"The annual cost of running the [Bury and Rochdale Active Generation] programme of events is £20,000, paid for through a Government grant."
Doubtless, if BRAG hadn't been able to point to some record of achievement by participants, the grant wouldn't have been forthcoming in future; it does rather sound like the certificate was for 'being able to turn up'.
How must the teenager's sibling feel at 'failing'?
@2004, oldnat rightly points to those individuals for whom the 'everyday' would indeed be an accomplishment, but their achievement is belittled by BRAG's cavalier certificate-giving.
"... any group of about 2% of the relevant electorate can call a referendum on any topic."
The idea of the people 'dictating' policy to the politicians - with Government as servant, rather than master, of the populace - does sound wonderful, and I suspect that the calibre of politician is markedly improved as a result (personal ambition becoming somewhat subservient to the improvement of society as a whole).
"In the real democracy of Switzerland, they simply reserve one Sunday per quarter for voting of all sorts: communal, cantonal and federal referendum questions and elections."
What a good idea!
Or so it might at first appear.
What would tend to worry me a little is that if so many issues are determined by asking 'the people,' the politicians need not espouse policies, or indeed hold any political views whatever; on any given contentious issue, the politician could simply say, 'I propose a referendum to ascertain the will of the people.'
For all its faults, parliamentary democracy (which the UK has, at least notionally) is a principled concept based upon representation rather than delegation.
If every issue of note was to be referred back to the people, we may as well elect only an executive (HM Government in a non-party form) - to determine the policies upon which referenda will be held - and abolish Parliament altogether.
That itself is an idea not devoid of merit, but unless turkeys start voting for Christmas, I cannot see today's breed of career politician doing anything change the current gravy train.
"Spelling is less important than retired teachers think"
My commnt at #99 attempted to make the point by deliberately misspelling almost every word, and it has now been 'referred to the moderators'.
Rehearsing it aloud would have made it entirely understandable, but for the written word to be understood, it is eminently desirable to conform to 'normal' spelling; besides which, it is rude (and shows disrespect to your 'audience').
"As to Lockerbie, [...] relatives [...] have more right than anyone to have their say here..."
The bereaved relatives have NO 'rights' in the matter, hence the distinction between public and private law.
Whilst the administration of American justice may be predicated upon how loudly affected parties wail - the concept of a 'victim impact statement' is anathema to any interested in an civilised legal system - such that the 'dregs of humanity' and considered to be of no worth, the Scottish legal tradition treats a case on its MERITS.
Of course, the bases of the original conviction (and indeed the crimes themselves) are OF NO CONSEQUENCE in determining whether or not to exercise COMPASSION.
If BBC reporters, correspondents, etc., had to earn their incomes, a certain Glenn Campbell would surely be quaking in his boots.
On which point, the zeal with which he promoted himself on 'national' television when the al-Megrahi story/stories broke was truly sickening; of course, if he goes the way of Ms Wark - "Left, Right and Centre" was the last thing she did of any merit (and I was then still at school!) - then the quality of BBC Scotland's political output would surely improve by leaps and bounds.