Equaliteas – share, debate, celebrate – not too late

Equaliteas web button image and web link
Discover more on the web at UK Parliament…

‘What does it mean to you to have the same democratic rights as everyone else? Join together with people from all over the country to celebrate 90 years since the Representation of the People Act 1928, which gave all men and women over 21 the equal right to vote. Invite your community to share, debate, and celebrate what equality means to you’.

Source: https://equaliteas.org.uk/

Register on this UK Parliament web site to get your free promotional material and to support parliamentary democracy for all – and the Representation of the People Act in 1928.

Equaliteas teapot image and web link
Get your event going for Equaliteas – see some ideas and resources here…

Events: 18th June to 2nd July, 2018.

Why not have a tea party and talk about it, or discover an event already registered near you. See more here.

Check out these events in the East of England, for example…

Tea Together at Kings Lynn Library‘Celebrate the Great Women of Lynn and Norfolk this afternoon. We are launching our new Voicebox Cafes celebrating women’s right to vote & encouraging you to get involved in local democratic life. Discover some local suffragette stories & try some tasty cake! All welcome’.

Tea Together Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library

More than MUM!  South Street, Ipswich

Kesgrave Tuesday Project – Kesgrave


Still time to register and engage your community of interest in debate, delicious cakes and pots of hot tea!

Democracy, community and the relevance of the democratic process across all communities.


 

 

 

 


This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

Antiuniversity Now 2018

Remembering Paris ’68

Antiuniversity Now is a collaborative experiment to reimagine the 1968 Antiuniversity of London, in an ongoing programme of free and inclusive self-organised radical learning events.

Antiuniversity Now challenges academic and class hierarchy through an open invitation to teach and learn any subject, in any form, anywhere’.

 

Now in its fourth year you can, between June 9th and June 15th 2018, join in a wide range of radical, activist educational opportunities, for free.

We are glad to see the autodidact is not dead, and to discover proof that collective and supportive peer education is still abroad. (We know it’s not..Ed).

We offer some of our favourite sessions for your delight below, but do discover more on the AN web pages here…www.antiuniversity.org


DIY Radio: How to make radio shows and broadcast them for nothing

Courtesy of 199 Radio, this event…’will focus on learning how to use some of these tools to create our own radio programmes (Audacity, Mixx, Radio Studio and others), and how to broadcast them on the internet using Facebook. At the same time we’ll be talking about our experience of independent broadcasting, the future of radio and other subjects dear to our hearts’.

More detail and registration here.


Peer to Peer Web Workshop:  A practical workshop for anyone interested in the p2p distributed web! The agorama server co-operative offer a one day practical workshop that provide the tools and instructions for creating your own self-hosted website and contributing to a decentralized p2p internet. The instructors will briefly explain internet protocol and current infrastructure before assisting each participant in setting up their own web site using their computer as a server.

More detail and registration here.


How to form a Tourist Board:   I​an​ B​one​ ​of Class War ​shows how setting up a tourist board can be fun and radical + the launch of the TOP 50 SOUTH NORWOOD ATTRACTIONS ​’S​ee how the Sensible ​G​arden has become an autonomous​ ​zone with no rules, ​hear ​how Croydon ​Council sent in riot cops to stop a lake naming ceremony, ​learn ​how advertising giant ​O​utdoor​ P​lus was ​made to clean up t​h​eir own mes​s​, find out how ​South ​N​orw​o​od took on the lake district tourism​ board and forced them to acknowledge ​it ​h​ad more lakes​ and ​meet​ Pickles​,​ the dog ​who FOUND THE WORLD CUP​!’

More detail and registration here.


n.paradoxa’s MOOC (mass open online course) on feminism and contemporary art:

Experience a MOOC –  Gain a greater understanding of what you can find online about this topic There are many art and art history degrees where nothing is being taught about feminism in relation to contemporary art and this free online course is designed to help those curious to know more. During the full week of the Anti-university in June, live discussion forums with Katy Deepwell, editor of the course, will be held as part of the course.

More detail and registration here.


There is still time to jump into the programme. Some courses and workshops can be challenging, but all are horizon expanding, we would argue.

What about an Antiuniversity Now sequence of collaborative learning sessions in the East of England, for next year?

You can message me here… editor (at) collectiveconversations.org



This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

BHS – the Parliamentary Report

If you are in business, this BHS Parliamentary Report makes for a very depressing read. It combines a narrative of weak governance and the exercise of singular personal influence that is breathtaking.

bhsParliamentaryreport1016coverImage
Read the full report here…pdf version

The Committee make some sweeping assertions, however, about the nature of ‘business’ in the UK, which to this reader, do not perhaps reflect the true state of a wider ‘moral’ commercial landscape extant in the presently configured UK.

It gives little regard, I would argue, for the good work and innovative governance practice delivered by the social business market, the ethical investment marketplace and the community endeavour or social enterprise sectors.

In the UK good practice abounds, but it was not prowling the corridors of BHS at the appropriate time nor, allegedly, had the fearless support of a company management team that were vigorous and rigorous in pursuit of  customer care, employee development and growth and tilted all energy towards a cohort of pensioners, upon whose expertise and life work in the company, these missed opportunities were nurtured through time.

‘We chose to investigate BHS because it encapsulated many of our ongoing concerns about the regulatory and cultural framework in which business operates, including the ethics of business behaviour, the governance of private companies, the balance between risk and reward, mergers and acquisitions practices, the governance and regulation of workplace pension schemes, and the sustainability of defined benefit pensions…’

Source: First Report of the Work and Pensions
Committee and Fourth Report of the Business,
Innovation and Skills Committee of Session
2016–17 – BHS p.3  Accessed: 25.07.2016

This Parliamentary mission statement delineates old concerns and sources of tension for those of us, who are in or have been in, the Trade Union movement. The stated concerns of the Committee represent an amalgam of old arguments and fierce defensive stands for organised labour in the past. It, as a mantra, is not new.

The message about the inadvisability of exploitation is well developed on the left, what is new, perhaps, is the range of voices now expressing such concerns.

Like all large business, developed and managed through the conduit of manipulated private cash, the focus of the business, the report alleges, seemed to have been the enrichment of individual family members, with scant regard for re-investment in company infrastructure, technology and the long term welfare of company workers after retirement.

‘The truth is that a large proportion of those who have got rich or richer off the back of BHS are to blame. Sir Philip Green, Dominic Chappell and their respective directors, advisers and hangers-on are all culpable. The tragedy is that those who have lost out are the ordinary employees and pensioners. This is the unacceptable face of capitalism’.

Source: Source: First Report of the Work and Pensions
Committee and Fourth Report of the Business,
Innovation and Skills Committee of Session
2016–17 – BHS p.55  Accessed: 25.07.2016

It is the owners of the means of production who were to blame. Marx would have been proud.

What can be done?

  • Those on the left, of whatever shade or fervour, can become interested and active in the development of alternative business forms and modes of governance. Making the alternative ethical case from a political position of encouragement, not criticism. The beginning of transforming the ‘capital landscape’.
  • If the notion of nationalisation for large services and industries is unpalateable, then activists should embrace ‘The Collaborative Commons’, delivering social output and growth in common ownership with others. An old idea given new energy by entrepreneurs and academics recently in The Zero Marginal Cost Society, Jeremy Rifkin, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2015. See my review in another publication here.
  • In constituencies, where in my difficult experience, old rigid, command and control practices often continue to exist unfortunately, the energised left should help engage and deliver social business and community business enterprises as a driver of their activities. As cost control is different from rampant profiteering, so good governance and an ethical business position is the alternative face to big business, greed and consumer exploitation. It is not the abandonment of profit that should drive change, it is the added exercise of ethics that matter.
  • Make ethical business and social outcome part of the local and regional campaign activity across the UK, but particularly in rural areas, or those constituencies where blue pennants fly in bold profusion. This will not make an overnight change to voting habits, but members of the left, acitvely involved in new, ethical governance issues will slowly, over time change the perception and the voting record of communities. People will vote against deference and perceptions of ‘the local lord and lady’ know best, when there is a credible, articulate, practice based alternative available. Make social enterprise party praxis, then the communities we serve will too!
  • Work with regional Party machinery to make placing ethical business specialisms and social business governance knowledge on every LEP, school governing body or enterprise development project in every local authority. Make the voice of difference and ethical enterprise heard.
  • Make ethical business activity, the creation of community change through the prism of social responsibility, environmental sustainability and equality of opportunity and outcome the central plank of every Young Labour delivery, for example. Win the hearts and minds of the next generation of social business entrepreneurs, by harnessing their energy progressively, beginning now.

If you do this, then the next generation of entrepreneurs, social innovators and those who set out their stall to govern political parties will also give their vote to the Left. The world of business, forlornly outlined in this Parliamentary report, will have begun to systemically change from the roots up.

There is gargantuan range of research and thought abroad about social business, ethical entrepreneurship and business for good. From 80,000 Hours nurturing graduates to think of others to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, showing the world what business should not be.

Why can the Left not successfully harness it as a core principle?

See the full BHS Select Committee report here.

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This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

Struggle is the reality!

The mainstream press and right wing political opinion would have us believe that Britain is a nation of millionaires, with a quest to hermetically seal our borders, to the detriment of our trading efficacy, and that individual choice from a menu of abundance is the default position for all ‘hard-working’ families and households in the UK.

How wrong can they be?

The reality for many working families is that choice does not exist and resources do not, under any prevailing economic conditions, match aggregate demand as a household unit. (‘…my income does not even cover my rent…’ a plaintive comment in this film from the Labour Party…).

Policies of austerity and the tolerance of vast inequality in social and economic matters create voices of despair in our communities.

From Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal to the Keynesian interventions in the rebuilding of Europe after devastatingly destructive war and resource depletion, the solution to a fairer, more compassionate and prosperous society is spending on public infrastructure, with that infrastructure in public ownership, and the creation of economic motive and delivery that sees the redistribution of wealth, not downwards for the few, but upwards for the many…vote Labour and change the model!

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This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

A message from Jeremy Corbyn

The latest TV broadcast message from the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has just been made available on-line.

Jeremy speaks, as always, with conviction, calmness and certitude. In the short film below he highlights both recent victories for communities and individuals, but goes on to present a clear position on community support, education, health and social care.

It is this calm clarity, we would argue, that as leader of the Party, is one of the most important characteristics that Jeremy brings to the policy development debate.

It is not the clamour of ideological disruption, but a process of consultative, active listening.

You can join the Labour Party here.

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This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

Twittering to election victory!

 

CollCon page icon  - imageWe have a bye-election pending in our constituency for the election of a new County Councillor. Of course we all want our party candidate to win a stunning victory, reflecting new leadership, new members and a revitalised political agenda.

Fighting elections is nothing new, but we offer here the first of a series of occasional technical ‘get elected’ reports.

twitterHandbook for politiciansCoverPic-m
See more here – 18.5mb PDF

This first item is a very generous document from the Twitter Government and Elections team. This is The Twitter Government and Elections Handbook (pdf- 137pp).

It is written exclusively for an American audience of course, but the techniques, suggestions and flexibility prompted by formal research from the Twitter team hold good for any electoral candidate in a western, democratic and technically enabled community.

The report has sections on Twitter basics, list building, tweet rules, use of images, calls to action and importantly for political candidates, claims to authenticity.

There are similar interesting and detailed sections on integrating a Twitter campaign into events, as well as useful list of Twitter resources at the end of the report for both the Twitter novice and seasoned new media professional.

The core content is derived from the rich Twitter experience of Barack Obama’s November 2012 campaign. But whether you have aspirations to be President of the USA, or more local and equally important aspirations to represent us in a democratic civic society, this could be the engaging read of the festive holidays in 2015/2016.

‘The best way to earn a voter’s support is no different today than it was a
century ago: a simple handshake and a look in the eye. But it is hard to scale such retail politicking to the entire voting public’. Twitter Report 2014

Use Twitter to extend your reach.

See you at the polls. When you do vote, vote wisely.


This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

The Economic Case
for Strong Trade Unions

Hammering the foundations of prosperity...

CollCon page icon - imageThe New Economics Foundation (nef) and The University of Greenwich have recently published a new economic case for trade unions. Entitled Working for The Economy, it is a detailed and numerate assessment in the decline of trade unions over the twentieth century and the policy impacts that conflict has caused.

nefreportcoverPic
See a copy here…

The report also makes a strong case for their resurgence, arguing that as a ‘wage driven’ economy, the UK benefits from the rise in wages and conditions attributed to strong work place representation.

The report is keen to stress that, although wages and salaries are a cost to business, it is too simplistic to discount the purchasing power extended to workers through their ability to consume. ‘If wages fall as a share of income, it implies a shrinking market. The result is a drag on profiits and growth‘.

This is an important principal consideration. The idealogical defeat of collective bargaining and the suppression of wage costs by owners of capital, in itself, diminishes the very market they are attempting to exploit.

The detail below illustrates the fall of ‘wage share’ across Europe in the last fifty years…

wagesharedeclineImage

 

 

For every 1% reduction in the share of national income going to wages, UK national income – measured by GDP – is reduced by 0.13%, or £2.21bn at current values. Wage share has declined from its 1975 peak of 76% to an historic low of 67% today; this has had a direct impact on national income.

This governmental suppression of trade union activity has seen workforce membership decline from 49.9% in 1981 to 25% today.

The widely held notion that the UK is a profit driven economy, the report argues, is false. It is a wage driven economy and the death of collective bargaining and wider employee representation has increased inequality and staggered our national economy as a result.

The detail below illustrates the collapse of union membership…

peopleinunionsImage

 

The report looks at both the decline of trade union influence, ideologically diminished, against the introduction of new technology, for example. Interestingly nef argues that the much lauded technological revolution is a slighter figure than argued for by owners of capital and again echoes the decline of an empowered workforce as a deterrent effect on economic growth across Europe.

The logic is simple: wages and salaries have a dual role. As well as posing a cost to businesses, wages paid to labour also provide a market demand for output, hence higher consumption.

Put even more simply, the nef research looks at the economy in terms of Keynesian circular flow and argues that low vitality in trade unions reduces wages and brakes demand and therefore growth.

The argument in the report sparkles with clarity and is entirely in opposition to current mainstream economic thought.

…the ongoing bias of policy towards restricting trade union rights,at least partly motivated by the intention to deliver higher economic growth, is profoundly ill-conceived.

CollCon page icon  - imageYou can view, print or download a full copy of this report in pdf format here. We commend it to our readers.

Data illustrations: Drawn from the New Economics Foundation report.


This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

Narrative of war – diminishing debate

The desolation of war...

CollCon page icon - imageRowan Williams, lately Archbishop of Canterbury, recently saw an edited version of his 2015 Orwell Lecture published in The Guardian newspaper. (What Orwell can teach us about the language of terror and war).

The Orwell Prize is dedicated to ‘…making political writing an art’. This was beautifully elucidated in the Williams speech, where the lack of depth and clarity in political discourse about war, he argues, is underscored by the ‘…double-talk, tautology, ambiguous cliché, self-righteous and doctrinaire pomposity and pseudo-scientific jargon‘ of contemporary rhetoric.

It is hard, for example, to see the profound commitment and balanced, sincerely held thinking in the recent debates, of both sides, when they are characterised by saloon bar shouting or by a Bullingdon Club elitist mentality.

Williams draws a faith based, comparative thread through his essay between the writings of George Orwell and Thomas Merton, as to be expected. We draw no focus on that aspect of the writing here. However, the Williams thesis about the quality of public discourse and the utility of language as a means of reinforcing and supporting power and political status is a telling one.

Merton held, in an essay in 1967 War and the Crisis of Language, Williams tells us that ‘…the speech of military strategists and of politicians is characterised by a narcissistic finality. There can be no real reply to the careful and reasonable calculation of the balance of mass killing in a nuclear war, because everything is so organised that you are persuaded not to notice what it is you are talking about‘.

In the recent debates (2015) about ‘bombing’, if you are a listener to BBC Radio 4, we are always ‘in theatre, degrading assets and transitioning to new areas of focus‘. What this means is that people are being killed, bodies smashed and communities further devastated and destroyed by munitions. It is this reality that gives cause for the principled hesitancy. Nothing else.

Williams makes reference to Albert Camus, by stating that ‘…the writer opposes a language of “laborious” honesty. Instead of public speech being the long echo of absolute and unchallengeable definitions supplied by authority – definitions that tell you once and for all how to understand the world’s phenomena – the good writer attempts to speak in a way that is open to the potential challenge of a reality she or he does not own and control‘.

The philosophy of a bar room barker or the Twitter claim that the person is a proto-terrorist because he disagrees with the prevailing political order can seek to undermine thirty years of committed pacifism, thirty years of electoral mandate from a community and tilts at buffoonery.

As a member of civil society, remote from war rooms and deeper Westminster counsel, this is the view one might hold of the recent debate by one of the leaders of our major political parties.

Linked to this shallow abbreviated thinking is the suddenly new concept that by being a pacifist, and by natural inclination anti-war, one is surely pro-terrorism. Absurd. The desire for absolute caution in matters of military commitment has been illuminated above, the follow on that this means one is ‘pro-enemy’, whoever they may be, and anti-military is likewise flawed.

An example to illustrate the point. Some of us also hold pacifist views and we were delivering a piece of work in Battersea in London in 2005. Buses exploded to devastating effect and there was a tangible ripple of fear and hesitation spreading across the City as a result.

However, the presence of armed, uniformed services as immediate responders was a comfort. To have brave young men and women who take up arms to defend others is the de-facto reality of the human condition when faced with immediate and significant violence.

It is the bravery and dedication of those young people who are our most treasured asset in times of trial. That the state and communities should honour and comfort them is entirely appropriate.

There is, however, no mental conflict with this last position and the declaration of opposition to poorly argued aerial bombardment of a people far away, in a country riven by complex political, faith based and humanitarian tensions.

It is political expediency that puts the lives of our own treasured human assets at risk, which can never be a trivial decision, we would argue. There is always another course of action.

All human declaration of position on political issues fits the individual somewhere on an arc of experience, judgement and emotion. Thinking and writing about complex scenarios can challenge the writer and the reader.

It can solidify and make tangible the dualities and shallowness in that thinking. In the Williams essay he holds that Merton, in his writing, asserts that ‘…in order to be honest, the writer sometimes has to be difficult‘.

Complex issues are difficult, wrangling with your own position is difficult, being in opposition is difficult – but the solutions, the clarity and the winning argument can only come from more depth, more careful use of language and better writing.

We echo the Williamsonian thesis.


CollCon page icon - image(We have previously published links to Orwell’s ‘Politics and Writing’ primer on the pages of our journal here…Ed).

 


This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

Capital and social good at scale

CollCon page icon  - imageA colleague recently sent us a link to the short film below, about the entrepreneur Manoj Bhargarva, with much thanks to Joby for an interesting and inspiring example of the deployment of social good.

Manoj Bhargarva has used traditional manufacturing skills and work flows, coupled to a very good first principle idea, to scale up production to generate cash. This money is then used, as can be seen in the film, to undertake significant projects that create socially useful outcomes.

Our conversation that flowed from this was about capturing the energy of volunteers and the social economy to generate social good, in an old-fashioned activist way, but which is coupled to community benefit where cash is a tangential outcome only.

Interestingly, you can see in the 80,000 Hours movement, how the next generation of UK political and business elites are becoming motivated by notions of ‘earning to give’. Generate cash and then give it to good causes, as in the Bhargava model.

What if there was a new model of activism for social good, where the thing you scale is the activism itself?

We have enjoyed seeing the growing support of the social economy from MP’s such as Chi Onwurah and Tristam Hunt. So we know there is a groundswell of activisim that might support a revolution in political party delivery based on the common good.

Tristram Hunt MP made a speech in Walthamstow in November 2014 that nicely encapsulates a range of divisive issues, created by privilege, unequal access to resources and the maintenance of the status quo. See more here…

In the speech, Tristram declares that we are on the verge of the Third Industrial Revolution, whilst berating the doom-mongers who say technology will see the end of ‘labour utility’.

Perhaps we are, but we would wish to argue that this third wave is a revolution of ideas…perhaps as powerful, in its way, as the Enlightenment.

The Labour Party has a long tradition of encouraging community action, support for those in need by the socially minded to create a better social good. What if we combined this technological revolution with community action for the 21st Century? The social economy should be a force for good, from the bottom up, not the top down.

We can see that political elites, whatever their party badge, are not necessarily or instinctively good at business. You only have to look at banking scandals, private finance initiatives or the creeping privatisation of the health service to see that this is so.

What if the world was turned upside down? What if local branches of political parties embraced the social economy as a lever to create community good?

Use your internet research skills to identify good community models for your idea, where social impact and support is the key driver. Look for suppliers, in the same way, who are empathetic to your principles as volunteers.

A couple of examples. Supposing in a constituency the wards with the highest index of deprivation were identified and local activists got together and determined that food poverty was an issue, particularly for children.

Active volunteers with energy and enthusiasm, coupled to their pre-existing skills and knowledge might look to start a fresh food and vegetables market. This political market, not a farmers market, could bring fresh food to families in need at subsidy prices – the surpluses of which after supply costs had been covered could be donated to the branch treasury.

Colleagues might, for example, start a Saturday Computer Club at the local community centre. Helping others master the mystery of email, or replacing faulty hard drives…whatever the need.

If you are using new technology to produce newsletters or flyers for your political message, why not share your skills in the same forum? Pass on your knowledge on page layout, editorial or image composition skills. If it is to the younger members of the party, so much the better.

The membership are not competing with the existing third sector, or looking to out-compete local businesses. You are the local third sector. Choose wisely and well in your target ‘social good’ as a first principle. (Just make sure your branch banner is always displayed…Ed).

This sort of activity can have the effect of deepening commitments to party and fraternal relations between colleagues, as well as injecting ‘party’ directly into perceptions of social activism for good, energy expended on behalf of others. It is doubtful if other political parties or affiliates will be minded to entertain such disruptive ideas, it is not part of their philosophy.

Turn your activism directly into a community benefit, creating a ground up allegiance to social principles. Scaling up social benefit, in the terms of these ideas, scales up political impact.

CollCon page icon  - imageThis can make the return to local pioneering activity contingent with this new social market delivery. In a representative democracy, it may even be a vote winner!

 


This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...

The European flow…

CollCon page icon  - imageHow many people are trying to enter Europe as a result of conflict, immigration or as refugees? The routes across land are complex and often hidden, the headlines often inflammatory, in terms of political motive or the demonisation of others.

In the web page, detailed below, Lucify in Finland, attempt to show how, for example, the numbers of individuals reaching the shores of Britain are relatively small. Using United Nations data for monthly counts and with the aid of innovative web graphics, you can see how flows rapidly diminish in an east to west direction.

The point, tellingly made, is that all Syrian refugees arriving in Europe to 2015 could stand shoulder to shoulder on 11 soccer pitches. Where are the ‘hordes’?

CollCon page icon  - imageYou can find the original Lucify web page here – http://www.lucify.com/the-flow-towards-europe/

 


This journal of comment and analysis is devised and published in the East of England...leaning to the left, thinking independently, arguing for humanity...

Editor: Tim Smith MA, FRSA

Now living in rural Suffolk, I have wondered all my adult life why ordinary people like me, would vote to make the policies of the self-interested Right ascendant? I now think, older as I am, that I have pursued entirely the wrong question, despite voting Labour my entire life. Why on earth cannot collaborative socialism make the Left successfully ascendant? This is the new quest.

Tim is a Partner at SmithMartin LLP - a Cambridge based social business working to create projects which tackle inequality.

Collective Conversations is a not for profit, publishing project - the views and interpretations expressed are solely those of the individual contributors to the work.

No endorsement of any party or person is sought or implied...