The march against the cuts has garnered the usual press coverage.  250 thousand people converge on the capital for a day of peaceful and fun protest and the papers and most disturbingly the BBC focus on the antics of a tiny minority.  One supposes, in an attempt to discredit active involvement with politics and to support control by the usual elite.  But that's not journalism is it?  That's propaganda and it's not what I pay my license fee for.

To flexibly change direction is essential in these troubled times, or does it indicate the grasshopper mind?  Whatever!

As an avid student of life in all it's guises but most importantly a collector of tools for changing the World, I bring you-WHITEBOARDS.

Yes folks these tabula rasa's are a great capturing tool as well as offering a canvas to mindmap your plans for world domination or to schedule your book groups reading programme.
Put them everywhere including your kids bedrooms to get them into the habit of honouring ideas and creativity.
Spend a bit more on the magnetic boards and you can use them to capture paper like a pin board but you need to be careful they don't turn into junk-boards.  A person's whiteboard is like their library, it gives you an insight into the content of their minds.  So don't let yours look like a dustbin.  Here's a typical one of mine from work.

If you have notable whiteboard pics then please send them in.  Seriously, these are the kind of tools to change the world and manifest your will in the world.
Have a great Sunday!  Success to your work.


COMING SOON: 10 ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR WORLD DOMINATION! The great books giveaway | Books | The Guardian

New series of 10 Essential Tools for world domination coming soon:

The great books giveaway | Books | The Guardian

Could be controversial!

Most popular post on my blog? I could hardly believe it!

Now I really understand the kind of community that read this blog.  The most popular post is about...A CHAIR!  Mind you it's a very nice, intelligent sort of chair, but it's still A CHAIR!  Oh wreaths of laurel for heroes...why will you never adorn my puckered brow?  My readers are chair lovers.  They spend hours lusting over office catalogues.  They're not so much armchair readers as desk chair experts.  I imagine they have pictures of office furniture on their walls, they have lots of scandinavian pine round the house, possibly a small fjord in the garden designed on apple laptops to resemble a mini-mountainous norwegian backdrop.  They shop by dutch road bicycle and yes...oh my God...in the front wicker basket...Yes!  It's one of those cavernous blue Ikea bags.  Save us O Pan!
Ok you've asked for it...you want it...so here goes...Feast your greedy eyes oh my children!
Seriously though, a good chair is an essential world domination tool.  If you want to do more than drool you can buy one of these little suckers here; be warned, they're not cheap!  http://www.officechairsuk.com/create-your-own-humanscale-liberty-chair.html

Fwd: Sleeping It Off in Rapid City by August Kleinzahler – review | Books | The Guardian

Sleeping It Off in Rapid City by August Kleinzahler – review Guardian Books

Beautiful design can help make great poetry | Books | guardian.co.uk

More on August Kleinzahler's 'Sleeping it off...about the beautifully subtle cover photo.  This is the cover on my edition so why would anyone make it er...red?



I think I have applied mediation type skills over the past twenty five years of my career both as a social worker and for the past fifteen years as a manager and leader.  I seem to have found myself in the capacity of an emergency roadside rescue service attending to failing services or organisations much as a mechanic might attend to a broken down car.
This has required a lot of negotiation and conflict resolution often when the conflict has been directed at me personally as the change agent and the originator of the distressing new systems.
At this point I guess I could proceed to a directorship of a large corporate social care organisation in the public sector and look to retire with a nice fat salary but truthfully I can think of nothing worse than ending my working days among the grey suits in endless meetings and performance reviews and other current managerial guff.
Enter mediation.  I was researching the activity as a result of developing a publicly funded mediation service for Guernsey.  My light bulb moment quickly came when I realised two significant facts.  Firstly Mediation as an activity is very much at a growth point and the growth potential is significant and may well remain so for the next decade at least.
Secondly the activity is an interesting brew of several different and attractive ingredients.  It makes a positive contribution to well-being and is therefore ethically valuable-this is important and the first question I ask about an activity in my prior commitment reflection-Is it worth doing?
It is boundaried.  There are parameters.  There are end points.  There are measurable outcomes with actual effects.  There is a skill base against which one can measure one’s development.  It is about engagement with rather than power over.  It has room for passion and artistry.  It has space for excellence.  It seeds into other fascinating areas like conflict resolution and labour conciliation.  This is all very appealing and most of all it means that as a leader I can actually go and do some real work rather than spending my time interfering with my staff.
That last comment was in jest really.  I do believe that effective balanced leadership is crucial but it needs to be like the butterfly’s wing in the air rather than the all too common thump of the jackboot.
Mediation offers me an area of practice that will complement the other areas of my work life very well and I believe it to be one of the most fruitful skill sets to manage the emotional traumas of family break-up to emerge in recent times.



So here goes. We need to redress the balance between cuts and tax rises (currently 3:1)(3), as fairly as possible. That means starting with the UK’s most regressive form of taxation: national insurance. This levy is so unfair that it’s hard to understand why it hasn’t received more attention. On earnings of up to £844 a week, you currently pay 11% national insurance. On earnings beyond that point, you pay 1%(4). We should raise the national insurance rate for higher earnings from 1% to 15%(5). This would help to address a wider injustice: the poorest 10% of UK households pay proportionately more tax (direct and indirect) than the richest 10%(6).
We must close the tax gap. Tax avoidance and evasion are the preserve of the very rich: only millionaires and corporations can afford the specialist advice required to disguise their earnings. The tax gap amounts to between £40bn and £120bn a year(7,8). Not all this money can be reclaimed. We need a national target to claw back £25bn a year. Staffing levels at HM Revenue and Customs should be raised accordingly.
Of the various means of reclaiming money from the banks, a financial transactions tax (the Robin Hood tax) is the fairest and most sustainable. It’s easy to collect, hard to avoid and highly progressive, as it falls largely upon the richest people in the country(9). A tax of 0.005% on financial transactions could raise a net £13bn a year; a tax of 0.01%, £25bn(10).
The government should adopt the plan proposed by the Green Fiscal Commission: by 2020 levies on damage to the environment should amount to 20% of the total tax-take(11), with a commensurate reduction in the income tax and national insurance paid by people with low earnings. The tax exemption for private schools must end. This costs us £100m a year – to grant unfair advantages to the children of the rich(12).
Greg Philo of Glasgow University has proposed an interesting means of mobilising the money the very rich have stashed away: transferring the entire national debt to them. He’s shown that this could be done through a one-off tax averaging 20% on total assets worth more than £1m(13). It would be graduated, so that the richest people are charged at a higher rate than mere seven-figure millionaires. It wouldn’t have to be paid immediately: the asset-holders could choose to pay only the interest on the debt until they died, whereupon the capital would go to the state. This ensures, as the government has promised, that “the broadest shoulders should carry the greatest burden.”(14)
The government should set a target of 0.5% per year for reducing the Gini coefficient – the measure of income inequality – in the United Kingdom(15). To this end it should raise the minimum wage by inflation plus 5% each year until it reaches the level identified by the Living Wage campaign(16). We also need an official High Pay Commission, whose purpose is to identify, as a multiple of the living wage, the maximum remuneration anyone in the UK should receive(17).
The following new military hardware programmes should be scrapped: the Trident weapons system; aircraft carriers; Eurofighter jets. The Barrow shipyard, where new nuclear submarines were to be built, should be redeployed to produce offshore renewables: wind, wave and tide turbines(18). The money saved should be spent on a new public housing programme.
To fill looming gaps in provision and reduce unemployment, the government should raise the public workforce by the following levels: 10,000 more social workers; 10,000 more planners; 50,000 more hospital cleaners; 100,000 more educational staff; 350,000 extra care workers for the elderly(19). As Unison points out, 92% of the cost of employing a public service worker is recouped by the state, because it raises tax revenues while reducing benefit payments(20).
These measures will help to address the immediate problems of the deficit, the debt, unemployment, inequality and a threatened double-dip recession. But we also need to move to a system which doesn’t depend on endless economic growth to sustain high employment and a decent standard of living. We need a Steady State Commission, to develop a government programme for turning a growth-based, boom and bust economy into a stable system, without damaging the prospects of the poor(21).