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Remember that estimate of 4-6 posts a month?

Since I've started my job, I've realised that there is no way I can do that many when the posts are as long as they are.

I really need to do something about the word count. Regular readers will know it's a long running issue for me. With important issues, I have felt the need to cram in as much background info as possible. The introduction of other content hasn't always helped.

I really need shorten the posts. I definitely need to make the context way more targeted and look at even more ways of presenting info.

I won't be changing the topics I cover though - these are things I'm passionate about.

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This is my second post about the independence referendum, which takes place in Scotland tomorrow.

It is something that's vitally important and affects the entire future of the United Kingdom. However, not everyone has a say and there are many crucial areas that suffer from a lack of clarity.

In my previous post, I looked at the opinion polls. In this one, I discuss the lack of transparency, currency union, North Sea Oil, membership of the European Union and more.

I hope you find it interesting.

Comments are welcome.

#indyref   #indyref2014   #bettertogether   #yesscotland   #referendum   #scotland   #unitedkingdom  

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This quote is an excerpt from a recent speech from Gordon Brown on the subject of independence.

He might be known by some as Jonah Brown or the Prime Mentalist. Some might think of him as a failed Prime Minister. However, you cannot deny the passion he showed. The speech was easily one of his best.

Proof you can be a proud Scotsman and want a 'No' vote.

#indyref   #indyref2014   #bettertogether   #gordonbrown   #scotland   #independence   #unitedkingdom  
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This is a great quote. Partly because of the relevance, but also partly because it shows a wonderful interpretation of the English language. It actually made me think of the 'known unknowns' speech by Donald Rumsfeld.

Scotland is a country, but it is also part of the United Kingdom. Therefore it isn't an independent country. The independence referendum is an effort to change that. The result could see an end to hundreds of years of history and union, or a continuation of what we have - with some modifications.

This event - something of great importance - requires detail and lots of explanation. Salmond and other members of the Yes campaign owes the voters a full explanation of all his plans. That's something that hasn't happened yet.

You can't have a vote and then deal with all the planning later. That's ridiculous. However, it seems like this is what is happening.

In the quote, Salmond implies that the Scots are a proud and patriotic people. This is very true. However, you can be patriotic and still have an opinion that differs from his. I think that's a point that he occasionally forgets.

#indyref   #indyref2014   #scotland   #independence   #referendum   #unitedkingdom   #alexsalmond   #scottishnationalparty  
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This word cloud uses the full text of a speech from David Cameron on the subject of independence. The speech was delivered in Aberdeen today (15/09/14).

All the prominent words were what you would expect. Examples include 'united', 'together' and 'UK'.

One key quote from the text was the following:

"This is a decision that could break up our family of nations, and rip Scotland from the rest of the UK.
And we must be very clear.
There’s no going back from this.
No re-run.
This is a once-and-for-all decision."

Whilst it is entirely possible that another referendum could be held that would effectively reverse the decision, it wouldn't (realistically) be for a long time. It would (almost certainly) be after we are all gone. So, in a way, this can be seen as 'once and for all'.

As well as the talk of the union, it was delivered with a serious tone, but also some passion.

It is an important decision. One that should not be joked about. It will change the lives of many.

It's just a shame that not everyone in the United Kingdom can vote on a decision the affects the whole United Kingdom.

#indyref   #bettertogether   #indyref2014  
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This has been created using the full text of Barack Obama's recent speech about combating Islamic State

Well, I say 'Islamic State' because that's their official name since the Caliphate was established across parts of Iraq and Syria. However, the headline of the article featuring this text uses 'ISIS' and you can see from the graphic that Obama calls them 'ISIL'. In fact, it's one of the most prominent words.

As with a lot of Presidential speeches, the words 'America' and 'American' feature prominently. It's important to do so in this case, because it's addressing an issue in a foreign region. He needs to be able to do things to make it more relevant to the people he represents.

'Iraq' is a prominent word and you can barely see 'Syria', despite the fact that Islamic State cover parts of both countries. This is possibly because of the long term US activity in Iraq. 'Support' appears to be slightly more prominent than 'terrorists', which creates a slightly more peaceful tone. 'Threat', 'forces' and 'mobilize' are even less prominent.

You'll see that 'Afghanistan' gets a mention. Looking at the transcript, you'll also find 'Somalia' and 'Yemen'. You might think this is strange. Well, they're only mentioned because of the desire to list achievements. It's a typical political strategy, which is designed to show that they do actually do things. It's understandable given the negativity directed towards politicians globally.

'Allies' only get a brief mention, indicating that he wants to give his own country most of the credit and responsibility.

Anyway, I hope you find this interesting. I'll be interested in your own thoughts.

#obama   #isis   #isil   #islamicstate   #terrorism  
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Violence against women is certainly unacceptable. However, you could also say the same for violence against men - a point that is sometimes overlooked.

There are many terrorist groups across the world, such as Boko Haram, that do terrible acts towards women (e.g. kidnap, murder, rape, making them go into slavery). A crime such as rape should be considered one of the more serious offences - regardless of the gender.

One problem is what some countries consider to be a crime and what are considered appropriate punishments. For example, in Saudi Arabia, they implement Sharia Law. Under that system, it is perfectly acceptable to be violent towards women. However, that is only because some things are considered far more serious in comparison to the western world.

One country should not force rules on another. However, there must be a line you do not cross and there must be certain things agreed on an international level.

#unitednations   #bankimoon   #women   #violence   #sharia   #rape  
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He couldn't be more wrong. Even in the context of Afghanistan (where he is the outgoing President), he is still wrong.

Terrorism is an act or series of acts that have a goal of creating fear, or terror. Are there people living in fear of violence? Yes. Are people still being killed as a result of violent acts? Yes.

Terrorists perform the act of terrorism. It is the same, whether we are talking about groups or individuals. The act is no longer a force when people see no reason for it, or people see no chance of victory by doing it. At present, there are still groups and individuals who see terrorism as the way forward in order to achieve their goals - e.g. the establishment of an Islamic state.

Terrorism has also moved beyond simple acts of violence. There are now financial and technological acts designed to create a culture of fear.

Terrorism as a force has not gone. If anything, it has expanded it's boundaries.

As long as people live in fear, the terrorists are winning.

#terrorism   #fear   #afghanistan
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This chart can also be found in my blog post from yesterday.

Using the independence referendum opinion polls from Jan 2012 to September 2014, this chart shows the different average values for 'Yes', 'No' and 'Don't Know'.

As you can see, 'No' is dominant in every single area. However, 'Yes' isn't that far away - certainly in comparison to 'Don't Know'.

You could also do a comparison with this and the averages for this year only, or even the most recent six month period. The averages should be reasonably different and perhaps reflect marketing and publicity efforts.

Data from UK Polling Report, created using Plotly.

#indyref   #indyrefpoll   #histogram  
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