Eastleigh by-election: National Health Action

Unfortunately I only just discovered that outlook.com had decided this reply was junk- maybe it’s a little early for Microsoft to be launching it officially just yet! Ok, so the election was last week, where Iain got 392 votes, but I think it’s still worth posting for completeness.

> 1. What are your views on equal rights, for example do you support the introduction of gay marriage?

I’m not opposed to same sex marriage (covered in my earlier email)
[Q. What are you doing to support equal marriage? A. Nothing active. I think we need to maintain our focus on the economy and the threat of privatisation of the NHS at the moment. I’m not saying it’s not an important issue; but we have to prioritise things somehow. Personally I support equal marriage.]

> 2. I am very concerned about the introduction of secret courts as part of the Justice and Security Bill. Would you oppose the introduction of secret courts?

Yes – I too feel the very fact that this is being considered is very worrying in a supposedly free society.

> 3. In my view MPs have a poor track record on technology issues, for example the ill-considered Digital Economy Act, which my last MP was unwilling to discuss. What are your views on repeated attempts to introduce a snoopers charter?

As with 2 – this is an extremely regressive step and will simply escalate the fear and mistrust that threat to break up the essential cohesiveness that binds society together.

> 4. Do you agree that it would be easier to reduce dishonest and corrupt business practices if there was more transparency in company relationships and ownership? How would you tackle this issue? For example, would you back legislation to crack down on non-trading companies?

More transparency and accountability in everything. Commercial confidentiality clauses are one the things that cause markets in health care to fail at the expense of quality and safety in patient care.

> 5. Can you promise to fight to protect NHS services both nationally and at our local hospitals?

Yes – covered in my previous email.

[Q. Would you support new legislation to reverse the harm of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and stopping the privatisation of the NHS services? A. Yes – absolutely. This is the primary aim of my election campaign. Q. Can you promise to fight to protect services at our local hospitals? A. Yes – I promise to protect services at local hospitals and community and mental health services. The only situation where I would support closure of local health services would be if the services concerned were no longer being run to adequate standards of safety or quality. But in such circumstances health commissioners would need to ensure that replacement services of satisfactory quality were available at a location or locations that are convenient and accessible for the whole population of Eastleigh borough.]

> 6. Would you support any changes to the current laws on abortion and, if so, what changes would you like to see introduced?

This is a very divisive issue, over which, if required to vote on in Parliament, I would consult closely with my constituents. Personally I don’t see any pressing need to change the current abortion law.

> 7. What role do you think an MP has in local issues? What will you be able to do to help resolve issues like planning that other locally elected representatives are not able to do?

I believe that, as an MP not subject to a party whip, I would be a more effective voice for local people on local issues.

> 8. What measures would you take to promote green technology and to prevent climate change?

Covered in my previous email.

[Sustainable development funding to be made available to ‘green’ businesses and projects.
Better access to bank loans for local, small businesses.
Promote active travel, especially encouraging safe cycling and walking.
Reduce the costs of public transport.
Promote policies where the general principle is ‘the polluter pays’. This will preserve individuals’ choices, but it will ensure that one person’s choice to live a high carbon lifestyle doesn’t restrict another person’s choice to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It will also avoid the situation where the costs of people’s unsustainable lifestyle choices are borne by the environment and thus paid for by future generations.]

> 9. Do you have a by-election manifesto where I could find out more about issues that are important to you?

No. The NHAP is a very new party (created Nov 2012), so we don’t have a detailed manifesto yet. Please see our website http://www.nationalhealthaction.org.uk/ for the general thrust of our existing policies.

> 10. Do you intend to stand in future Eastleigh parliamentary elections?

This is for the Executive Committee of NHAP to decide. I probably would if asked.

> Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Please let me know if you would prefer me not to publish your responses on my weblog.

I don’t mind you publishing my responses.

Hopefully Iain will be back again in 2015!


No cash in the attic

I’ve been busy frantically trying to de-clutter the house to put it on the market (again) and uncovered a few ‘historical’ artefacts along the way. Dusted off first was a newsletter from an old holiday job:

I spent a couple of couple of summers doing various odd jobs fixing circuit boards, testing hardware and watching half of You Only Live Twice over and over and over again on finished machines. I think my least favourite job was sticking bits of masking tape on disk drive fronts to have them resprayed. Or maybe it was peeling off all the bits of masking tape when they came back! Amazingly it appears that Lightworks survived its spell with Tektronix, and is now about to be released as an open source project. Will definitely be trying that out sometime, although it might have to wait until we’ve moved.

Talking of disk drives, I also found a big stack of Windows 3.1 install disks:

Don’t think either of those will fetch much at auction, but they were a nice distraction from the rest of the junk heading straight for a bin bag!

Hats off to PowerShell, AS400 and Dale

Dale spotted a great write up of his PowerShell for WebSphere MQ SupportPac this morning. I was also really pleased to see that I wasn’t imagining the AS400 influence on PowerShell!

So far I love PowerShell and judging by my blog stats (my last PowerShell post is still the most popular), I’m not the only one who’s interested. Like Jeffrey, I want to see more products supporting it. I would also like to see PowerShell on more platforms! Also, MQ had a bit of a head start towards PowerShell cmdlets- I would love to find out more about how predominantly Java based products could take advantage of PowerShell. Does anyone have any idea if that is possible or how easy/difficult it would be?

Downloading PowerShell

I have just spent a very interesting hour watching Dale give a talk about PowerShell- he has a summary on his blog if you haven’t come across it before. Until today I was only vaguely aware of its existence but hadn’t had the time to take a look, so I’m very glad Dale took the time to share his presentation.

My immediate thought was how much it reminded me of the excellent OS/400 CL commands (I used to work with MQ on the AS/400 in my youth and, on a slight tangent, am quite fond of the rather splendid WRKMQM). Among other reasons for liking CL, I think it proves that it is possible to have a very usable command line interface; a concept which, while lost on some people, is very definitely evident in PowerShell.

What became clear was that the power in PowerShell is largely derived from its object orientated nature. No need for tortuous string parsing between piped commands (or commandlets in PowerShell speak). For example, instead of having to process a text list of process information, you get a list of process objects, which you could then display as a list, or simply select one to end (or all of them in Dale’s case- oops!). You can also extend PowerShell very nicely to add product related commandlets which, keeping the same noun and verb format along with all the generic commandlets like Sort and Select, make picking up a new product much easier for an admin.

So, cross product: good. Cross platform… hmmm, I wonder… Mono? Well, it seems others have asked the same question (and that wasn’t actually a ‘no’ in response to the open source question!) but not yet at least.