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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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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

The Northampton ‘Supergran’ and the Issues She raises

The footage of ‘supergran’ Ann Timson belting hell out of a bunch of would-be ‘smash ‘n’ grab’ scooter boys at a jewellers in Northampton the other week (7 February, to be precise) has had me musing ever since it was first  broadcast. The fact it is has become a ‘viral phenomenon’, spreading right around the world, has only caused me to muse further. By pure coincidence, a camera man was over the road filming for a documentary and he managed to capture the entire event on film. The footage was aired on ITN News that evening. Within hours, it was on YouTube and received nearly 6,000 views over the next 24 hours. Now there are multiple versions all over YouTube, Daily Motion, etc, using Superman logos and music like Chris De Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’, etc, etc, etc. Ann Timson’s onslaught has made news bulletins in the United States, Australia and many other countries. The event itself raises important questions – as does the fact it has become such a ‘viral phenomenon’. Just in case you haven’t seen it or you need a reminder, here’s a slight edit of the original footage…   Ann Timson So what made a 71-year-old grandmother with arthritis in… 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

What is Democracy?

by Jon Twigge Here is another contribution by Jon Twigge, 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. Most people here in the West seem to think that Democracy is a good thing.  Even those people who don’t think that voting is worth bothering with would probably rather live in a democracy than under a brutal dictatorship. I would say that there are some key aspects of a democracy. The first aspect is an emergent behaviour in a society that arises when a significant proportion of the people believe in rights and fairness.  This belief leads to behaviour that supports law and order and moral codes rather than “may the strongest win” or “survival of the fittest”.  Britain holds a long tradition of Democracy, at least at home here in the UK. You can’t really create a democracy in a country by simply imposing it if the people in that country don’t yet live by social rules that embed rights and fairness in them.  The values of rights and fairness only really come into their… Read More

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

A growing Spiral Dynamics Influence in the Middle East

As proud as I am of Centre for Human Emergence – UK (CHE-UK) , as grand as our ambitions are – and partially redesigning the United Kingdom is pretty ambitious!! – as committed to them as I am and as daunting as the challenges we face are, it seems at times relatively ‘small beer’ compared to what the Center for Human Emergence Middle East (CHE-ME) is up to. Our members don’t live in a semi-hot war zone, with the ever-present threat of real violence (whether terrorist activities – suicide bombers and rockets – or heavy-handed military responses such as in Gaza at the start of this year). The UK might be bothered about corruption in government, desperate to recover from what is being labelled as the worst recession since the 1930s, very unsure of itself as a multi-cultural society in certain parts of the kingdom and iffy in its relations with the EU whilst at the same time being uncertain as to the changing constitutional relationship between its 4 constituent countries. But CHE-ME is faced with a real and frequently violent conflict between one country (Israel) and the stateless land of a dispossessed people it occupies (Palestine), with that stateless land… Read More

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

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

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

De Menezes: was it Policy pulled the Trigger?

It beggars belief. It really does. On 22 July 2005 one policeman holds an innocent man down while two others execute him. A total of 11 shots are fired – 7 into his head. The bullets used are ‘dum-dums’– illegal in warfare under the Geneva Conventions – with flattened noses so they cause maximum damage. The man’s head is effectively blown apart. The execution takes place in full view of the passengers of a tube train. No one is tried for this MURDER – because that’s what it was. In this country: England, the ‘mother of democracy’, with one of the most respected justice systems in the world…? For all the subsequent revelations about his drug use and migrant status, in this context Jean Charles de Menezes was innocent; he was not doing anything to indicate he was about to commit an offence of any description. The police officers had decided he was a suspected suicide bomber and respresented an immediate threat to the public.  So they deliberately killed him without warning. Whatever happened to that centuries-old axiom of English law that a man (or woman) is innocent until proven guilty? Last week’s Old Bailey ruling that the Metropolitan Police were… Read More