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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘charity’

Meanings in the Blood and Turmoil of Egypt

BBC journalist Tim Whewell has posted a brilliant and provocative analysis of the current crisis in Egypt entitled: Egypt Crisis: does Political Islam have a Future? In it Whewell characterises the conflicts which have erupted in Egypt as first the demand for the removal of Mohammed Morsi a month or so back by secularists and since then the demand for his reinstatement by Islamists. The desperate determination of the Egyptian secularists is summed up in Whewell’s piece by the Royal United Services Institute’s Shashank Joshi: “What we’re seeing is a coalition of liberal, secular, youth, revolutionary groups…who have decided that what they value is secularism at all cost, even if the cost is the shredding of every other liberal value that they hold.” While the brutality of the military in repressing the Cairo Islamists is shocking and has drawn condemnation from right around the world, there is ambivalence towards it from many Egyptian secularists. There is real distrust of the Islamists; and the fear meme has spread virally, as Whewell indicates when he says: “President Morsi was removed as much through fear of what he might do in the future as anger over what he had done already.” The Egyptian crisis… Read More

Is the Big Society in BIG Trouble?

So the day after David Cameron effectively relaunches the ‘Big Society’, with a new ‘white paper’, his key figure in charge of implementing the Big Society, Lord Wei of Shoreditch, resigns…. That could hardly be worse timing! Surely Cameron knew Wei was going?!? In which case it would have been much more politically astute to have rescheduled the launch of the white paper. As it is, Wei’s departure is a gift to Labour, with Shadow Cabinet Office minister Theresa Jowell saying, “….yet again”  the Big Society is “descending into farce. Only a day after Cameron told us all to take more responsibility, it appears that there will now be nobody in his government responsible for bringing the Big Society into reality.” If Cameron didn’t know Wei was going, then it says something about Wei that he could time his resignation to such negative effect or about either Cameron’s judgement in recruiting such a fickle ally or  Cameron’s treatment of Wei that he could undermine his boss in such a damaging way. Whatever the circumstances of Wei’s depearture, the effect is damaging both to Cameron personally and to the development of the Big Society concept. Whether you think Cameron is being honest when… Read More

Could Bernard Jenkin and Iain Duncan Smith be 2nd Tier thinkers?

Maybe there is some hope of 2nd Tier thinking emerging amongst UK politicians….? I was greatly heartened yesterday to hear Bernard Jenkin, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme call for strategic thinking to create a “deep and sustained analysis of what kind of country we want to be in 10 or  20 years time.” Jenkin, Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC), was being interviewed about the Committee’s report, ‘Who does UK National Strategy?’, published mere hours before the first part of the Government’s Strategic & Security Defence Review. The Committee’s report suggested there was a tendency for Whitehall to “muddle through”. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars were cited as examples where there had been a lack of over-arching strategy. The report also warned that the UK’s capacity to think strategically had been undermined by assumptions that its national interests are best served by its relationship with the US and economic links within the European Union – “Uncritical acceptance of these assumptions has led to a waning of our interests in, and ability to make, national strategy,” Unfortunately Foreign Secretary William Hague attempted to make political capital from the report, saying it showed a “chronic lack of strategic thinking in Britain’s… Read More

Cameron & Clegg: where’s the vision?

2 months ago, in ‘Liberal Conservatives’: New Politics?, I wrote about my hopes that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition might indeed be the start of the ‘new politics’ Nick Clegg says he’s always believed in. I talked about the need for 2nd Tier thinking in Government to take us beyond repeating the same old mistakes, ideological conflicts and embezzlement of the public purse. A month on I’ve yet to see real signs of 2nd Tier thinking in anything the new Government does. Yes, as Henry Porter wrote in last Sunday’s Observer (11 July), they’ve made a good start. “…the coalition has moved with degrees of fair mindedness and deliberation that are refreshing. To be sure, there have been blunders, like Michael Gove’s botched announcement on scrapping new schools, but it surely is right to suggest that doctors be put in charge of spending GPs’ £80bn budget, to remove the target culture from the health service and provide 24-hour cover. The withdrawal from Sangin and setting a deadline for ending combat in Afghanistan is welcome, as is the review of defence needs and spending. For once, our relations with the world appear to be conducted by grown-ups without displays of fawning or self-importance…..In… Read More

Yesterday I met Zulfi Hussain MBE

Well, no, I didn’t actually get to meet Zulfi Hussain to say ‘Hello’ – but we were in the same room and we made eye contact and he will know who I am because I was the guy going on about the importance of values in understanding diversity. (“Hey, Zulfi, that was me…Keith Rice!”)   If I sound unusually humble and maybe even a little subservient – fawning, even! – not at all my usual pompous and arrogant self…well, I spent some time yesterday with one of those rare people who just make a difference in the world. Almost just by who they are. You just know, being with them, that you are in the presence of someone special – very special indeed!   I can probably number on one hand the people who have made me feel that way previously: Spiral Dynamics co-developers Don Beck & Chris Cowan, Meta-States developer L Michael Hall, ‘Inner Child’ specialist Penny Parks, maybe former Hidden Resources head honcho John Lavan….   The occasion was a get-together yesterday morning of some of the speakers and committed participants in the ruins of the 6th annual Yorkshire Leadership Conference. The Conference, so successful in previous years, had… Read More

The Danger for British Gas

The news that British Gas is declaring annual profits of £571m for its residential business – a jump of around 500% on its 2006 figures – with an anticipated increase of 17% in dividend payouts, only a month after announcing a 15% increase in its charges for supply of gas and electricity, is astoundingly bad PR (public relations) management. Especially when the profits reflect cost-cutting exercises that cost 2,000 employees their jobs, with another 1,000 redundancies planned for the coming year. The critical furore right across the news media, the vicious attacks from consumer interest groups and the welcome for the investigation by the energy regulator, Ofgem, could easily have been foreseen – and should have been! Ostensibly British Gas looks like a company in ‘Aristocracy’ on the Organisation LifeCycle – arrogant, flaunting its wealth, insensitive to public perception of its actions, with a determined focus on shareholder interests and profit maximisation, rather than customer (consumer) needs As the newspapers dig deeper, in a bid to see who can splash British Gas with the most mud, we see figures bandied about like Centrica, the owner of British Gas, declaring profits of £2bn this year while the average household energy bill has… Read More