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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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Great Ideas from the East…?

I don’t think I’m racist. At least, not consciously so. And I would hate to think I was unconsciously racist. (Althougth the PURPLE vMEME easily makes racists of us all if we’re not careful, with its not-of-our-tribe discriminations!) I guess I sort of knew enough from my studies in Psychology and Sociology to recognise vaguely that I was ethnocentric. Today it was brought home to me just how ethnocentric I am. I was exposed to the ideas of a female Pakistani business consultant – WOAHHHH!!!!!! Hang on! A female business consultant from Pakistan???????? Well, there goes the tabloids’ version of a Pakistan stuffed full of sub-al-Qaeda clerics intent on reducing the world to a feudal fundamentalist state, with the women only allowed out of their homes if chaperoned by their menfolk and dressed in full burkha. Clearly there is more diversity in Pakistan than ‘The Sun’ newspaper would have us believe! Score one on the enthnocentric challenge meter! Then, the ideas of this consultant, Ramla Akhtar, are really rather interesting. Although it is nominally a business model, Ramla’s People Centred Model of Businesa (PC-MoB) is as much a model for growing psychologically-healthy individuals in a sociologically-healthy society. Ramla admits to developing her schematic before discovering Spiral Dynamics;… Read More

Quo Vadis Zimbabwe: an Issue of Values

by Alan Tonkin As the crisis in Zimbabwe worsens and the country slips further into turmoil, Alan Tonkin has forwarded this piece he wrote for the Global Values Network web site he runs. 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. Alan’s piece not only presents an incisive analysis; it draws attention to both the very real human tragedies being experienced in Zimbabwe and the dangers which could engulf the region if the country is allowed to implode. I am honoured to publish Alan’s work as a ‘guest blog’. Different politics – different world views The issue of the release of the final Zimbabwe Election results is being contested by both ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change but for very different reasons.  Before going into these reasons one needs to look behind the claims and counter claims in order to more fully understand why there is this dispute. Zimbabwe: a brief review of recent history Going back over the period following the Second World War, Southern Rhodesia was still a British colony which in 1953 was incorporated into the Federation of Rhodesia &… Read More

Tariq Ali gets Benazir Bhutto wrong!

So that old agent provacateur extraordinare, Tariq Ali, has attacked the naming in Benazir Bhutto’s will of 19-year-old son Bilawal as her successor as leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, describing it as “a digusting medieval charade” (His article was the front page lead story in the New Year’s Eve edition of The Independent – and he appeared on that morning’s editon of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, reiterating his position.) In describing the succession of Bilawal as “medieval”, Tariq was spot on! Moreover, his description of Asif Zardari, Bhutto’s widower (and Bilawal’s father), as a “feudal potentate” – a Lord Chancellor or Grand Vizier? – who will run the party until his son is old enough, is also pretty close to the mark. Where Tariq misses the point is to call it “disgusting” and a “charade”. He goes on to say: “How can Western-backed politicians be taken seriously if they treat their party as a fiefdom and their supporters as serfs, while their courtiers abroad mouth sycophantic niceties concerning the young prince and his future?” The point is: this is very much how the politcians in Pakistan must act if they wish to design an alternative government to the military dictatorship… Read More

A Message for Tony Blair?

Well, Gordon Brown certainly had an ‘interesting’ introduction to his new life as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. 3 British troops killed in Iraq on Thursday 28 June (the day after his assumption of power), 2 car bomb plots somewhat miraculously foiled in London in the early hours of Friday 29th and the dramatic Cherokee Jeep bomb attack on Glasgow Airport Saturday afternoon (30th). British troops are being killed or injured in Iraq now on a fairly regular basis; so there may or may not be any significance in the timing of the Basra roadside bombing. But there is much speculation about the supposedly-linked London and Glasgow attacks and what their meaning might be. A number of commentators are of the view that the car bombs are some kind of message from al-Qaeda to Gordon Brown. Quite what that ‘mesage’ might be is harder to fathom – especially since there has yet to be any kind of statement from a recognised agent of the terrorist network. Nor has there been any indication so far that the police have relevant information on either motive or instigating source from the suspects they are interrogating. Certainly Brown has signalled that ‘change’ is going to be his motif… Read More

Are the Tories sitting on an Election Winner?

The received wisdom of the political pundits is that 2005 will be an election year. It doesn’t need to be, of course. Constitutionally Tony Blair can go on to May 2006; but prime ministers often like to put themselves to the vote after 4 years – especially if they think they are ahead of the Opposition and/or they think things are likely to get worse. The Labour Government looks tired and no longer so sure of itself – particularly in terms of  policies. (For example, House of Lords reform is bogged down and the fox hunting ban is a mess.) Blair is unpopular with much of his own party and much of the country – tainted by his unremitting support for the American war on/in Iraq. The media continue to speculate on just how sour relations are between Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown. And the Prime Minister’s unequivocal public support for Home Secretary David Blunkett right upto the morning of his forced resignation has once again brought into question his judgement. With the Government seeming to stumble from one poor/unpopular decision to another, you would think Blair would want to hang on as long as possible in the hope of things somehow improving. That to go to the… Read More

Prisoner abuse and the mess in Iraq

So Donald Rumsfeld has not only admitted to Congress that, yes, American soldiers have been doing rather nasty and degrading things to Iraqi detainees but there is, in fact, far worse to come – including videos! (It’s already been confirmed that 2 Iraqis have died in US custody – one with ‘strangulation’ identified as the cause of death on his post-mortem report! – and there will almost certainly be more come to light if allegations of firing on unarmed prisoners from a prison watchtower are accurate.) However, the abuse, according to Rumsfeld, has not been ‘systematic’ but merely the actions of some ‘bad apples’. As his President, George W Bush, points out, there are some 200,000 American troops in Iraq and the vast majority are doing a demanding and highly-dangerous job with bravery and integrity. In the larger scheme of things, the average ‘GI Joe’ in Iraq is probably epitomising Bush’s case on a daily basis. Unfortunately for Bush and Rumsfeld, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have them squarely in their sights. According to the Red Cross, they recorded regular abuses at Baghdad’s Abu Grhaib jail between March and October 2003 – the worst being in the October – and presented the… Read More

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

Does Hull have a Race Relations Problem?

On the evening of Friday 25 July in my home town of Hull, two groups of men – one white and composed of locals and the other said to be made up of Iraqis and Kurds – fought each other in the Spring Bank and Pryme Street area of Hull. Knives and clubs were brandished. Fortunately police intervened rather speedily and no one was seriously injured – though several cars were badly damaged. 15 arrests were made for “offences ranging from racially-motivated behaviour to carrying an offensive weapon” (Hull Daily Mail). Trouble flared again between the two groups around about 5 PM the following day (26th) and another 14 arrests were made. The trouble was supposedly sparked by the arrest earlier on the Friday of a white man in connection with an attack on an Iraqi man the previous Sunday night (20 July). In that incident the victim had been attacked by a group of white men in the Pryme Street car park and hit with a baseball bat. He ran off along Freetown Way but was knocked down by a vehicle which one of the white men drove onto the pavement to hit him. “Other cars driven by the group… Read More

Hull OFSTED hits the Mark – but misses the Point!

After months of speculation in the media and undoubtedly trepidation at the Guildhall (seat of Kingston Upon Hull City Council) and in Essex House (the headquarters of Hull’s Local Education Authority), the results of the inspection last September by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) have been made public. 2002 was a bad year for Hull Education. The city returned to the bottom of Britain’s GCSE league tables after managing one place above bottom the previous year and slumped 11 places down the primary league tables. Director of Learning Peter Fletcher, in post only a year or so, held Hull’s headteachers accountable for the GCSE league table performances last Summer while the Hull Daily Mail screamed out its headline, ‘Do you care?’  at parents who allowed and even facilitated truanting by their children. The OFSTED report has largely upheld these two positions. Fletcher and Essex House get off pretty lightly while headteachers are criticised for not being focussed enough. However, it is parents and the truancy issue which seems to have most vexed the inspectors. Since the LEA is considered to be pursuing a robust anti-truancy policy – truancy sweeps in conjunction with Humberside Police have made local headlines several… Read More

A Tale of 2 Councils…and the Real Challenge facing Simone Butterworth and Jim Brooks

The county of North Lincolnshire and my home town of Hull are virtually neighbours. Just 5 miles of the A63 through the East Riding of Yorkshire and a mile or so of the Humber Bridge separate them. North Lincolnshire Council has been awarded Beacon Council status. Following a damning Audit Commission report, Kingston Upon Hull City Council is under serious threat of some form of central government intervention unless, by December 2002, it can show demonstrable progress against its remedial Action Plan. Why such different scenarios for two local authorities geographically so close? Systemic thinking? Nothing symbolises the differences between the two councils more than the critical field of Education. For it is its strategies in Education that have seen North Lincolnshire achieving Beacon status in two consecutive years. (Although the Beacon award was specifically for Education, to achieve the award, the Council per se has to be perceived as a high-performing local authority.) By comparison Hull has been bottom of the GCSE league tables for 4 years out of the past 5; the year it wasn’t bottom, it was next to bottom. There are those in Hull who look enviously at the semi-affluent farming communities around Scunthorpe. They proclaim that, if… Read More