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Why we need a National Adoption Agency

It’s tragic that only 60 babies were adopted in England in the last year. Surely there should have been a zero on the end. This is not because there are fewer babies and young children being taken into care each year to support falling adoption figures; there are now 65,520 children in care, the highest figure since 1987. Yet fewer of these children are being adopted, and those which do...
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Why social media and PR matters

I have long shared Neville Hobson’s philosophy about social media and PR. In this video, he explains how nobody controls the message, that there is no one-way of using social media within an organisation as it depends very much on its culture, but that honesty, transparency and passion are essential to make it succeed. This is so very true. I accept that it can be a dramatic shift in...
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Preparing for the empty nest

This time tomorrow my life will have changed for ever. We are taking our youngest son James to university – and he can’t get there quick enough, eager to experience student life, especially with Freshers’ Week and all its parties. I am immensely thankful that James is starting university this year before the trebling of tuition fees because he said there was no way he would...
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Why are we behind the Koreans with QR shopping codes?

As an enthusiast of QR codes, I wonder why we are behind the Koreans who have embraced this technology for supermarket shopping. Hat tip to the erudite Winchester Whisperer for alerting me to this: The Korean company, Homeplus, has taken shopping to a new level by launching the world’s first virtual shop in the Seoulleung subway station at Gangnam, south Seoul. Customers can buy 500...
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How our special educational needs provision could be transformed

There are 1.7 million children in England with special educational needs, ranging from dyslexia and Down’s syndrome, to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity. The way their needs are met is currently under review by the government. And not a moment too soon. Next month a new foundation is being launched which will enable multi-disciplinary practitioners, including health and social...
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My moonlight walk for charity

In one mad impulsive moment I put my name forward to join the Cancer Research UK charity Shine walk through London on 1st October. I have entered the half-marathon, so 13 miles of pavement plodding – but for a great cause, and I will be in great company too having joined forces with a team called Moonbeams. They include Abcodia’s CEO Julie Barnes and its Director of Science Wendy...
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Could Westminster’s working hours modernise from today?

Joan Ruddock MP will today lobby her colleagues for a change of working hours in the House.  It’s quite a modest request really: she suggests close of day at 6 or 7pm midweek for business in the House, enabling MPs to get back to their young children in time to read them a bedtime story if they are within commuting distance, while the workaholics can continue with parliamentary business....
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Abcodia’s serum biobank

Here is my latest video showing Abcodia’s biobank, and explaining how its serum collection can for used in the research and development of molecular diagnostics. Abcodia’s CEO Dr Julie Barnes and Prof Ian Jacobs , non-executive director with Abcodia and the lead investigator for the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening from which the serum biobank was founded, explain the...
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Twinings – bring back the old Earl Grey

I have just joined a new Facebook group urging Twinings to ditch its new wishy washy Earl Grey tea and reinstate its original aromatic recipe loved my millions around the world. The new version is weak and tasteless, like perfumed dishwater. It lacks substance and character and fails to refresh. It leaves me feeling totally dissatisfied and frustrated. It is no longer a pleasurable experience,...
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Howard Jacobson and bloggers

I am flattered to have my blog praised on the new Dale & Co political website run by Iain Dale. A post written by guest writer Martin Thompson questioned the scathing attack on bloggers made by the 2010 Man Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson. This is what Mark said: Booker Prize winner and Independent columnist Howard Jacobson has taken it upon himself to make some comments about blogs:...
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Why is Westminster still not family friendly?

I wonder who the woman MP was who Andy Burnham saw strolling across Westminster Bridge 10.30pm one night with her baby in a buggy, having just finished work. For anyone who thinks MPs have an easy time, this is the reality for those with young families who are dedicated to political life and serving their constituents. While it is well known that Nick Clegg prioritises taking his kids to school,...
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Walking for health Jim’s way

I have spent the summer working on a genome campus with no free time for my regular walks, but now I really must get into shape for my weekend away with the Cambridge Rambling Club next month to the South Downs. I expect the undulating landscape there to be much more challenging than the usual flat Fenland landscape where I live, and I hope to manage a long weekly walk before we leave. Today I...
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