Archive for January, 2011
I wrote the following for the Common Wealth Network blog, so it has a fairly specific set of recommendations at the end, but I also thought that many of you would be interested to read about my experience attending my first decision making council in London for the Coalition of Resistance, a major endeavour to unite people against cuts and privatisations.
It is probably one of the most iconic protest photos in history. A single human facing down a huge, ugly symbol of totalitarianism. China’s recent history has shown that capitalism is more than capable of thriving in the absence of human rights and freedoms that many in the West have long contended go hand in hand with economic liberalism. (more…)
Much is being made of the current crises amongst proponents of the Big Society. The truth that big societies need big pots of cash and/or big government assistance is becoming clear for all to see. But did Cameron’s Big Idea represent more than just a phoney piece of PR to calm the fears of those on the sharp end?
Much has already been written about the revelations of under cover police officers at work within the Climate Camp movement and others. I did vaguely know who Mark Stone was, though its difficult to imagine what it must be like for others who knew him much closer. An article appeared recently entitled “Why I’ll never forgive Mark Stone”, and whilst I’m not going to dispute anything given as a reason for not forgiving him, I want to suggest that the language was unhelpful.
The abolition of the Default Retirement Age seems to be a happening very quietly. For some it will come as a relief, and in the simplest terms, it isn’t exactly the fairest arrangement to have an arbitrary age at which an employer can “dump” you. But the drawbacks might well cause a problem in future years, and could end up hurting people at both ends of the age scale. (more…)
In the Church we have just looked at Jesus baptism. The story is quite simple, occupying only a handful of verses in each of the gospels where it occurs. It isn’t as world-changing as the birth, death or resurrection stories, and to many it seems quite natural; Jesus undergoes a ritual with which we are very familiar in British society. But it strikes me that something quite radical is going on – something that speaks of a new approach to changing the world.
So I thought I might put up a list of books that I haven’t yet read, but which I fully intend to this year. Not necessarily in this order, you understand – I have a couple on loan already, so should probably read those first. I get bombarded with book suggestions, so these are the ones I’ve managed to come to the conclusion are actually in need of reading, rather than on the maybe pile. Why not add your suggestions in the comments?
in just 6 weeks time, I’m running an event of a fairly unprecedented scale at York Friend’s Meeting House, drawing together over a dozen local campaign groups for an afternoon of talks and discussions spanning the length and width of “Global Justice”. All this seemed so much more urgent before the cuts became the defining issue of the moment, and now its hard to even feel excited about the range of issues beyond our doorstep.
It may have come to your attention that train ticket prices are rising by something like 6%, or more like 12% for some in the South East. The easiest complaints to make centre around the effect of vampiric companies drawing profits from government subsidy. But these rises are based largely on the assumption that passengers should pay more and the government, i.e. the taxpayers, i.e. the passengers, should pay less. Privatisation/Nationalisation aside, this logic needs examining.
The danger with predicting a repeat of history is the very messy way in which history partially repeats, subjected to the changing circumstances of the day. Someone commented on my choice of words in a previous post, daring me into a bet on whether or not this government would reintroduce the Workhouse system for administering the poor. They say “don’t feed the trolls”, but I’ll never learn…