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Greece Corinth railway line with freight Energy is a commodity with variable value, it seems, depending on where you are. 'We Greeks,' said a fellow-traveller on the train as we journeyed out of Athens, 'could have free hot water and free lighting all year; but we prefer to pay for it... Why put an annual 2000 hours of sunshine to good use, when we can produce energy more expensively in other ways?' He was, of course, being ironic.

The train tracks from Athens to Corinth are shiny and new, and very impressive; but there is as yet little stock to run on them. The evidence of intention to develop the Peloponnese peninsula region's economy is plain. There are huge shunting areas and massive swathes of land ready for industrial investment and construction.

Sunshine is (almost) free
But where were the solar energy panels and, perhaps, the power windmills? We saw almost none.

It's not the business of visitors to a neighbour in the European Union to make critical comment. There are doubtless plenty of reasons why renewable energy is apparently not as yet the Next Big Thing in Greece.... but when you're from the UK and accustomed to the sort of sunshine which might, saved up, boil an egg (I jest, a little) for each of us over the year, the solar blessings of the Mediterranean seem to be a gift best put to good advantage.

Counting blessings
We all fail to see the benefits of things we're familiar with. It's more complicated than at first glance to convert sunshine into 'free' energy, but perhaps our train companion had a point.

Read more about Energy and Climate Change.

And a note too on Africa, where the issues are much more acute: Africa awash in sunlight, but not solar energy

Leading by umbrella How do people come to be leaders in their communities? Are they anointed or appointed? Do they take or earn the authority to represent their peers? What are the rationales behind their belief that they should lead? Do others agree? And what are their objectives, and why? It all depends on where you're coming from, and what sort of 'community' it is. So how should those who work in regeneration with communities and their leaders approach this complex and delicate issue?

The answer to these questions is, of course, that there is in fact No One Answer.

People come to be leaders through many different routes. For some authority and legitimacy is always a struggle. For others it just comes with who you are.

Different 'communities' for different purposes
This is a tale of different 'communities' in different places and at different times. Some communities are geographically based, some interest based, some economic, some cultural.

'Communities' can comprise locations defined by their mono-cultural base (whether Protestant, Punjabi or Presbyterian), whilst at the other end of the spectrum some exist only as loosely connected groups of people who enjoy Politics, Portsmouth City or Painting. Leadership in these different communities will obviously not be of just one kind.

Intentions and expected outcomes
The intended outcomes of the leadership role vary. Some people believe they're there to uphold tradition and (in their mind) maintain stability in an unstable world. Others seek to be leaders precisely so they can change things.

Traditional leaders and those (at the opposite end of the spectrum) who are of the 'change the world' tendency often to see their remit as wide. Others have more piece-meal and modest expectations, perhaps to improve things in a specific and direct way.

Authority to lead
The really interesting thing is that traditionalists and revolutionaries alike usually derive their authority from (what they perceive as) universal social values or mores. But those who seek more modest and specific changes tend to legitimise their positions in reasoned ways, perhaps in terms of the avoidance of harm or similar logically justifiable and rational objectives.

There is a chasm between those who exert overall authority as such - whether to maintain the status quo or radically to alter it - and those who seek to manage specific change, which they believe can be demonstrated to be for the better.

And these forms of influence are not randomly distributed. They tend to be associated with differences in community / cultural experience, age, gender and class. One person's assumption of power and influence may well become, without any such overt intention, another person's disempowerment.

Competing beliefs and challenges
Community leadership and wider social interests are sometimes hard to bring together in a world where there are competing beliefs about what legitimate authority in a community might be; and indeed about what constitutes a 'community'.

Here lies one of the biggest challenges for those of us who seek to work with people in their (and our) own localities. Delivering stability and change together is hard to handle well.

In diversity lies strength?
Where the bottom line is overt - in for instance FTSE 100 Board Rooms - the evidence is incontrovertible, that diversity of gender (e.g. The McKinsey Report: Women Matter) and culture enhances good decision-making.

But how can (or 'should') we apply that knowledge in communities where at present the bottom line is not overt (what exactly is being 'lead'?) and is certainly not up for discussion?

Read also
Social Diversity & Inclusion
and
'Workable' Regeneration: Acknowledging Difference To Achieve Social Equity ('Regeneration Rethink')

British Sociological Association (BSA) logo The British Sociological Association, founded in 1951, promotes the work of sociologists and social scientists as practitioners and scholars, in the UK and, through links, much further afield. Sociology offers an analysis which helps surprisingly large numbers of us make sense of what happens in our ever-changing world.

I recently re-joined the British Sociological Association, of which I was an Executive Committee member when I worked in further and higher education, much earlier in my career.

It's fascinating to see how things have evolved since that time, back in the 1980s.

Battles now won
Then we were battling to 'save' the Personal, Social and Health curriculum, which Sir Keith Joseph, then Secretary of State for Education under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was keen to remove or at the very least side-line. History in schools was to stop at 1945, the end of the Second World War and before the arrival in 1948 of the National Health Service (NHS) and Welfare State; Section 11 legislation made it almost professional suicide to teach about HIV / AIDS; the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) had to be renamed the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) lest anyone should think that social research was scientific - in retrospect a far cry attitudinally from current demands for 'evidence-based' policy at the highest levels.

All this we addressed, through the Executives of the BSA and other professional associations, via FACTASS, The Forum of Academic and Teaching Associations in the Social Sciences, of which I was Convenor. Now there is no need for FACTASS. We managed to hang on in there, and it's unlikely that any mainstream politician in any modern democratic country would want to see it otherwise; the PSHE curriculum and entitlement of children to understand their world is, along with positive resolution of the GCSEs-for-all debate, now established.

Fundamentals
But the fundamental emphases of the BSA on social equity; on understanding the interactive social constructions which give meaning to our daily lives, continue, developed and debated by people who have now spent a lifetime exploring how human societies and communities work and are understood by the people in them.

The 'classics' - gender, 'race' and ethnicity, age and life transitions, and social class - remain (alongside matters such as health and medicine, work and employment, and so forth) the fundamental building blocks of sociological analysis, keeping us constantly aware that big and sometimes invisible forces shape our day-to-day experience, even to the extent that they often determine our actual life expectancy.

New social analysis too
And beyond that, there is a new and critical emphasis on our physical world, on sustainability and green issues and how societies and communities will find themselves responding to the challenges we all face.

It may be too soon to say that Human Geographers and Sociologists have found completely common ground, but it looks as though a convergence may slowly be developing, after a decade or more when the gathering of empirical data on population change and socio-economic impacts was sometimes perceived to be enough to take governmental programmes and political policy forward.

Contextualising for the future
There is now a recognition that 'social research' must inform, e.g., environmental as well as community, health and education policies. (I was recently a co-author of the Defra Science Advisory Council report on Social Research in Defra - a fascinating and I hope very fruitful experience.)

The BSA, I note, has a growing Section (interest) Group on Sociologists Outside Academia (SOAg). I intend to sign up for it.

See more articles on Social Science , and
History Lessons Need More Than 'Hitler And Henry'
Social Geographers Take The Lead In Social Policy

08.05.11  computer keyboard 156x112  001a.jpg When did the World Wide Web emerge for most people? Around the Millennium? Like most things technical, it took off first amongst young men who enjoy gadgets.... who happen also in general to be less concerned with what was going on previously. So does History now begin in 2000? Will western culture and destiny henceforth be shaped by what the second generation web tells us?

A hunch today saw me typing the words 'cyber.history' into the Google search engine. I suppose I was not surprised that there are almost 5000 entries listed for that exact phrase.

Developing the idea
One of the most interesting entries I looked at was John Stevenson's cyber history collection and timeline, in which he cites commentary going back to 1945 (!) on what has become the world wide web. This fascinating list includes, of course, the ground-breaking insights of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, including his 1992 CERN paper on World-Wide Web: The Information Universe.

If you're a historian or a social scientist (as I am) looking at the development of science and technology, this is a rich seam ; and one indeed in which, as second generation blogging develops, many of us play our own tiny micro-parts.

Generational and other divides?
Despite the rise of the silver surfer, non-technically-directed people with memories at least as long as mine still form a very small element within the www community.

For most young people the www is the first port of call when information and ideas are sought; and most easily accessible content on the www is probably posted by (relatively) young people. When put alongside the reality that the www became popularly available only in about 2000, it begins to look inevitable that the Millennium just past is where History starts.

An open network
As Tim Berners-Lee, who has steadfastly insisted the www should be an open network, said in 2006:

'We're not going to be trying to make a web that will be better for people who vote in a particular way, or better for people who think like we do.....The really important thing about the web, which will continue through any future technology, is that it is a universal space.'

Lee-Berner's remark was made in response to serious concerns that the internet might become an unpleasant place of anonymous rumour and malicious intent. And he is right to be so worried, before it really is too late.

Losing the past
I would add to that my own concern that the www has permitted us to forget how far western societies have come in the past few decades, let alone the past century. Right now, life truly is better for most of us in the developed democracies than it has ever been. But will this good fortune last? And can it be shared?

Losing our pre-Millennium reference points would also result in the loss, at a time when our culture is already very immediate, of our sense of what has worked to make the world better, and what perhaps has not. This loss would make it more difficult to sustain what's good and to improve what's not good or what looks worrying.

Learning for the future
Things reshape and evolve all the time. It's now 40 years since the last time 'history changed', in that surreal summer of 1968. For some who witnessed it, what the lessons are remains a matter of debate.

I still hope the www will help more people of every sort of experience and background share what they know and have observed. We have only to look at the work of political scientists and historians such as Peter Laslett to realise what a better understanding, say, of pre-industrial society might have done for many current social concerns.

Contemporary sharing might encourage us all to reflect just sometimes on the historical medium and longer term, and on how we can learn from it to sustain what we optimistically call 'progress'.


Read more articles on:
Hilary's Weblog
Communicating
Pre-History / Herstory (1950-)

08.05.11  pink & black cotton reels  160x98  032a.jpg The Presidential potential of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is great. So how has this embarrassment of riches for Democrats in the USA seemingly become an advantage for John McCain and the Republicans, as the ‘race’ and gender agendas compete for dominance? Do progressive politics in race and gender need to collide?

The current – but perhaps soon to be resolved - contest for the Democratic Presidential nomination has revealed some aspects of the political process usually less visible to outside observers.

To understand what’s happening we probably need to look as closely at the (social) psychology of the evolving situation, as we do at the formal political process.

How did two of the most powerful and internationally visible advocates for equal rights find themselves head to head in the same contest? And what does it tell us about gender, 'race', and age in politics?

The prospect of candidature is daunting
Only the most stout-hearted would ever consider running for Presidential nomination. It’s a hiding to nothing for most contenders, it costs millions of dollars, and it requires vast amounts of personal time, energy, drive and gritty optimism.

So we’re not talking about ‘normal’ people when we consider Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

Testing the water
Sometimes, nonetheless, the time seems right.

For both Clinton and Obama the Bush administration’s record of failure offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Democrats to take the USA and the world by storm.

And for Clinton it represented the culmination – and justification - of a long period of influence on the global stage. She’d planned for several years to become the first ever female World Leader; and her experience gave her huge justification for this ambition.

Complex judgements
Obama’s situation was probably rather more complex. Did his family, worried about his safety, really want him to stand? Would his short time as a Senator be seen as inexperience or as a fresh face? Were race issues going to make things difficult?

But crucially, he will have asked himself, would there ever be a greater opportunity, a more open goal, for whoever was nominated by the Democrats? Best perhaps to put down a marker now....?

It has been said Obama promised his wife he’d only stand once. When could be better for establishing the first black President in office?

Firming the intent
There comes a time for all serious election candidates when they really believe they can win. Surrounded by supporters and campaign workers, they are, however inadvertently, at one remove from the cruel truth that there will be many losers but only one victor.

Presumably this moment came quite early on for Obama. He decided to stand and looks at present as if he will gain the Democratic nomination.

These are very delicate issues, but put bluntly, the contest appears to be developing – as surveys have largely shown – according to the usual lines.

Age, gender or race?
Both candidates have huge appeal to progressive Americans, eager to shrug off the turgid, backward-looking and deeply divisive Bush era. But there are differences not easily dismissed in who the two potential candidates ‘are’.

Clinton is an older (age 60), white woman, inevitably carrying the baggage which decades of deep political engagement bring.

Obama is younger, black and male; and his lack of baggage, because of the good fortune (at 45) of his comparative youth, compensates for his inexperience.

A hierarchy of preference
If things turn out as seems likely we shall have observed again the hierarchies which present in so many aspects of public life.

Given the opportunity to choose between two symbols of progressive - if not leftwing - politics, race is it currently appears perhaps less of an issue (overall?) for the electorate than gender.

Could it be that this consideration in some way enhanced Obama's enthusiasm for standing so relatively early in his political career? (Earlier in his career he reportedly told a male colleague, Jesse Jackson Jnr., that he, Obama, would only contest a Senate seat if the other man did not.)

Discomforting agendas
Many people across the free world - including me - would like to see Clinton and Obama together on the world stage, running side-by-side as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates. They are as good, in the context of US realpolitik, as it gets.

For some of us there remains nonetheless an unbidden sadness in the realisation that, even now, the odds are apparently stacked against a (any?) woman. More than half the population of the USA is female (an estimated 153 million, of a total population of nearly 302 million - of whom 240 million are 'white'); but there is - unless you consider Chelsea? - no immediately obvious female presidential successor to Hillary Clinton, if or when she pulls out.

Seeing things longer-term
To many younger people it seems Obama looks the more attractive option, for the reasons we have considered above. Some of us who have been involved in the equal rights movement for decades may, however much we genuinely want to see equality in 'race' just as much as we want to see gender, go along with that judgement with a heavy heart.

Perhaps the truth is this: Gender becomes more oppressive for many women as they experience full maturity - it's when hard 'family vs career' choices have to be made that the full force of being biologically female hits one. (And how many women under, say, 35 are ever going to run for president?)

On the other hand, for people of 'minority' race, especially if they're educated men, maybe the oppression lessens a little as maturity approaches and one's destiny is more one's own? I would like to think so, anyway - and would be interested to learn more from those who can speak directly about this.

Squaring the circle
These are delicate and difficult matters to discuss.

We are all a product of our individual genetic makeup, and of our socio-economic background, age and culture. No-one is immune from these influences; but everyone is fundamentally entitled to shape and take charge of their own way in life. To enable this to happen requires a very firm commitment, embedded at every level of society, to respect for equality and diversity.

To repeat: Progressives are seemingly spoilt for choice. Both Clinton and Obama are hugely refreshing and talented alternatives to the usual presidential offerings. Either would serve the equality and diversity agenda - so very essential for our future well-being and sustainability - really well.

A step forward or a step back?
But some of us, in spite of our earnest and well-meaning selves, are a bit weary of being the majority which is always and apparently irredeemably second in the race. Especially when, as is the truth for Hillary Clinton, we were there first.

How can feminists - advocates of a progressive perspective which at its best will always seek equality for everyone, female and male, black and white, aged and youthful - cope with the evidence apparently emerging that voters still prefer not to select a woman, if other progressive choices are available? (And, probably, those other candidates have recognised, and can benefit from, this usually unexamined preference...)

As Marie Cocco of the Washington Post puts it, we are now facing the 'Not Clinton' Excuse - and that could put things back a very long time.

A challenge Obama must resolve
Somehow the putative President Obama must show this is a challenge to his progressive credentials, and to the inner feelings of many disappointed women who in other respects share his progressive position, which he understands and can accommode.

Perhaps in the current situation the best we can hope for immediately is that Hillary Clinton is acknowledged by Barack Obama in some seriously meaningful way.

The worst possibility is that an extended and exhausting Clinton-Obama contest gives John McCain the opportunity he seeks to slip through the middle and retain the Presidency for the Republicans later this year.


Read more articles about
Social Inclusion & Diversity
Gender & Women.

08.05.13 Synaesthetic 'Jewels' 124x120 031a.jpg The Balanchine ballet Jewels, premiered in 1967, was this genre's first three-act abstract work. Connecting the parts only through the artifice of contrasting gem colours - emeralds and the music of Faure, rubies with Stravinsky and finally diamonds, set in gold and white and silver to the rich tones of Tchaikovsky. This great performance art is synaesthesia in action, a gorgeous blending of colour, sound and movement which sometimes overwhelmed my own senses and occasionally did not.

Seeing Jewels performed this week by the Kirov Ballet at The Lowry, I was struck by how particular are the individual perceptions of synaesthetes.

Comparing performances
Having had the extraordinary good fortune also to have seen the Kirov Ballet, again with the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, in the New York City Center just a month ago, I could compare my response to their performance then of shorter pieces and narrative ballet - Fokine's Le Spectre de la Rose, the exquisitely danced Dying Swan and Chopiniana - with that of the Lowry 'abstract' Jewels ballet programme.

These previous pieces had a logic and formulation quite independent of my own. Only when I was presented in The Lowry with the overt conjunction of colour, sound and movement for its own sake did I become aware yet again of my life-long synaesthetic tendency.

One-off perceptions
Put simply, I can immerse myself in a ballet story according to someone else's prescription. The creator of the dance has the floor.

But when confronted with another's interpretation of what sounds 'look like' and how music 'moves', I'm at a bit of a loss to understand how the colours and jemstones were selected. Faure is not emerald, he's citrine and alexandrite; Stravinsky is indeed quite ruby, but with deep-toned garnet, and his undertone is a fierce andesine-labradorite, not creamy gold; and whilst I can cope with Tschaikovsky as diamond, gold and silver, I'd rather he were the bluest sapphire and Brazilian tourmaline.

Synaesthesia
All of which tells us nothing, except this: synaethesia is an individual thing, and it's quite involuntary.

For me, this aesthetic confusion is just quite an interesting aspect of my perception, when I have occasion to notice it (most of the time, it's just too much part of my daily experience to be aware of). But for some few very gifted people it's obviously a central and compelling force in their lives.

... and creativity
I dare say Balanchine was a synaesthete; how else could he have dreamt up Jewels?

The multi-sensory neural wiring of synaesthesia, though probably less unusual than was first thought, can be challenging on occasion. Nonetheless it's surely a blessing for us all, not least when it results in the creation of performances which exist solely to celebrate art forms for their own sake.

Sometimes it's good - in our various and individual ways - to see art just as art.

Women listening 121x102 4459aa.jpg Just 90 years ago on this date was the first time any woman in the UK was 'allowed' to vote. Some people still alive now were born when women's emancipation did not exist; and even in 1918 the Representation of the People Act permitted only specified women over 30 this privilege. It was to be another ten years before women gained equal voting rights with men.

From the time of the Representation of the People Act of 6 February 1918 until the Equal Franchise Act of 2 July 1928, despite this and other first and desperately hard-fought victories, democratic voting rights were still not equal between men and women.

But that was by no means the end of the fight for formal equality. It was, extraordinarily, not until 30 April 1958 - a date still easily within the memory of many people - that the Life Peerages Act enabled just four women gained entry to the House of Lords.

Not there yet
So progress has indeed been made towards women's equality in the past century. No longer are women paid less in, or indeed debarred if they marry from, professions like teaching; no longer does the law formally and overtly permit differences in the way women and men stand before it.

But still much remains to be done. As Katherine Rake, Director of the Fawcett Society, says in her Guardian interview this week:
We have done as much as we can levering women into a system designed by men for men. Now we have to work for a society where the rules are fitted for everybody.... There has been a huge change in women's lives, but very little in men's. [To make further progress] we have got to look at what happens in men's lives.....

Even now, these battles continue, worldwide....

Unapologetically feminist
So I make no apology for being a long-time committed feminist. Half a century after women's first step towards full emancipation, the feminist agenda of 1968 was a turning point as I entered adulthood. But the year 2008 still sees a long road ahead.

In my lifetime much has changed; but not enough.

Whilst, for example, the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act brought about a fairer situation for women requiring maternity leave (and , thereby, their partners and families) - though it was too late for some of my friends and me.

Still unequal in work and in power
But gender equality in the workplace is even now nowhere near achieved. British women in full time work are still paid on average 17% less than men similarly employed; and when part-time the difference between men and women is 36%.

And in national politics, where the big decisions are made, women remain even now a minority. The 2005 General Election saw 128 women elected in an assembly of 644, most of them - as Theresa May, a leading Conservative, herself acknowledged, from the Labour Party. (As at the end of 2006, of 712 Lords, 139 were women.)

Gender fatigue there may well be; but this is no time for inaction.

A way to shape the future
There remain enormous gaps, for both men and women, in parts of our lives which, whatever the legal frameworks, still have to be addressed. Men and women remain unequal, for each of them in different ways. (And so as we know do people of different sexualities, of different colour or age, of different beliefs and with different abilities.)

You don't, actually, need to be a woman to want to seek equality, to hold that feminism is a sensible and decent way to see the world. You just have to be a fair-minded person.

Read more about Gender & Women.

The New Harvest Festival

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Seasonal vegetables harvest festival pumpkins 2520 (88x103).jpg This is the time of year when churches urban and rural across the nation urge us to attend their services for Harvest Festival. For many of us however this annual celebration is now marked more secularly, observed at one remove, via our newspapers, rather than physically in our communities. Media celebration of seasonal food is the order of the day.

The Guardian, like other similar publications, is hot on seasonal food. A story in that newspaper today gives a flavour of that theme: 'Green' shopping possible on a budget, watchdog says.

What then follows is that irresistible combination of knocking the supermarkets (fair enough if they're not up to scratch), going rustic with references to in-season fruit and veg. (why not, it really is good for you), and angst about affordability and carbon footprint (fair enough again).

Contemporary perspectives
So here is the contemporary version of We plough the fields and scatter...

Way back over the centuries people have known about crop rotation and storage and the seasons, and have celebrated all this with Harvest Festivals of one sort or another. Now we know about food miles, sustainability and ethical buying.

Appreciating our sustenance
This is the better informed (or at least more techno) version of the wisdom of the ages, translated for those of us who hope for the future but have no bedrock of faith on which to base an annual thanksgiving.

Perhaps it doesn't matter how we demarcate the changing seasons and the beneficence they offer. What does matter is that at least we notice.

'Gold' coins 4919 (99x134).jpg Here in Liverpool we are about to start our 2008 Year as European Capital of Culture. But apparently the connection between this year-long Capital of Culture event and hard European cash has yet to dawn on some local businesses. This is serious. Who's failed to get the message over? And will things improve?

A walk this morning took us through Liverpool's Sefton Park to Lark Lane, where the Boho action is, to find some brunch.

The brunch was fine; but the bill which followed it left us at best bewildered.

Sterling only
The card machine - as usual these days, the 'continental' 'take it to the table' type - came up with a sensible sum, requested in either Sterling or Euros. As it happened, we had some Euros on us, so when we'd paid (in Sterling) we asked lightheartedly if we could have paid cash Euros. (The literal conversion rate was 1.645 if anyone wants to know....)

The waitress was aghast. Oh no, she assured us, clearly thinking we'd sought such reassurance, they wouldn't even think of taking Euros. The cafe never dealt with Euros, the cost would be sky-high, it was quite out of the question...

Bafflement and business
We were unsure how to respond, having originally intended to congratulate the establishment on its forward-planing and preparations for Euro-billing.

Did our waitress know, we asked, what 2008 had in store for Liverpool? She confirmed that she knew 2008 is the Capital of Culture year.

But it's Liverpool's 'European' Capital of Culture Year, we protested......

The management decides
'I don't know about that', came the reply. 'Anyway, none of Liverpool's restaurants are doing Euros. You'll have to take that up with the management.'

On the contrary, we suggested, perhaps the management needs to take the Euro opportunity up with itself....

The 'Liverpool experience' missing link - Europe
So there we have it. At least some of our local businesses, just three months before 2008 begins, still fail utterly to understand that next year is an international, a European, event.

These local 'enterprises' haven't even begun to consider whether a billing system with the potential to offer payment in Euros as well as Sterling might in fact be a business advantage or selling point.... especially in the Boho part of town.

No leadership with the big picture
Could this failure to get the overarching picture be because the city's leadership has permitted developments (perhaps even decided?) not to move out of the Liverpool comfort zone?

Are city leaders neglecting to emphasise that next year's celebrations are not 'only' an excuse for some (what look to be very promising) major arts events, and for neighbourhood street parties and general local merriment, important though all these are?

2008 opportunities squandered?
If the whole rationale for Liverpool's European Capital of Culture 2008 Year is put aside, if the business opportunities are not seized, all that enormous amount of (our) money already spent will have been squandered.

I really hope someone will be getting things into gear pretty pronto.

Tutorial (small) 90x120.jpg This website seems to be used as a learning resource, as well as by a more general readership. Teachers and students refer to it for a range of reasons; and amongst these is the opportunity for people whose first language is not English to read short articles linked to other websites on the same topics. So, how do / could you use this site as an educational resource?

Your views and advice, as teachers and as students or general readers, about how this 'learning resource' facility might be extended, would be most welcome. As myself a qualified teacher who worked in education for many years, I am always enthusiastic about the development of new learning materials and ways of teaching. If only the internet had been available when education was my day job.....

I look forward to your ideas and contributions on this topic.

Thank you!

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