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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Coronavirus’

Northern Ireland under the Brexit Bus

Well, Wednesday evening’s videos of youths setting a double decker bus ablaze with petrol bombs – see below (courtesy of The Guardian) – seem finally to have got the current surge in violence in Northern Ireland on to at least some of the news channels.   Even so, Northern Ireland was only on 3 front pages yesterday morning – as the montage below demonstrates.  As ex-MP Anna Soubry commented on Thursday night’s Sky News Press Preview, it’s almost as if much of the news media are determined to ignore the spreading violence – preferably in favour of heartening stories of winning the war against Coronavirus. A frozen conflict On Facebook this week I saw Northern Ireland described as a ‘frozen conflict’. Initially I rejected that term. ‘Frozen conflicts’ were the ‘little wars’ Vladimir Putin’s Russia fought on its borders with Georgia – see Tribal War in South Ossettia – and Ukraine – see Hope from the Tragedy of MH17..? and The Madness of Pietro Poroshenko…? Frozen conflicts…wars, official in Ossetia and unofficial in Ukraine, in which the Russians had gained as much as they wanted to or could, in the face of international condemnation and minor economic sanctions. So they simply… Read More

Coronavirus Crisis: can We go back to ‘Normal’?

All governments around the world are still continuing to approach the coronavirus crisis as though a return to ‘normality’ is not only desirable but possible. Boris Johnson used the term several times in yesterday afternoon’s Downing Street briefing. A number of recent reports have revealed how the pandemic is exacerbating existing massive social and economic inequalities, both nationally (eg: Philip Aldrick in The Times) – and globally  (eg: Oxfam). This lunchtime Sky News‘ Nick Martin showed how Covid-19 is increasing poverty in the already desperate town of Oldham. Of course, a return to the kind of normality described in the Oxfam report may desirable for some but abhorrent for others – ultra-Capitalist systems that create “a rigged economy…enabling a super-rich elite to amass wealth in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, while billions of people are struggling amid the worst job crisis in over 90 years.” This is the kind of normality a great many in the Plutocracy – as defined by Guy Standing (2009; 2011) – and their Elite lackeys in the right-wing media and political parties are working towards developing further. (See: How the Plutocrats are waging War on the Bureaucrats…) Not only do a… Read More

Coronavirus Crisis: Radical Rethink required

The UK government has never had much of a strategy for dealing with coronavirus. Locking down late long after the scientists told them to – all 3 times. Failing to secure adequate PPE right through the first wave. Discharging untested elderly patients from hospitals into care homes. Spending £12 BN on track & trace systems that failed completely or have been only partially effective. Uneven and unfair financial support for those who have lost income. Failing to secure the UK’s borders against potential Covid-carriers. Just for starters! But with the ambitious vaccine programme being rolled out, it did seem the Government was at last getting it right. Close on 5,900,000 had received the first dose by Saturday. Very impressive! But, at Friday’s sombre and testy Downing Street press conference, it looked like the proverbial wheels might be coming off again… Boris Johnson himself revealed that there is “some evidence” the new Kent variant is associated with an increased mortality rate of up to 30% Reports – eg: James Rothwell in the Daily Telegraph – that an Israeli study was suggesting having a longer gap between the first and second jab of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was significantly reducing its effectiveness A letter… Read More

2021

? 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020      2021 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January: The Psychology Topics #3: Crime, Depression evening classes at both Shipley College and Rossett were cancelled due to low take-up. Commentary: the courses were to be run online. As with the previous September, it seemed online was not how people wanted to undertake this kind of training. Also, of course, the Coronavirus pandemic was at the peak of its second wave around the time the courses were due to start, March: Spent half a day at Sci-Tech Daresbury being interviewed on video for the Potentialisation project with Jon Twigge, Christopher Cooke, his wife Sheila and others. Commentary: It was uplifting and fun to catch up with Cookie. I hadn’t seen him since the Regent’s College Summit in 2009. Although Jon and I had engaged in occasional contact over the years, I hadn’t actually been in the same room as him since Regent’s College. (All conversations socially-distanced, of course.) March: Conducted the one-off online workshop Why do They do… Read More

RED Thinking is not up to 21st Century Crisis Leadership

The RED vMEME is strong in the vMEME stack of most politicians. Granted, there may be a sense of calling to public duty (BLUE) for some while others may see becoming a politician as personal career progression ORANGE); but there will almost always be strong RED. The schemas in the selfplex that I am important…that I have the answers…that I can make a difference…. This RED drive will enable these people to put themselves forward, to shout louder in a world of noise where he or she who shouts loudest is the one most often others listen to. It will literally drive them to work long hours, cajole potential allies and bully enemies, and build power networks with ‘subservient lesser beings’ dependent on their favours. Strong RED, lacking any real anticipation of consequences, will make promises it can’t keep and tell lies it can’t possibly substantiate to avoid the immediate shame of seeming powerless under pressure from ‘challenging lesser beings’. RED is usually mediated by BLUE and ORANGE in most politicians. Such strong RED gets out of hand from time to time so politicians tell stupid and indefensible lies, get caught having sex with someone they shouldn’t, fail to declare a… Read More

Could the Political Centre be making a Comeback?

    Could it just be that, with Bernie Sanders’ 13 April endorsement of Joe Biden as Democratic candidate in November’s presidential election – see the ABC News clip above – and the 4 April ascension of Keir Starmer to leadership of the Labour Party, the ‘centre’ is making a comeback in American and British politics? A new poll reported by The London Economic’s Jack Peat puts the centrist Starmer’s net favourability 50 points ahead of Jeremy Corbyn, the ‘hardcore leftie’ he succeeded. (Of course, Corbyn was not really the Marxist the right-wing media slandered him as, though his views  were well to the left of Labour under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and even Ed Miliband) Meanwhile Sanders’ concession to Biden effectively signals the end of what might be termed the Democrats’ ‘hard left’ campaign to win the nomination for presidential candidate. (By ‘hard left’ here, we mean the leftie side of social democracy; again Sanders is nothing like the Marxist some on the hard right claim he is!) Biden is decidedly centrist in his politics – some might even argue right of centre – but that enables him potentially to pick up leftie Republican votes, especially those who are totally… Read More

We might never have a Labour Government again…

…if Keir Starmer isn’t elected Leader In and amongst the genuinely scary headlines over coronavirus and the lurid headlines about Priti Patel’s bullying of her staff, it’s easy to lose sight of the Labour Party leadership election – and just how important this will be for our kingdom. Voting in the membership ballot opened on 24 February and closes at midday on 2 April. The result of the leadership election will be announced on 4 April. To the dismay of a number of my Corbynista friends, I’m going to contend that, if the Labour Party fails to choose Keir Starmer as their leader, they will almost certainly lose the next election. If, following that, they fail to elect Starmer or someone like him, they will lose the election after that. In fact, it’s not inconceivable that we might never have a Labour government again. The problem with choosing Rebecca Long-Bailey is that, like Jeremy Corbyn before her, she will be pilloried by the right-wing press as a near-Communist flogging neo-Marxist policies exhumed from the 1970s. Anything she has said remotely expressing sympathy for a cause (such as Palestine) that could, how ever tenuously, be linked to a terrorist act (or even… Read More

2020

The Year of Disruption 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020      2021 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January-March: Ran Psychology Topics #1: Romantic Relationships, Mental Health evening classes at both Shipley College and Rossett. However, the courses were terminated prematurely at week 9 due to schools and colleges being closed in measures to limit the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping through the UK (and much of the rest of the world). Commentary: Both programmes had been hugely successful, with classes large in size and gelling very well. There was a real sense of disappointment amongst participants – though everybody recognised the necessity of the closures. In January I was observed for one of the sessions and again rated ‘Outstanding’ (or the equivalent of it under the updated policy). (Excerpts from the observer’s report are included in the Learner Perspectives pages.) Gallery: Shipley College participants, March (All photos: Joan Russell/Shipley College ) – click on photo to enlarge. March: Lost almost all of my Year 13 tuition students as the Government scrapped A-Levels this year and… Read More

Glossary G

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z GABA: gamma-amino butryic acid is a neurotransmitter that is produced at times of stress or anxiety and acts as the bodys’ natural form of stress relief. GABA works by inhibiting the transmission of an action potential at the synapse. GDP: Galvanic Skin Response: a means of measuring the electrical conductivity of the skin which is increased by sweating. When the autonomic nervous system is aroused through stress or strong emotion, an electrode placed on the skin – eg: the wrist or the palm – relays the electrical activity to a machine that responds to electrical signals. Gamete: reproductive cell – either sperm or egg – in its mature state. Gender: the psychological characteristics associated with being male or female. Many of these characteristics are socially determined and may be relative to the particular culture or society rather than being universal. Sociologists and psychologists usually distinguish between these sociopsychological characteristics and the anatomical features of being either biologically male or female. Gender Bias: generally this is the tendency to prefer one gender over another. It is the… Read More

Social Change #3

PART 3 Lower Right Quadrant Here we will look at some key structural factors which create pressures for social change… Pandemic The single biggest factor in the short-term is the Coronavirus crisis. At the time of writing, the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control has recorded  infections and  deaths. With no reliable vaccine in sight, the virus running rampant across the United States and much of the less developed world and even European countries battling to contain spikes in infections, there is no way of knowing how long the virus will run, how many people will be killed or sustain long-term harm to their health and what the damage will be economically and socially. What is possible in democracies, especially those that have swung to the right in recent years, is that voters may seek to throw out those leaders who have proved hopeless incompetent in efforts to battle the virus. Donald Trump is the first major leader who will face such a test in November 2020. Other factors which can influence change are:- Population Growth and Composition Changes in the size and composition of the population can have important effects for other aspects of a society. One example of… Read More