Tag Archives: government

Could/should the WordPress Foundation do more?

Wordpress_logoGenuine question.

A couple of posts have caught my attention over the last week;

It got me thinking about the WordPress Foundation and whether it could do more to help promote WordPress. With 18.9% of the web powered by WordPress you might think there is no need! You might be right.

As John points out, efforts from the likes of the WordPress.com VIP team and the Big Media & Enterprise WordPress meetups are great, but with much of that coming from Automattic and WordPress agencies, is there a case for pooling that effort to better promote WordPress more widely, and with more independence?

Already the Foundation gives enabling support to WordCamps and it’s fantastic that we have so many. Here are some quick ideas off the top of my head of other promotional efforts the Foundation could* do;

  • WordPress sector champions who would work on promoting the use of WordPress in specific sectors, producing case studies, networking in those sectors, generating connections and leads for agencies and freelancers and so on. Target sectors might include;
    • Enterprise
    • Education
    • Government
    • Retail
    • Journalism
  • Core support staff who would help with organising IRC chats, trac tickets, helping new contributors get started, running/supporting contributor days. These could be either employed direct by the Foundation or seconded to it by agencies. (I have no idea if some of the work I’ve mentioned here is even required.)
  • Outreach people to help arrange things like Google Summer of Code and other as-yet-unspecified outreach projects aimed at getting folks engaged with WordPress.
  • A WordCamp team who would work with and support WordCamp organisers. Likely nothing/little needs to change on this point anyway.

Of course, all that would need funding, and I’m reminded here of the jQuery Foundation and it’s membership structure. Something similar for the WordPress Foundation may work, and help those involved in WordPress feel like not only are they contributing to WordPress the project, but also the WordPress ecosystem.

What do you think; does that sound like a good idea, is is necessary, is it a terrible idea, is it okay but could be done differently? Shout below!


* Not could as in could do now, but could do at some point, if the resource was available.

Irony escapes Tim Farron. Again. And again. And again.

Commenting on the Conservatives’ decision to drop a manifesto and coalition agreement promise, Illiberal Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, said, “It sends a message to the electorate that ‘we don’t trust you. We think you might do things which we don’t like’

Perhaps, Tim, you might sit your  parliamentary party down and beat then round the head with those words repeatedly until they fully understand the meanings of ‘promise’ and ‘trust’.

Worth doing it soon given that you just lost another deposit.

4 years and 2 months later… TheyWorkForYou plugin gets an update

Shocking it’s been so long really, but I’ve finally revived my TheyWorkForYou WordPress plugin.

When I first released it, all the plugin did was supply a TheyWorkForYou widget. Nothing’s changed! That’s for good reason though… At the time, the latest version of WordPress was 2.8.6 and we’re now on 3.8.1 so a lot has changed!

Crucially, the way plugin developers add widgets has changed so that needed to be updated.

Also of huge importance was that the original plugin hard-coded my own TheyWorkForYou API key and was a key reason why the plugin never made it to the WordPress.org plugin repository. There is now a simple settings page for you to enter your own API key, and the widget isn’t even available to you until you do that.

I have a bunch of other enhancements I want to add, all of which are listed on the GitHub issues page for the plugin. If there’s something you’d like to see in the plugin, please add it there too.

Given the amount of functions provided by the TheyWorkForYou API there are probably loads more things the plugin could do – please think of them and ask me to add them. Or, even better, fork and pull on GitHub and to add them yourself.

Finally, to use the plugin you can;

  1. Go to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard, search for TheyWorkForYou and install
  2. Download from the WordPress.org plugin repository and install manually

One important note: if you are using the original plugin, you’ll need to remove that first.


Appeal Court declines to rule on right-to-die cases

The courts once again let the public down on right to die, saying the matter should be decided by Parliament. Of course, with Parliament including a bunch of unelected peers who can’t even manage to drag themselves out of the 18th century over equal marriage, it’s completely ridiculous to throw this issue, clearly supported by the public, back to the unrepresentative legislature.

Read Appeal Court declines to rule on right-to-die cases

A living wage free of tax?

I’m glad to see, in this morning’s Observer, that Labour plan to make the national living wage part of the remit of the Low Pay Commission, and provide business with incentives to pay their employees in line with the level.

A thought has been going round in my head about the living wage recently though. The principle of it is that £7.20 per hour (£8.30 in London) is how much it takes for a family to provide for the basics of a decent life.

While making it part of government policy would be a good move, I can’t help thinking it a little silly that government would then, with the other hand, take some of that away in taxation, leaving those families on less than it takes to “provide them and their families with the basics of a decent life”.

So while having the living wage encouraged by government would be a good thing, there is something else I think government can do to help anyone not earning at least the living wage.

Raise the income tax level to £14,040.00 – the annual salary of someone working 37.5 hours per week on the national living wage.

This would save a married couple working full time at the living wage £3,918.4 per year. For a family who may be living off £24,161.60 per year that’s a huge help. That example is for those already earning the living wage, however. Think of all the people earning les than that and getting taxed on it – that’s where the phrase “squeezed incomes” really means something.

Of course what I’m suggesting here involves government giving up on a huge amount of revenue. So how might that be countered?

Fundamentally I believe the tax system is unfair. Politicians bleat about “fairer taxes” all the time but the biggest problem with the system as far as I’m concerned is differing rates. I believe charging people a higher rate when they reach a higher level of earnings is fundamentally unfair, however noble the intentions of redistributing wealth. Further, I blame that unfairness for much of the tax avoidance and evasion that so infuriates the general public (and understandably so).

Instead, I’d like to see a single flat rate for everybody earning over £14,040.00. I’m no economist so I can’t tell you what that might be (40%?) but it would have to help pay for the increase in tax free allowance outlined above. As companies would save on employer contributions due to an increase in the tax-free allowance, a rise in corporation tax to pay for it would be justifiable and would help pick up the bill also.

There’s my two peneth.

How to waste public money: a litter brand survey

Via the excellent Inside the M60 I learn that Keep Britain Tidy is urging lots of people to pick up litter and write down the brands they find.

What will this do exactly? Show that most of the litter starts at the likes of fast food chains, snack manufacturers and soft drinks companies.

Brilliant, because I would have predicted the top brands to be Chanel, Fabergé and Harrods.

Let me guess – Keep Britain Tidy will then tell the top brands to sort it out.

Except it’s not the brands that are dropping the chuffing litter is it boys and girls… it’s people who probably don’t give a toss – that’s the whole reason they drop it in the first place.

KBT’s news page also reveals they’re working very hard watching for litter dropping on Corrie. Well thank fuck for that!

More House of Commons exposure for The Lichfield Blog

Whilst discussing his vision for local TV during a House of Commons debate on the future of local media [& video], Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey mentioned The Lichfield Blog and it’s efforts in the local media landscape.

In response to a request from West Bromwich East MP, Tom Watson who referenced another West Midlands hyperlocal, The Stirrer, Vaizey said;

…the hon. Gentleman is right to say that we must not lose sight of the fact that there are hundreds of different initiatives that are involved in the delivery of local news.

The last time I mentioned the subject in Parliament, I was e-mailed by the local news bloggers in Lichfield, who met in the pub and now provide an ultra-local news service.

I’m taking that as another sign that we’re doing something good, to be referenced by a Government Minister during a debate on the future of local media.

Encouragingly, Vaizey followed up straight away saying,

Of course, there will be elements of public money available for that kind of research and experimentation.

I’m encouraged by that. Although the coalition has ditched the IFNCs which, according to IFNC-judging panel member Will Perrin, featured a good hyperlocal element, this may mean that the Government might be considering something similar that will be focused on smaller communities than the IFNC regions.

Watch this space!

My comments on the POWER 2010 Pledge

I’ve just signed up the POWER 2010 Pledge, having voted on the specific issues I feel are important to me. It is not a requirement that you agree with all of the 5 priorities voted for as the most important by the majority of those who have participated, but just that you agree with the majority.

I do agree with the majority but I wanted to share the comments I added when I signed up to the Pledge.

I support the POWER Pledge because it represents a true grassroots desire from the people of Britain to change politics in this country. It gives Government the opportunity to welcome the desire of the people to be actively engaged in British politics at a time when voter apathy is such a huge concern.

I don’t agree that an elected second chamber will necessarily make a difference to the effectiveness of Parliament but welcome negotiation in Parliament on a possible solution, resulting in a referendum.

I am also unconvinced also that restricting votes on ‘English’ laws to ‘English MPs’ is a right course of action. Rather, the country as a whole should be guided by correct principles as part of a written constitution that ensures at a local level that the majority rules.

See the POWER 2010 Pledge for yourself.

TheyWorkForYou.com WordPress plugin

As part of some work for Talk About Local I have just developed a WordPress plugin using the TheyWorkForYou.com API.

For this first version the plugin creates a single widget which shows the latest activity for your MP. I hope to add more in the future and if you have any suggestions, please add them to the comments below.

I made a demo video and wrote instructions on how to set the plugin up which have been posted over on the Talk About Local blog, as well as instructions on installing the plugin.

All that’s left to do now is download the plugin (ZIP).