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A Cup of Cocoa

I’ve been pretty unsuccessful in finding a subject to write about today although there’s plenty to think about. Last night I had dinner with our UK head of eGovernment, Ian Watmore – among others – at an awards ceremony. I did rather buttonhole him on the subject, poor chap but then it’s a subject that is guaranteed to stir strong feelings. I may write a little more on the subject soon.



On the way home to the coast from Victoria station, late that night, a large African lady in cultural dress and three young children, joined me and one other person in the carriage. The children were tired but playful and I immediately guessed, that like other journeys from Victoria, they were along for the ride, on “The Train to Nowhere”, which stops at Ramsgate but discharges it’s passengers from distant shores on to the streets of Margate and into the welcoming arms of the Nayland Rock and other refugee processing centres in the area.

What I wondered were they doing travelling at this time of night and where had they come from? As a parent, I felt desperately sorry for her trying to entertain her small and very tired children. “Can I have a cup of cocoa when we get there mama” said the eldest one, a simple question which touched me profoundly.

Would, eGovernment mean anything at all to the woman I asked myself. I had just come from a celebration of electronic government and in the people in the room with me represented millions upon millions of pounds of government money spent on many different online projects but framed by a child’s question it all appeared so very distant from the deeper need in our society.


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