Monday 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

... For 2013. Have a great New Year!

Washminster will continue to be offline until further notice.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Democracy - and exercising ones rights

In a Democracy - it's not enough to legally grant the right to vote - people should be able to vote without barriers being erected. This letter was sent out today by Senator Mark Warner.

This year was another historic election for the battleground state of Virginia – but as the weeks have passed, I’ve been troubled by the stories I’ve heard from people across the Commonwealth and across the country about the hours they spent in line waiting to vote.

It’s inexcusable. Voters reportedly waited three, four and even five hours to cast their vote on Election Day. In the 21st century, in the greatest democracy in the world, voting shouldn’t be this hard.

That’s why I’ve joined with Senator Chris Coons to co-sponsor the Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely (FAST) Voting Act of 2012, a piece of legislation that would provide incentives for states like Virginia to invest in practices and technology that would expedite voting at the polls and simplify voter registration. Now, I’m asking for your help to turn up the pressure on Congress to pass this important legislation into law.

Make your voice heard – sign the petition urging Congress to pass the FAST Act.

Virginians came out full force in 2012. But far too many of them were asked to wait longer than they could afford for the right to cast their ballot. These lengthy wait times have effectively brought forward a 21st century poll tax. 

These flaws in our voting systems are fixable – but only if Congress acts. We need to ensure this voter disenfranchisement doesn’t happen again by passing common sense reforms that make voting faster and more accessible to all voters.

Please click here to sign the petition and join me in urging Congress to pass the FAST Act.

Thank you,

Mark Warner

Poor Service by Solicitors

Not all solicitors provide the same level of service. As a law lecturer, I know that students have different academic achievements and approaches to their work. But once they have qualified, they can practice. There are some excellent solicitors out there, but there also appalling ones - who provide poor service to their clients; fail to keep them properly informed; make expensive mistakes - and can ruin lives. Working for MPs & MEPs, I am used to hearing from people who have spent years trying to pick up the pieces after poor service from their lawyer turned a problem (or even a routine transaction like buying or selling a house) into a nightmare.

What can you do if something goes wrong? The video below is from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.