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The Curious Case of being British

by Jon Twigge I am thrilled to be able to publish another contribution by Jon Twigge, an ardent Spiral Dynamics Integral enthusiast and supporter of the Centre of Human Emergence – UK. Jon wrote the piece for his own blog and has graciously consented to it being published here as well. Unusually for me this post contains a little bit of my personal history… Jon What exactly does it mean to be British? Well, for most of my life I lived without really knowing what it meant at all.  At least, not consciously. I have been brought up in a rather sterile environment from the point of race and the world.  I lived most of my young life until I was 18 in a small village in rural Derbyshire in England.  The local village school, that I attended until I was 11, was a Church of England school, nominally at least, and I don’t particularly remember any overt racial, cultural or religious content to my first years at school. I have to admit to having a terrible memory for facts but I don’t recall a single non-white face from my years at infant and junior school.  Perhaps that is not too… Read More

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

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

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

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

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