Sunday, 11 December 2016

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - Week 19 (18th Feb)


18 Feb

Time to start Room 4 - and see if the study mojo still exists.

DD306 : Living Political Ideas - EMA Questions are published

The EMA question choices have been published......

Option 1

Political ideas ‘live’ in six ways – as inspiration; in political debate; by being changed, adapted and re-appropriated; in institutionalised practices; by having consequences; and by circulating in political theory and practice. Using material in the Entry Room, Room 2, at least one relevant Extra Reading, and two sources from an electronic database explore the extent to which the boundary between humans and non-humans is a living political idea. (word limit 4000)

Option 2

Political ideas ‘live’ in six ways – as inspiration; in political debate; by being changed, adapted and re-appropriated; in institutionalised practices; by having consequences; and by circulating in political theory and practice. Using material in the Entry Room, in Room 5, at least one relevant Extra Reading, and two sources from an electronic database explore the extent to which the state as a solution to violence is a living political idea. (word limit 4000)

Although I did pretty well on the TMA for Human/Non-Human boundaries I never really 'felt it', all a bit too abstract, so I guess it will be Option 2 and Violence and the State.

So, I have done very little this year so far, but time to get down to this get Rooms 4 & 5 squared away asap, and then sort out the 4000 words for the EMA.

Friday, 30 September 2016

DD306 : Living Political Lives - Tutorial Shambles

Well it is the day before the course starts and still no news via the Open University website regarding when the tutorials are.

The website says,

DD306 Tutorial Dates

Your schedule of tutorials and day-schools is not yet available (if your module offers this type of study support). Please check again before your module starts.

This is simply inexplicable!

Why is it so difficult to tell people, at the very least, when and where the first tutorial is?

The Open University appear to be under the impression that now we have signed up for the course this is our only commitment in life, and we can therefore drop everything at the last minute to attend a tutorial which will be announced at the 11th hour.

Considering that there are so few face to face tutorials, you'd think they'd try and give as much notice as possible to enable people to attend.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

DD306 : Living Political Lives - Tutor assigned...... great news.

Really happy to have the same tutor as last year, as they were by far the most involved and thorough tutor that I have had with regard to TMA feedback.

Probably not a huge surprise given that there are only a few tutors left on this course, but good news all the same.

Also, my 'banked' TMA scores from last year are now on the website, which is a relief. Also, it seems so long ago now, but I'd forgotten how well this was going. Given that I need better than a Pass2 on this course for the overall pass I am aiming for, I'd have to do really badly in the two remaining TMAs I have to complete to not hit that target - so it is all about the end of course project - and we don't get to see those questions until 10th December.

But still not tutorial details, which seems to be ridiculous given the course starts next week and we all have our lives to plan. This is a complaint I make every year, but the Open University seem deaf to my complaint.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

DD306 : Living Political Lives - Course Website is LIVE

Well that is exciting.... sort of, the course website in now live and available for the eager beavers to start studying.

No sign of who my tutor is yet...... or tutorial dates...... and that is going to be important - hope it is the same tutor as last year.

I don't have to write an essay until TMA5, so the first part of the course is going to be interesting from a motivational point of view. I need to engage but I'm not sure how fully until I choose the EMA question - we will see.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

DD306 : Living Political Lives - Take 2

Well that has been a bit of a busy three months since my last post.

Wish I had put my money where my mouth was as I had been predicting a narrow win for the Leave campaign, but that the government would wriggle about and try and avoid actually doing anything to advance BREXIT.

Shows what a complete clown Cameron was. There was a number of safe guards he could have easily put in place to stop BREXIT happening around percentage trigger point, participation and the like and failed to do anything. The result is that it has firmly proven that you don't have to be the brightest or the best to become Prime Minister. An individual's ability matters far less than their money. So, nothing new learned there then.

On a brighter note, I can modestly refer to my Edinburgh Fringe stint as a success. I won't be Live at the Apollo anytime soon, and there have been no offers of turning the story into a musical, but I had far better audiences than I had any right to expect and folk seemed to enjoy it, so all-in-all a really good experience.

Now that my desire to tread the boards has been sated, I'd better turn my attention back to finishing this degree. Deferring with only 2 essays and a project to go may seem an odd decision, but there was no way I could have done both the OU work and the organisation for an Edinburgh Fringe show at the same time without both suffering. So, I have just received the course reader book (again), am waiting on being assigned a tutor (I would really like the same one I had last year) and I guess I have to get used to studying again in October.

I am going to try and get ahead as far as possible, especially as I shouldn't have to do the first 4 essays again, and really push on and get the project done with as little drama as possible.

However, I have just 'inherited' a really nice electric guitar. I can't play the electric guitar ..... yet! But I have set myself the target of a Glastonbury main stage performance in 2019, might be a bit of a bigger ask than the Edinburgh Fringe project, but if you don't aim high........

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

To Brexit or not to Brexit - that is the question

Possibly one of the most important voting decisions that I have ever had to make and there is precious little in the way of hard and reliable facts to base a decision on.

1. How can you believe a word David Cameron says on this matter.

i) Cameron has put the country in this position apparently against his political judgement, but in order to stave off the UKIP threat at the last general election. Why should we believe anything that a Prime Minister says when he has quite openly put his personal ambition ahead of the good of the nation.

ii) Since Cameron's ill-advised announcement that he will not fight another election, the Tory party has decided against leading the country (see very poor Queen's speech lacking any real ambition) and has instead concentrated on Brexit which is actually the Tory Leadership election by proxy. Will it be Boris or George, one things for sure Cameron is on a slippery slope, and already appears to be seeing his authority slipping away.

iii) Cameron will do whatever is best for those he represents ad that is not the 99%.

iv) Operation Fear, speculation about mass loss of jobs, loss of trading opportunity, impending European civil war, terror threat rising etc. are quite obviously bogus.

v) While Cameron has plenty to say on what MIGHT happen if we BREXIT, he has very little to say (as does the BOE) on what will happen if we stay. There are as many unknowns about staying as leaving.

vi) A vote to Brexit could well signal the start of the break up of the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are generally for staying in the UK.

vii) A vote to stay in Europe could signal the break up of the Tory party and the end of Cameron as party leader.

2. Should we believe the BOE / IMF / European Bank

 i) If there is Brexit, the European Project and IMF fear this more than anything else, because it will weaken the Euro far more than the pound. Brexit could be the start and map a path for Greece, Cyprus, Spain etc. to follow. Do you really think their press releases and opinions are  independent - no of course not - they will wish to influence the outcome to suit their needs best - not the needs of the British public.

ii) Should we listen to big business - not of course not - they will wish to influence the outcome to suit their needs best - not the needs of the British public. If Starbucks leaves the UK does it effect me - not a jot, and if folk want to drink coffee maybe  British independents will get a chance to flourish and pay tax.

iii) Should we listen to those who have a vested interest in the London property market continuing to grow. Of course not, and why can't the government sort this our for the benefit of the British public ?

iv) And can somebody please explain how one interest rate works for a variety of different economies all at different stages. Well. it has been proven not to work in the past, I can't see that changing the future, and the European Project will demand at some stage that we adopt the Euro  regardless of the effect that will have on our economy.

3. Should we believe Farage

i) Well he is speculating about the future as much as anybody else is.

The truth is we don't know what will happen and threats and ultimatums made before the decisions will all be  re-assessed in light of the decisions regardless of which way it goes.


i) There is not enough reliable information from politicians to make a rational and logical decision.

ii) This is ultimately about sovereignty, Do we wish to remain a sovereign  nation or become part of the European superstate.

iii) Don't decide your vote based on a 'better the devil we know' basis, as the devil is likely to change, and don't base your vote on being scared of change and the unknown, if we had always done that nobody would have invented the wheel.

How am I going to vote..... to be honest I haven't made up my mind yet, but part of me would just like to see the smile wiped off Cameron's smug face, but I need to be a bit more grown up than that.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Tickets for 'Extreme Broadcasting' available on EdFringe Website

If you go to the EdFringe Website you can find out more about my show and also buy tickets.

See you in Edinburgh 4th to 18th August.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Off to the Edinburgh Fringe 2016

The reason for the deferral of my last course in my PPE degree is that I have a chance to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe and it is going to take an enormous effort and all of my spare time to get it off the ground.

It is the story of how BFBS provide radio and TV for British Forces while serving abroad in war zones. It is, as far as I'm concerned, an astonishing story of over coming unusual challenges in order to provide that vital link with home. Unsurprisingly, if you throw a bunch of civilian broadcast engineers into a conflict zone to work alongside the military, funny things will happen.

This show is essentially a humerous account of what BFBS does, the untold story of how the British Forces get radio and TV on the front line.

You can follow this project at:

Blog Page : Extreme Broadcasting Blog

Facebook : Extreme Broadcasting Facebook

Twitter : @ExtremeBroadcas

Sunday, 13 March 2016

DD306 Living political ideas beginning 01 October 2016.

The Open University Student Support staff couldn't have been of more help, the process to defer my course until next year has been quick and easy, and I am now registered to re-start DD306 on 1st October this year.

This leaves the way clear to concentrate on my other project which will be announced shortly.

Monday, 7 March 2016

DD306 : Living Political Lives - TMA04 Marked and Returned

Really pleased with the mark for TMA04, a high-ish Pass 2, which keeps me on track for the overall Pass 2 I need from this course to hit my final degree classification target.

Again, the tutor wrote a really thorough assessment of where things could have been improved and what parts were good. I think I have been lucky that my tutor is flexible enough to accept my style of TMA writing while at the same time warning me that come the EMA this may not be every markers cup of tea.

Also, my passionate dislike for organised religion is something that may polarise markers, so although an EMA about religion seems to be am obvious choice, it may be difficult for me to keep to the academic points rather than let my prejudices run wild. But, I have a year now to sort my life out and make sure things are in place for a resumption of study in 2017.

Friday, 4 March 2016

DD306 - Course defferal

I never thought it would come to this, but as soon as the TMA04 score is on the website I will be deferring the end of the course until next year.

I have been offered an amazing opportunity this summer and there is no way I can commit to this project and OU study without both suffering. As the summer project is a once in a lifetime opportunity and because it is possible to defer this course at little cost and while banking the work already done, this would be the most sensible solution to ensure that I can do my best in both.

So, there will be a few posts covering the TMA04 score and then the actual deferment, and then silence for quite a while....... 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

*** Please Read This ***

This blog stated of as a little project to keep me on track through my studies, I thought if I made my progress sort of public it would be a driver and motivator to ensure completion of the course.

I have been surprised by the amount of hits this blog gets, since it started it has had over 100,000 unique visits, page views are much larger, I have been told that I could monitise the blog by adding adverts, but this has never been about creating a revenue stream, it has been about sharing my experiences and hopefully encouraging others a they contemplate study, and I know that some people have found the blog very useful when considering if they can or should study.

So what is all this leading up to.

I have a work colleague/friend who is now the father of 15 month old baby boy called Karl. 

Karl's mum has written an incredibly moving account of difficult time that Karl had during childbirth and the efforts that Karl and his parents have gone to to give him the support he needs since then.

You can read this account here.  Please do so, it is inspirational.

Luckily Karl is a little fighter, but the therapies and medical costs are extremely high, and the emotional toll on his parents is significant. I don't know two more committed parents, everything they do is for Karl, but caring of him is exhausting and financially draining.

So to the purpose of this post.

If everyone who visited,read or enjoyed this blog felt able to donate even just 1€ or £1, combined this would make a significant contribution to paying for therapies for Karl.

If you felt able, and were willing to share this story among your own social networks that would also be appreciated.

Thank you for your time in reading this.

DD306 : Living Political Lives - TMA04 Submitted - with an extension

Life has been very busy and I am afraid that this has come at the cost of my study.

Without being too melodramatic about the whole thing, work commitments, family worries, a house extension and two unbelievable - pretty much once-in-a-lifetime - opportunities are being explored. These may not come off, but in order to have a fighting chance at them I have had to put in an awful lot of effort to write proposals and investigate the logistics and budgetary aspects of what I wish to do.

In the mist of all of this, TMA04 got done. It was reduced to the French Riots and Abortion as I did not have time to look at the third case study. Rawls was all over the place - Taylor and Fraser less so, passing remarks at best - so I am not sure if this passes for using at least two theorists. In the end the TMA was a good as I had time to make it, and indeed it was far better than I feared it would be at one point last week.

I am now seriously thinking about deferring until next year. I understand it is possible to bank the TMAs you have done, but I don't know about the costs of deferral - that may be the clincher.

Anyway, lets see what the TMA score brings.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Sunday, 31 January 2016

DD306 : Living Political Lives - TMA03 Marked and Returned

Pass 1.

Surprised doesn't come close !

I did put quite a lot of effort into this essay, and I have to admit that having not gone back to it for two weeks re-reading it this evening it seemed much better that I remember it being at the time of submission.I guess I was just too close to it then.

My tutor again gave thorough and detailed criticism of my essay, and I think I am very lucky that they were happy to accept some 'left-field' arguments and unconventional examples that I had included - possibly to amuse myself.

Anyway, hugely encouraging and what is needed to get me to push on with the next section.

Monday, 18 January 2016

DD306 : Living Political Lives - TMA03 Submitted

This has been another less than stella TMA, can't quite get excited over the arguments about giving trees political rights. Aristotle, Bentham and Rawls made sense, of sorts, Stone was an interesting read, but Latour was dreadfully dry and dull.

A Pass 3 pass or better would suit me. I have put quite a lot of effort into this TMA but I feel my lack of engagement with the arguments may be obvious.

Oh well, time will tell.....

Now to religion, what could possibly go wrong here........

Saturday, 16 January 2016

DD306 : Living Political Lives - Week 14

Well I was really looking forward this this section, but I have a TMA to finish for Room 2.

Life is busy, and I have been finding it difficult to motivate myself to study, however I thin I have found a hook on which to hang the Political Animal TMA, so the writing of this is now more focused and I am about half way through the word count.

Hopefully, Aristotle and Bentham have provided the platform o which to drag in another couple of theorists and a NEXIS thing.

TMA03, you will be finished tomorrow and then on to religion......