“Welcome To Austerity” By Doyle & The Fourfathers

From Londonist: Chancellor, you’re not the only one, who swings around his axe for fun.
I have been known to wield my own, and I am quite…accident prone.

Library closures, austerity living and the veiled suggestion of taking a hatchet to George Osborne, all wrapped in a catchy ditty and some London eye-candy.

Welcome to Austerity is the first track from Doyle & The Fourfathers‘ forthcoming Olympics Critical EP.

[Read full article on Londonist…]

What impact has scrapping EMA had?

From BBC News: There were major protests earlier this year when the government voted to get rid of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in England.

Now the Association of Colleges (AoC) says nearly half of England’s colleges have taken on fewer students this term.

It claims the decision to scrap EMA is one of the main reasons, as some students are worried about the cost of getting to and from college.

The Education Maintenance Allowance allowed teenagers from poorer families to claim up to £30 a week to stay in education. It was supposed to cover transport, food and equipment costs.

Jeremy Rogers, Principal of Cadbury Sixth Form College in Birmingham, thinks scrapping the EMA was a huge mistake: “It’s had a devastating impact. About 300 young people who would have come to us, have not come to us.”

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How the Tories went from oak-tree logo to enemies of conservation

George Eaton writes in The New Statesman: Attempting to reduce more than 1,000 pages of English planning guidelines to just 50, the government has attracted the ire of the National Trust (which has over three and a half million members), the CPRE, Greenpeace and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, all of which warn that the reforms threaten the future of the countryside. The banally named Draft National Planning Policy Framework includes a reference to the need for “decision-takers at every level” to “assume that the default answer to the development proposal is ‘yes’.”

[Read full column on New Statesman website…]

Strategising Online Activism: A Toolkit

This toolkit is published by Association for Progressive Communication Women’s Networking Support Programme and Violence is Not Our Culture (VNC). It was inspired by workshops held in Asia and Africa for the partners and members of the VNC campaign. It can also be a resource for human rights activists who are keen to develop their online activism and want to know where and how to to start.

It is intended to provide the following skills to campaigners:

  • An understanding of why and how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be appropriated by women’s rights and human rights groups in their advocacy skills through their use of online tools, including networking and mobile tools for advocacy and campaigning
  • The ability to develop an advocacy / communication strategy
  • Knowing what social networking is and the various spaces and tools they could use in their online activism
  • An understanding of online privacy and security issues relevant to building their online activism.

[Link to Strategising Online Activism Toolkit (pdf)]

Strategising online activism: a toolkit

Published by the Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) and Violence is not our Culture (VNC): “Strategising Online Activism: A Toolkit” was designed for and by women activists but can be used by everyone.

Key contents include:

  • A feminist approach to online activism
  • Strategising and planning your online activism
  • Online campaigning: Creating your campaign’s online identity
  • Social networking and online activism
  • Steps in choosing social networking tools for your campaign
  • Securing your online activism
  • Recommended reading

[Go to full Strategising Online Activism Toolkit…]

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License

Students face tuition fees rising to £9,000

From BBC News: Universities in England will be able to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year from 2012, as the government transfers much of the cost of courses from the state to students.

Fees will rise to £6,000, with an upper tier of £9,000 if universities ensure access for poorer students.

The announcement sparked an occupation of an administration building by students at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Students unfurled banners and called for other universities to join the protest.

Much of the proposed fee rise, up from the current £3,290 per year, will replace funding cut from universities in last month’s Spending Review.

This will mean that many courses, particularly in arts and humanities, will almost entirely depend on income from students’ fees.

“Essentially, it allows universities to replace a large part of the lost state funding for teaching by way of graduate contributions,” said Steve Smith, president of the higher education body, Universities UK.

[Read full article on BBC News website…]

Students hit by scrapping of Education Maintenance Allowance

From The Guardian: When the education secretary, Michael Gove, was interviewed by Education Guardian readers before the general election, he flatly denied that the education maintenance allowance (EMA) was for the chop, saying: “Ed Balls keeps saying that we are committed to scrapping the EMA. I have never said this. We won’t.”

So it was a surprise to many to hear, in last week’s spending review, that the EMA was to be among the casualties. The allowance, which dates back to 1944, was revised by the Labour government into a means-tested national scheme supporting young people from lower-income families in 16-19 education. The chancellor, George Osborne, said the £30 weekly payment was to be replaced by “more targeted support”, though he did not say what.

And while the government claims it is putting more money into education for school-aged children, 16- to 19-year-olds appear to have been left out in the cold. As well as abolishing the EMA, the government plans to reduce the amount of funding per student for sixth-formers.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

How to turn slacktivists into activists with social media

From Mashable: Social media provides a new first step on the engagement ladder. The methodology of approaching stakeholders and encouraging them to take deeper actions requires acceptance of their current level of activism, and well-crafted approaches towards deeper commitment.

“There are some slacktivists that will become fundraisers, but if you are messaging correctly, they will mostly self-select,” said Dan Morrison, CEO and Founder of Citizen Effect. “But the fastest way to lose slacktivists is to ask them [to do] what they hate doing the most — getting off their butt and [doing] something. My advice? Send out great content targeted at recruiting more fundraisers and driving people to donate, and empower the slacktivists to spread the word for you.”

“It is important to know how to meet people where they are at, and craft your conversation starters and calls to action appropriately so as to match the specific interest and commitment,” said Beth Kanter, co-author of The Networked Nonprofit.  “Organizations need to have good processes and strategies for stewarding people toward ever higher levels of engagement with their causes and campaigns.”

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