Showing posts from 2010

We're All In It Together ...

The heading of this article states the obvious ... we are tied together in this irrevocable existence by just being here. It does not matter whether we live here or in Timbuktu, we are linked together; we are one.

So when the country's CONDEM leadership tell us that "we're all in it together", they seem to be telling us something we don't know. Is this they just talking down to us, or are they actually committing a Freudian slip ... that they're actually trying to cover up something?

Yes, they're covering up. They tell us with one hand that they're going to go for the offshore investors who escape paying taxes, yet they have members of their own cabinet that use those facilities. They tell us that we're in it together, but the cabinet contains around 20 millionaires who will hardly note any jolt as this economic 'knife' cuts at the jugular for those who are not able to bear the burden that cuts will bring.

They also tell us that all this i…

Blare, Blare, Blare ...

The good thing about Tony Blair's autobiography is that it's proceeds will go to the British Legion. But, having see him being interviewed on the BBC, I have no desire to read it. The nature of the book (as TB himself revealed) should - I suggest - turn away reasonable people from its pages.

Anyone who calls himself a friend should not be describing his friend as having "zero emotional intelligence", and even more so when Gordon Brown's life reveals anything but that.

So what is TB trying to do? I see him living a life with blinkers on and in the process creating smoke screens for his followers to negotiate. Few of his words seem to resonate with truth, as Chistopher Meyer has observed.

What sort of politician is TB? One, clearly that believes in his own path to solve the world's problems. That his actions have helped to kill over 100,000 Iraqis (oh, Mr. Blair, that Sadam killed a huge number is not the point to justify this) in the ploy of regime change. But…

Cost Cutting Apparently Makes Money - for some!

Today I'm a bit down with a chest infection, but at least (I thought) you cannot hear my barking coughs, so I decided to continue with a small piece for this week!

The latest piece of 'wonder' news from the government is that they're appointing someone special to oversee cost-cutting in the NHS. Apparently a person so special that when he was head of BP he cut their services so massively that standards and safety issues (it is reported) went by the board. It would appear to be his legacy of management that effectively caused the BP oil-spill situation which the U.S. is so bitterly complaining about - and justifiably so.

So ... with my throat being sore I leave that message of warning with you. I rather wish that my throat had become sore by voicing loudly this issue at Hyde Park Corner, but there we are!

Can/could Keynesian Growth Succeed?

Last week's budget brought out condemnation from The Independent and The Times. How, they said, can you apply such a swingeing budget and expect any stimulus for growth to take hold? It's absurd, they cried, there must be stimulus for growth ...

Well, if the world were to be ever-capable of sustaining never-ending growth then I would be the first to agree with the logic of those newspapers. The problem is that the world is not capable of sustaining continuous demands on its resources, therefore the budget - more by a miracle than human design I strongly suspect - has bent to the laws of sustainability.

The major failure of the new government has been that they have not said that we need to address our view of life in quite a different way - that we individually need (in any case) to tighten our purse strings and also place a ceiling on our desires.

This government is doing some right things, but in the wrong way. It's not being transparent about the real decisions that ha…

Too Little Space

Last night, at half-time in the Brazil vs Ivory Coast match (yes, I watch some of the World Cup!), I flicked over to another channel where they just happened to be talking about ecological problems in the Philippines.

They happened to show an island that was so small you could see the detail of the whole island in the camera shot, and the island was covered with the multi-coloured roofs of so many, many huts.

So, the immediate question was "How do they find the foods they need?" The answer was, of course, that fishing was the essence of their survival. But the population of that island (and the surrounding islands) was becoming so great that the fish supplies were being rapidly plundered ... and in such a way that big damage was being done to the coral reefs. They were dynamiting the fish, and using poisons, to capture their needed quota. The resulting scenario was bleak ... the future of the fish stocks was in jeopardy.

Luckily, the problem was already being addressed in a…

Do Good People Managers Exist?

I would hope so. But I am seriously wondering whether the profit motive in business, combined with the culture of 'image', isn't losing sight of the fact that people are ... well ... people, and the best ways of people management are to do with recognising that employees are just like anyone else. Including the managers. People are people and feel a need for being recognised as having value.

Importantly, however, enabling people to feel recognised (and not just by wage-earning) can be important for the growth of the employer's business.

Back in the early 1970s, when I was an up-and-coming project leader / supervisor, I was wisely sent on some in-house training to learn how to become a better people manager. And the first principles I was introduced to were those laid out by man named Abraham Maslow. He was probably a genius, and I say that because the principles and issues he laid out were so much to do with commonsense and the fact that the motives for each and every …

Is Clegg Getting Clogged?

It is not my wish to start throwing barbed arrows at governing politicians, and certainly not for the reason that their political persuasion may be different from mine.

However, having been willing to give the new young men in power the chance to prove that they might be knights in shining armour, the cracks have started to show.

Having supported Labour's point of view that the economy should not be squeezed too quickly - mainly to protect jobs and services and to provide for the chance of recovery - the Liberals have suddenly moved towards the Tories' policy and are working hand-in-hand with the Tories.

In other words, 15m voters (vs 10m) voted for caution on spending cuts and 15m voters presumably now feel that they have been disenfranchised. They have been sold downriver.

"Oh, the situation is worse than we thought!" pipes Nick Clegg. Nonsense. The amount of borrowing is several billion down on what was thought to be the case. The situation is (marginally) better …

Small is Beautiful

About 35 years ago, a man called Ernst Schumacher wrote a book entitled the same as the title of this post. Despite his name, he had become 'English' in every sense, and had been a very successful executive in the British Coal Board decades earlier. I was fortunate to hear a talk given by him in London, just prior to his death around 1976/77.

In my view, the man should be recognised as a prophet. In his well-written book he described how necessary it was (for the sake of man's well-being as much as anything) to downsize our approach to everything, that it was not necessary to plot solutions to technological problems on a huge scale. He illustrated how 'big' solutions for under-developed countries often ended in failure. But he went beyond that, he pointed out the need for people to be involved in what they're employed by - to have a 'say' in their collective welfare; the aplication of the 'commonwealth' or 'cooperative' principle.


The Big View

I have been writing a lot about the UK election, and as it's a fresh issue that helps to account for it; it would probably be not right for me to sound out-of-touch with current events!

But, today, let's step back a little and think of the global situation and the UK's recent events in the light of that.

What's recently happened in Greece and is possibly impending in Portugal and Spain, and much further away - in Thailand and parts of Africa - is probably only a glimmer of the stark realities of where modern culture has taken us. Despite our withdrawal as a country of Empire so many years ago now, there has ever since been a continuation of the theme of the main western countries taking a colonial approach in far-away territories. The west has always tried to make out to our distant friends that there is something superior about our way of life of TVs, cars and associated gimmicks, and now that eastern countries are better able to produce those commodities, we feel hur…

Expenditure Cuts ... Any Harm?

Cameron has said that £6bn. must be saved from the government's expenditure this year. He says "from wastage". Well, if that is the case, all well and good ... but who is going to judge what is wastage? If it's a case of too much being spent on office luxury in the civil service, well fine - but I feel that this is typical of an old Tory trick to cut expenditures on areas where it can see no benefit for the middle and upper classes. And I use the word "classes" advisedly ... we have moved into another type of class society; we cannot seem to get away from those who "have" and those who "haven't" and - importantly and sadly - a big divide separating them.

The concern is that expenditures provided by the outgoing government were already beginning to bring about the Big Society espoused by Cameron. Volunteer efforts combined with government expertise were beginning to take hold. But will the cuts start to affect those efforts? ... If th…

An Inner Perspective on Politics

For the past week I have been harping on about UK politics and politicians and a sense of betrayal in a section of the electorate at least. But perhaps we should look at the way out from our dubious political convictions from a different perspective.

To start with, it would be probably obvious to state that a voter's political opinion is guided by his own material condition. For example, the student might be guided to a vote by the 'promise' of no severe policy on the repayment of his student loan, or the banker who does not want controls placed on his ability to 'earn' as much as he can get.

But what has that approach brought us this time? Stalemate. Surely, what we have obtained is the result of our own selfish ambitions, and our ambitions have proved to be at odds with our neighbour's.

We need to be honest with ourselves and admit that our selfishness is the cause of our misery. Yet, within each one of us is the innocence that we were born with - a simplicit…

Truth and Politicians

I should have known. The words of a politician are never to be taken at face value, as exemplified in the latest talk on "strong government". It has transpired - not too surprsingly - that the right do not trust the existing tools of democracy and want more security for their government by changing the statute book. There's even objection within their own ranks.on this, so it must be a serious issue! The question is, will the government whip strengthen itself to impose unanimity on the recalcitrant, and thus remove the obstacle? I fear there's little doubt on that issue.

What has the electorate done? Politics is now about about a type of politician that looks good and talks glibly - to get the public's attraction and the vote. Further, it has been reported that Cameron's advisors told him "not to sound too Tory". Meanwhile, the erstwhile prime minister - with grey-hair and sagging eyes after devoted worry about serving to the best of his ability - g…

The Reaction

Watching the Beeb's 'Question Time' last night brought it home to me how many voters think they have been sold down river into this coalition. 'We didn't vote for this!', they cried. But they did (vote for that) because that's how the voting came out.

Because of history, and the fact that the Liberals have never been good bed-fellows with the Tories, the current situation does not look appetising, but we all just have to swallow our indignation and let us see what transpires. Yes, I think there is a case for saying that the Liberals have been used and that their participation in the end will count for nothing except serving the Tory cause. But ... some coalition had to come out of the electors' muddle, and this is it. We've got it.

Malcolm Heseltine, however, made it painfully clear that in 12 months time the (his) new government would not be popular because of the 'difficult' decisions it is about to make. If such 'difficult' decsio…

The Needs of Society

The big question mark about the UK's new government is - surely - whether Cameron (and Clegg) can really reverse the trend in the Tories that was re-invented by Thatcher over 20 years ago - i.e. that (according to her) 'there is no such thing as society'.

Her attitude was so reviled by those who live in the real world that it could only mean that when Labour could get enough momentum, they would get back in and check the stagnation that the Thatcher years left behind. Is Cameron's real intention to undo the Thatcher theme in his party? If so, then why did he not stand as a Liberal? The Tories have never before been progressive on social issues - they've introduced nothing (in all their years) of real help to the working population, and now they are going to do otherwise? Seeing is believing in this case! I can't help feeling that there will be tears in four or five years time. Or less.

What is really needed - surely - is a middle-ground progressive party or coa…

The Uk Election (2)

So ... a Cam-Clegg coalition. I have to admit I am resigned to this being probably the only practical solution to the organisation of a government, other than going back to the country again without guarantee of a satisfactory result.

It became clear - as the days since the election wore on - that a Lab-Lib coalition would not work, particularly in that those two parties by themselves could not gain a majority in the Commons. But, despite my reservations, the start of the Con-Lib pact has been good. It remains to be seen how it all works out in practise given that hardly any of the cabinet will have had previous government experience, and that the Tory cost-cutting plans were against the Liberal ethic.

And there's the matter of them agreeing to remove income tax up to £10k. How that's going to be paid for in a time of cuts remains to be seen!

Let's give it six months at least before we find fault with policy. This one has to be given a chance.

The UK Election

The election ... I hope it should tell us something, and more than one 'thing' in fact. Firstly, what is patently clear is that the Tories who (through Mrs Thatcher) declared society does not exist, have tried to claw back a vote based on deception. I will not disagree with some of Mr. Cameron's aspirations, but to me they are a disengenuous party, always pandering to where they think they can find votes. Secondly, that mainly due to the nature of the Tory Party's history, the public do not have sufficient confidence in them. Thirdly, that there are 15 million Labour & Liberal voters who distrust the Tories association with business and voted against the 10m Tory voters for a different kind of approach.

The Labour Party, of course, has not been 'squeeky clean', but I will be thoroughly disappointed - nay, disgusted - if the Liberals do end up by working with the Tories.

However, whatever happens in this political round, politics and life as we have known it…