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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

vMEMES’

For Sian and Gillian Baverstock

Isn’t it strange how the death of someone you have fond memories of can affect you? This morning I learned of the death of Gillian Baverstock this Sunday past  (24 June) at the age of 76. From pursuing the obit columns, I realised that Gillian’s daughter, Sian, had died last year from a heart attack at the age of 44. Who were Gillian and Sian Baverstock? Well, for starters, they were respectively the daughter and granddaughter of Enid Blyton and wife and daughter respectively of Donald Baverstock, one of the early controllers of BBC 1 who was later involved in the setting up of Yorkshire Television. (It was Baverstock who commissioned the first series of ‘Doctor Who’ – and it was from the forum of the Doctor Who fansite Outpost Gallifrey that I learned of Gillian’s death.) In 1988 I enjoyed a 6-7 months romantic relationship with Sian, during which I met Gillian several times. She was every bit the charming, elegant and articulate woman described in the obits though she kept a polite distance emotionally from much of what was going on around her. She was as reserved as she was welcoming. The Baverstocks were a troubled family, though, for… Read More

Is Marriage PURPLE?

Just got back from the marriage of my friend and occasional business partner, David Burnby, and Jean MacEwan, manager of Hull’s Centre 88 (where I have staged a number of  ISP courses,) It was truly heart-warming to see two such dear friends ‘tying the knot’; while the dance/party in the evening was certainly something! David, ever the showman, danced vigorously in a Bogart-style white tux and black bow tie almost continuously. And he got up on stage at one point in the band’s set to replace the drummer for their version of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’. Jean positively glowed as she circulated enthusiastically – the near-perfect hostess! A spendid night! Peter Fryer of trojan mice is a mutual friend of David and I and someone I very much respect. (Peter wrote the Thriving Organisation Article for this site.) Just before the ceremony he asked me (as the Gravesian ‘expert’ there): “Is marriage PURPLE?” Considering Peter is fairly knowledgeable about the work of Clare W Graves and Spiral Dynamics himself, I was slightly taken aback by the question. Of course, the binding together of 2 people in a bonding arrangement should aim to fulfill PURPLE’s need for attachment. And since I have a degree of attachment to… Read More

Oh, goodie – Passionate Sex!!!

If you say you’re enjoying sex with the same person after three years, you’re either a liar or you’re on something.” – Sebastian Horsley, The Observer Magazine, 15 January 2006 The Observer (aka The London Observer) has had quite a makeover for the New Year. Down from broadsheet to Berliner size and with reorganised sections. Still good, informative and well-reported coverage of a wide range of topical news issues, both domestic and foreign. As part of this makeover, The Observer’s longstanding and well-respected colour magazine has a new regular feature: The Sex Columnists – in which Sebastian Horsley and Marion McBride offer his ‘n’ hers perspectives on issues raised by readers. The opening quote to this Blog was the beginning of Sebastian’s reponse to a reader writing in: “I’ve been in a relationship with my soul mate for three years, but our sex life has almost ceased. I’m terrified if I raise the issue he’ll say he no longer finds me attractive.” Sebastian goes on to say: “Of all the sexual perversions, monogamy is the most unnatural.” Given that point of view, it’s no surprise that he recommends the reader to end the relationship and move on. As I point out in… Read More

Africa: the KEY Question (Debt Relief, Development & Values)

by Alan Tonkin With the impetus of the ‘Make Poverty History’  campaign growing stronger and stronger day by day as we approach the Gleneagles summit, I’m delighted Alan Tonkin has allowed me to reproduce this new feature from his Global Values Network web site. (GVN is one of the most advanced in the world at using Spiral Dynamics to monitor shifts in societies and assess impacts at both national, international and even global levels.)  Alan’s piece is a thoughtful but impassioned piece for the G8 leaders to adopt a multi-vMEME approach to the many different problems facing Africa.   In considering the current debate around the forthcoming G8 Meeting to be held at Gleneagles in the UK and the position of a number of the G8 countries on debt relief, there is little doubt that there are high expectations that the developed nations will go some way to resolving the debt burdens of the poorer countries, particularly in Africa. Africa is the only continent where living standards have declined over the last 20 years. To some extent this is due to the debt burden many countries carry and their repayment commitments but in many cases this is also the result of dictatorships, poor governance and… 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

Credit Card Suicides??

For an hour or so on the morning of Thursday 11 March it was one of the lead stories on the news broadcasts. Then, understandably, the unfolding horror of the Madrid train explosions wiped it off the news as surely as the bombers wiped out some 200 commuters. Yet the story of Stephen Lewis stayed with me. A 37-year-old family man, with a reasonable job and a salary of £22,000 (not unreasonable; around the national average), had killed himself in July 2003 after running up over £65,000 in credit card debt. With his window, Susan, still being harrassed by the credit card companies seeking to recover their money, she and MP John Mann were working the broadcast studios and newspaper offices that fateful morning of 11 March to draw attention to the human cost of Britain’s credit card boom. Stephen Lewis, it appears, in his desperation, had been running up debts on some of his credit cards to effect demanded minimum payments on others. As a short-term strategy, that was sustainable as long as Lewis could support it by taking on new credit cards. At the time of his death he had a staggering 19 cards! Yet obviously the overall debt… Read More

Formation more than Education

I find that one of the more interesting aspects of my part-time return to secondary school teaching is that of being a form tutor. The role has a pastoral element built into it not obviously present in classroom teaching or general school management. For someone interested in the development of children and young people and how their psychology affects their performance at school (and beyond), the role of form tutor offers possibilities of making the kind of difference that most other roles in school life don’t. What’s more, a good form tutor can create a climate of trust that enables members of his or her tutor group to open up and confide some of the turbulence going on inside their teenage heads. Recent examples I’ve had to deal with include a 14-year old girl distraught because her mother had started calling her “fat” and “ugly” over the past few months – having previously tended to tell her daughter how beautiful she was. Investigation revealed that the catalyst for the change in Mum’s behaviour was the arrival on the scene of a new serious boyfriend. It looked pretty much to me like Mum was belittling her daughter because the daughter (who was… 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