there is. That’s definitely a discussion to have, though my beliefs and experience tell me there is more to life than that. But science doesn’t affect that argument one way or another, it’s just letting us all know the amazingness of “The How”.

 So however much popularistic TV debaters might want to tell us that science has  disproved God, remember, science just explains the wonder of “The How”. “The Why” remains something for you to decide for yourself, as for me the God of “The Why” is just getting more incredible as science unlocks more of the detail of “The How”. When the detail of the Higgs Bosun is unlocked and the detail of a planet which may sustain life is told, I’ll be praising God for the amazing universe he placed me in to enjoy.


Robots, Asimov fan to the core.

Language - expression of you

Just finished watching Stephen Fry’s Planet Word. A fascinating and whimsical, as only Stephen Fry can be, tour of language. Incredibly complex, except we learn it without even knowing how.

But I was caught by the comment made by a UN translator. Asked “wouldn’t it be easier if we all spoke the same language?” she answered (paraphrased) “language isn’t just communication, it’s an expression of our identity, it reflects the personality of the people who speak it”

Stephen Fry’s comment, as the program closed, is that the “Global Village” is threatening our current colourful tapestry of over 6000 languages spoken. While life may be simpler as a result, how much will we lose?

My sister, in her work with Wycliffe Bible translators, calls the mother tongue “the language of the heart”, if we homogenise our languages aren’t we losing something of our passion, our personality, our depth and our richness of our individual cultures? Won’t our inability to talk about our culture in a language that developed uniquely to express it inevitably lead to the loss of our individual cultures?

So thank you to the many language workers who work tirelessly to promote and capture the mother tongues of so many people groups, you’re not just helping them, but helping us all by promoting uniqueness.

Real wealth, certain wealth

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God."
(2 Timothy 6v17)
In light of all the recent news of stock market crashes and credit ratings dropped, this is a good reminder of where we an find certainty.

Journeys of Whimsy - SatNav at its best!

I love driving.

I love exploring.

For me, the journey can be as important as the destination.

Finding places unknown, the hidden gems which you often dash past in the rush to arrive.

So where does SatNav come in? If you’re in no hurry to be somewhere just try changing the settings to shortest distance (rather than time) and turn off the “use main roads”. All of a sudden your SatNav becomes a guide to places unknown, villages unvisited, backwaters forgotten about. Even better you can ignore it’s directions for a while turning down some little known tracks and be sure you can always get back on track!

So go on, take the road untraveled, with the aid of your SatNav!

The value of life

A weekend of tragedy, in Oslo, for Amy Winehouse and for Africa temporarily forgotten by the media but still suffering more than we can imagine.

The unfortunate reality is that with rapid media and fast news churn stories like these will be forgotten almost as quickly as they became news, while those affected by the tragedy will never forget.

But the real tragedy? I think we’ve ceased in many ways to be shocked and really affected by such events. Unless you have personal involvement, it’s so easy to have a feeling which is akin to “that’s a shame” and then switch off the TV, close the web page and forget. I know that can be my response, much to my shame.

But these are all lives, from richest to poorest, from untroubled to the really messed up, they were lives of inestimable value. Each time I see news like this maybe my next thought should be "For God so Loved the world", whether you believe or not, it does remind us that love should be at the centre of our response, that compassion should flow and it shouldn’t be easy to move on. The Bible’s story of Jesus tells of a person who took time to stop, to weep and to mourn. Do we?

Sometimes the world needs to slow down, sometimes we need to get stop. We need to de-callous our hearts. ”Mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice”. Take this moment to say and more importantly show “I love you” to those who are nearest and dearest. Tomorrow may be too late.