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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘social change’

Should the BNP appear on the Beeb?

There are few things guaranteed to get the knickers of the British ‘chattering classes’ in a twist more than the British National Party (BNP). It’s bad enough that they exist at all – that they are gaining significantly in electoral support in 21st Century Britain is simply unbelievable! And now the BBC are considering having them on ‘Question Time’…how utterly disgraceful!! People who vote BNP are clearly small-minded, uneducated, unthinking and immoral racists. It’s a harmonic of the BLUE and GREEN vMEMES which condemns the BNP and which condemns those who vote for them. It’s a variant harmonic of these vMEMES which has led the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to take the BNP to court on the charge that the latter’s constitution is discriminatory as it does not allow membership to those of a non-white ethnicity. And it’s another variant harmonic of these vMEMES which has drawn up the forthcoming Equality Bill (2009). The problem with these approaches is that, rather than understand what it is about the BNP that gains support from substantial numbers of people, they attempt to suppress the BNP. However, Nick Griffin and the top echelon of the BNP are smart characters. They have got… Read More

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Afghanistan: Sex or starve! What’s the Issue?

If the stories are true – and there does seem to be some confusion in the accounts – then Hamid Karzai’s government sneaked into law on 27 July an amended version of the Personal Status Law for Afghanistan’s minority Shi’ite population. (Around 15% of the country’s 30 million citizens – the vast majority of whom are Sunnis, to whom the new law does not apply.) The coming into law of this measure certainly does seem ‘sneaked’. With the likes of Barrack Obama, Gordon Brown, France’s Human Rights Minister Rama Yade and NATO boss Jaap de Hoop Scheffer joining the international chorus of protest against the original version of the bill in the Spring, Karzai promised to review the measure before implementing it. Now, just days before the increasingly tightly-contested elections, he appears to have sneaked it into law with some different words but the same meanings. Human Rights Watch says it has seen a copy of the final law that requires Shia women to satisfy their husbands’ sexual appetites at least every 4 days, an article which critics have said could be used to justify marital rape. It enshrines a husband’s right to withdraw basic maintenance from his wife, including food, if… Read More

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Why We must win in Afghanistan

The West simply cannot afford to lose its war in Afghanistan. As the soldiers’ bodies come home in ever-increasing numbers, pressure will inevitably grow for a withdrawal. Already an unpopular war in continental Europe, it will become increasingly difficult for the American and British governments to keep their resolve if media and public pressure focus on the costs in terms of lives and money and there is little sign of real progress. Unfortunately military experts anticipate 2-3 years of hard combat and several more years of Western military presence if the South of the country is to be stabilised. But, if we don’t pay those costs, then the Taliban are likely to take over government again in Kabul. It is thought that, in spite of their apparent significant defeat in the Swat Valley, their eyes are set next on Islamabad and the prize of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Even if Pakistan doesn’t fall, Afghanistan will continue to flood the West with heroin (in spite of the Taliban officially being against opium production!) and it will almost certainly go back to being a training camp for al-Qaeda terrorists. What do we need – another 9/11 or 7/7 – to remind us what British… Read More

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‘Britishness’ at the Regent’s College Summit

Down in a basement meeting room of the Holiday Inn Oxford Circus…that’s where the Centre for Human Emergence – UK (CHE-UK) was born on the afternoon of Friday 26 July 2009. Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck, Jon Freeman (author of ‘God’s Ecology and the Dawkins Challenge’), Rachel Castagne, Lynne Sedgemore CBE,  Ian MacDonald of the Integral Life Centre,  the veteran activist and author Rosemary Wilkie and myself harmonising an intent – creating a spirit, if you will.  That intent is to build MeshWORK alliances to design natural solutions to local problems in the context of a globalised world. The next 2 days, Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th, saw CHE-UK host its first event, ‘A Regent’s Summit on the Future of the UK’ at Regent’s College. Don, Rachel and Jon led the event and old HemsMESH colleague Christopher ‘Cookie’ Cooke flew in from Switzerland to lend his talents to a task-and-feedback session on the Sunday.  About 50 people joined us to get a feel for what the real issues are confronting the UK and what we might do about them. The general consensus was that in the UK a lot of the positive influence of the BLUE vMEME has been diminished by… Read More

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The Thatcherite Project is ended. Whither Britain?

As Gordon Brown sits in 10 Downing Street and contemplates the terrible drubbing the small turn-out of disillusioned voters inflicted on Labour in Thursday’s local elections – 273 Labour seats lost – while hoping desperately that yesterday’s emergency reshuffle of his Cabinet will at least temporarily stall the intra-Labour campaign to oust him and that Sunday’s European election results will not be as bad as predicted, there is one crumb of comfort for him in all this…. The Thatcherite project, which, with his roots in traditional Socialism, he must have hated, is at an end. Margaret Thatcher’s philosophy of the pursuit of individual wealth in an unregulated market, with few or no social responsibilities, was an ethos driven by the ORANGE vMEME. And, for quite a time, that philosophy seemed vindicated. After being the ‘sick man of Europe’ in the 1970s, Britain once again become an economic powerhouse and a country of standing on the world stage, with Thatcher seen clearly to exert influence on those ‘leaders of the free world’, Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush. Thatcherism reached its Capitalist zenith in 1989 with the collapse of European Communism and even China starting to crawl towards a sort of… Read More

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NEETs – are the Tories on the Right Path?

What a pleasure when, from a sociopsychological point of view, some of the politicians appear to be getting it right for once. Or at least partly right! Taking some tentative steps on the right path, maybe…. David Cameron and David Willets have declared they want to solve the ‘NEET problem’ as part of the Conservatives’ plans to sort out ‘Broken Britain’. In case you’re not familiar with ‘NEET’, it’s the acronym for ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ – and the London School of Economics says that 18% of 16-17-year-olds are NEETs. (Department of Children, Familes & Schools (DCFS) data about a year ago had the figure at around 11%. (Although we didn’t call them NEETs back then, the focus of the HemsMESH project 1999-2001 was how to make unemployed teenagers more employable. The national average then was said to be 14%.) According to research by think tank Reform, NEETs are more likely than their peers to use drugs, be involved in crime, have poor health and have children young – nearly two-thirds of NEET females were mothers by the age of 21, 6 times the rate in the rest of the population. Willets, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills, has… Read More

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The Critical Link between Failed States and Values

by Alan Tonkin I am honoured once again to publish AlanTonkin’s work as a ‘guest blog’. Alan wrote this piece for the Global Values Network web site he runs but also thought it would be appropriate to publish it here. GVN is one of the most advanced projects in the world at using Spiral Dynamics to monitor shifts in societies and assess impacts at national, international and even global levels. As the world seems to become an ever-more dangerous place, Alan offers this consideration as to why so many ‘Third World’ states fail to develop in positive and healthy ways for the benefit of their own peoples and the international community. The latest edition of Foreign Policy magazine for July/August 2008, in conjunction with The Fund for Peace, has just published their latest rankings of Failed States with Africa occupying 7 of the top 10 positions. These include Somalia (1), Sudan (2), Zimbabwe (3), Chad (4), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (6), the Ivory Coast – no 8 – and the Central African Republic (10). The non–African countries are Iraq (5), Afghanistan (7) and Pakistan (9) which are in the Middle Eastern region (see map below – copyright © 2008 The Fund for… Read More

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First Kosovo, then Northern Ireland?

So Kosovo’s back in the news. 31 people dead. The return of tribal bloodletting and ethnic cleansing. Only this time it appears to be the Serbs that have been getting the worst of it. Seemingly triggered by the stupidity of Serb youths hounding (literally, with a dog!) a couple of young Albanian children to their deaths in a river, what increasingly looks to be a well-coordinated campaign by Albanians to drive Serbs out of their homes suddenly materialised from nowhere. And now the dream of an Albanian Muslim Kosovo, independent of Serbia, is equally suddenly back openly at the top of certain extremist groups’ agendas. The speed with which the situation in Kosovo deteriorated clearly caught the NATO troops and the United Nations mandated administration off guard. As I write, several thousand addtional NATO troops have entered Kosovo and a relative calm seems to be returning to the Serbian province. Yet the sheer ferocity of this sudden outbreak of ethnic violence raises questions about the viability of the UN strategy for it not only exposed the fragility of the NATO-imposed peace but also its shallowness. On the face of it things had been going reasonably well in Kosovo for the UN.… Read More

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So What is a MeshWORK?

Following the visit of Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck to South-East Wakefield in June 1999, there was much excited talk in certain circles of a ‘Wakefield MeshWORK’. This piece first appeared in the July 1999 edition of the SESKU & Hemsworth Business News, written to capture the key principles for a MeshWORK strategy and has been reproduced here. From some 16 years work in South Africa – during which time he advised both Nelson Mandela and F W DeKlerk – Don Beck has evolved his concept of MeshWORKS. This is an application of Spiral Dynamics which Beck developed with National Values Center partner Chris Cowan from the ground-breaking work of Clare W Graves. Early in the 1950s Graves, an admirer of the work of Abraham Maslow (1943), had set out to collect evidence on the ‘psychologically healthy human being’, expecting to validate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The data he gathered only partly achieved this. Unusually for a psychologist, Graves let his data do the talking – rather than trying to force-fit it to a theory. He also collected more data. A lot of it! What Graves discovered was 8 different core ways of thinking about life – attitudes, value systems, coping… Read More

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