Friday, October 13, 2006
For the uninitiated - which I was until most recently - a social enterprise is a company which exists for the benefit of the community and not for its shareholders. By using socially excluded groups as employees or volunteers, SE's exist to benefit the community by their normal operation. It would be wrong to call them 'not-for-profit' because profit making is very much part of their brief, it's just that these profits are reinvested in the SE itself or skimmed off to fund a parent charitable organisation. More exactly SE's exist to maximise what Iain Gordon of Bethany Christian Trust calls a Triple Bottom Line of monetary profit, social improvement and environmental concern.
The profit motive, therefore, is not a guiding aim, but the desire to be self-sufficient ensures some degree of efficiency. Moreover because social enterprises offer their services on the market they cannot expect to guilt trip people into buying their goods just because a homeless person made them. The more successful SEs have realised that their products first of all have to be worthy of the market, ensuring a quality of business practice hitherto anathemaic to the charitable sector. BCT, for example, uses internal markets to monitor and control costs, something, I gather, UK business has adopted only recently.
The beauty of social enterprise exists so that their goals are achieved by their day-to-day operation, appreciating the Marxist idea of the social dimension of work. SEs recognise that the problems of the socially excluded cannot be dealt with by dealing with the presenting symptoms of that exclusion but by dealing with exclusion itself. SEs, often supported by wider charitable activities, allow service users to again become functioning members of a community. This can only be done by participating in the community itself and the forgiving environment of the enterprise allows those with low self-esteem to do this at their own pace.
There is a second aspect that this embrace of the market that is worth mentioning. The business activities of social enterprise mean that service users not only develop self-esteem within a community but do it in relation to mainstream society. Thus, the needs of homeless and mentally ill are not catered for in an idyllic forest getway only to have their new-found inner power crushed at the first sign of a bastard on the street.
It may seem strange to hear FE wax lyrical about the benefit of market mechanisms but I have never doubted the power of markets to relay information, but was dismayed their ability to uproot social structures in the name of allocative effieciency. My problem was that latter is unduly predominant in the world today (oh and the fact that 'market forces' are often a smokescreen for obscene breaches of corporate power - e.g.). Polanyi - who recognised that pre-capitalism, economic actions were subordinated to social ones - described this process as a disembedding of the economy from society. As 'all that is solid melts to air' most people cope, the disadvantaged get hammered. Social enterprise acts as a way to re-embed the economy in society, whilst not losing the benefit that market mechanisms undoubtedly bring. Hopefully that should give my feelings something of a whiff of intellectual consistency.
Of course there are down sides. Being subject to market forces gives SEs an instability not encountered by their charitable brethren. However, because SEs exist for the benefit of those that work for them, there exists a feeling of ownership amongst volunteers and employees that in the words of one 'simply won't allow the organisation to under'. Others may point to the perceived injustice of using volunteers to carry out business activities*. Superficially, this smacks of exploitation, but from what I gather so far, this is mainly due to an unforgiving benefit climate (the New Deal is uttered like a curse round here). One volunteer I spoke to, simply did not want to return to paid work, another said that his voluntary work gave him enough self-satisfaction without a wage. Conservatives may baulk at this lack of self-reliance, but these attitudes should be recognised as an important step in the building of self-respect that allows them to engage in the workplace once more. Evidence of this can be found at BCT where many managers and regular employees are ex-service users.
I'll be writing a little more on SEs over the coming months, filling in detail on legislation and giving a bit more of a view from the ground. In brief, SEs seem an effective approach to coping with social ills, especially once we drop anti-market dogma for its own sake. That they require minimal government intervention should attract people of any stripe
DISCLAIMER: All opinions expressed in this article, whilst perhaps coinciding with those of Edinburgh Cyrenians and the Scottish Green Party, are entirely my own and should not be attributed to these same organisations. Thought I'd better add that in.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I agree with Jenkins so far as any intervention will undoubtedly come with strings attached by the peacekeepers. The chances of this seem lessened by UN intervention, but the chances of Lebanon becoming a football for the West as they squabble over its fate - something which has crippled Afghanistan - seems an unenticing prospect.
However, the issue in Lebanon is not a stand alone issue. As I have argued before, so much of the world is tied up in the region that leaving Lebanon alone will be a massive advantage for Israel with its $2.3 billion p.a. of US military aid jangling in its pockets. Hizbullah, of course, receives aid from Syria and Iran but this is NOT the Lebanese state which is being so gouged and gutted by the current crisis as to make stable democracy myth if it were left on its own.
Iraq has diminished such hopes of a supervised transition to stability, but there is hope from Bosnia. As the UN High Representative with almost absolute power, Paddy Ashdown - although sometimes controversial - seemed to do just job and its good to see his successor, Christian Scwarz-Schilling, easing up on those powers. The strength of the scheme was that simple existence of a guarantor of the country's integrity, responsible to an organisation which is as close as you can get to neutral.
This of course rests on getting the right man for the job but it seems a far more sensible option than leaving the Middle East at the mercy of the US.
Friday, July 21, 2006
"Let no terror organisation feel we would cower from any operation," he said. "We have no intention of conquering Lebanon but... we will do it without thinking twice."
It seems clear that Israel's actions are not merely a response to the two soldiers killed by Hizbullah a week ago. As the Economist describes, the military aid given to Hizbullah by Syria and Iran has built it into a major force in the region. From Israel's point of view this is an intolerable situation.
Any sympathy this may have drawn however has been totally extinguished by the manner of the invasion. With over 300 Lebanese dead, a paltry proportion of which can be identified as Hizbullah is ripping the heart out of a country only recently finding its feet after Syrian occupation. This is not to forget, either, the smokescreen the Lebanon action provides for the renewed shelling of Gaza (are we now seeing the real reason for the withdrawal?) with 130 dead there in the last week.
There are some glimmers of hope. Louise Arbour of the UN Human Rights Commission has stated that Israel's attacks on civilians and there are some in Europe willing for some kind of intervention.
Unfortunately Britain, or rather Blair, has not seen fit to join this club. Contrary to Foreign office advice, "Tony" Blair has again deigned to stand strong and boldly do whatever the US tells him to. I would love to know waht defintion of diplomatic expediency old Tony subscribes to, but being afraid of not treading on toes when such outrage is being committed gives lie once more to the opinion that ours is a morally driven Prime Minister.
The worrying thing about Lebanon is that so many of the world's web of problems seem tangled within its small borders: Israel-Palestine, Iran, US-Europe relations, European unity, post-colonialism, neo-colonialism. I don't think its too sensationalist to say that all these could unravel if the situation escalates. Lets hope the cloud lifts soon.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
So what ideas have been developing? One was that we all consist of the same unified energy, therefore one man's fate is shared by all. Humanity therefore needs to develop a sense of collective responsibility if we are to achieve true happiness. To give you a little context on the development of this idea, this was just after I'd been dancing manically with a scarf tied round my head and just before I began talking to a river until 6 o'clock in the morning.
Though that experience is long since over, the idea refuses to go away.
I have been obsessed with the work of Karl Polanyi ever since I read The Great Transformation some 18 months ago. His view of the market system as a force which disembeds the economy from society, and forces the latter to conform to the needs of the former explains so many of today's ills. The urgency of argument and passionate reading of history in the context of social and economic change makes it a thrilling read for those of any political stripe.
My degree finished, I started to read more about the Hungarian, my starting point being Karl Polanyi on Ethics and Economics. For Polanyi the two were inseparable: he saw the task of living as an ethical one, and criticised the social sciences for excluding one from the other.
I was surprised an delighted in this book to find Polanyi's opinions on freedom and responsibility. Life,he argued, is a balance between personal and collective freedom. In pre-capitalist society the former was almost always sacrificed to the latter. The onset of capitalism, however, has brought personal freedom to the fore. For this reason Polanyi praised capitalism as it allowed people the freedom to live in accordance with their consciences and not be constrained by social forces which could cause them to act otherwise. However, the pendulum, he held, had swung too far: by neglecting their collective freedom - people were negating the ability of society to act as a facilitator.
What was important to Polanyi, writing in the 1930s, was the emergence of a sense of collective responsibility to balance both personal and collective freedoms and thus allow mankind to truly flourish.
Funny how some ideas, however arrived at, have trouble leaving you alone.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
People do not exist to provide human resources to industry. Leisure, culture and family are not, in the wide view, costs to business. Society is not something that should be hammered and bent until it accords to the shape of the economic machine. Business, industry and economic arrangements are machines, social machines for sure, but inventions of human ingenuity nonetheless. I am a Luddite. To allow machines to shape us, rather than us them, indeed, to build an ideology – an understanding of the workings of the world – that inverts the only justifiable hierarchy of human and machine, is arse over tête.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I've got no more to comment on the issue. If you want my opinion go here, here and here. This will simply serve as a record for me and anyone who forgets just how many opportunities the man will take to deprive us of our liberties.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
“[W]hen we act, we create our own reality”; unnamed aide to President Bush, 2004.
Like giants, ogres and gnomes, Homo economicus is a mythical species of humanoid. Or rather, it once was. Unlike giants, ogres and gnomes, many educated, modern people have believe that Homo economicus, the monster-man who lives only by a calculation of personal material interests, not only exists, but that it is in fact Homo sapiens, the thinking-man, the man of sense, who is the fantasy.
Possessed by this belief, and possessing great power over the organisation of our society, this group of fantasists have, through human action, made their legends real. In ‘on your bike’, the attempt to disguise labour mobility as a virtue, people are told that there is no value to be found within the communities that they live and work. ‘Flexibility’, rendering jobs temporary, transient and often, precarious, erodes the notion of loyalty to and pride in anything greater than the individual economic unit.
This is presented as inevitable. But it is the product of human action. Homo economicus is presented as the natural form of existence for mankind. Why then, does it require thousands of years of social development to reach this form? Neo-liberal economic policies are the deliberate attempt to transform Homo sapiens, attached to place and people, culture and tradition by bonds that cannot be quantified, altering the environment so as to force evolution into Homo economicus.
The Marxist heritage of the leading proponents of neo-liberalism is patent. Marx and Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto that “[t]he bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and with them the whole relations of society”. “All that is solid melts into air”, leaving, as the only “nexus between man and man… naked self-interest… callous ‘cash payment’”. Everything is swept aside leaving only “egotistical calculation”. “[P]ersonal worth [is transformed] into exchange value” and freedoms have been replaced by Free Trade. Veiled exploitation is substituted by “naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation”.
What men like Thomas Friedman have forgotten is that ‘making the world flat’ is not conducted in the interests of the poor and the powerless, people whose difference is their only defence against exploitation. Like so many liberals, ex-New Left and now the New Right, what is always missing from their analysis, and is apparent in their blind faith in the market and the United States Marine Corps., is the central importance of power in human relations, even those apparently, at least to the myopic, equal relations of the market, even the market of ideas. Yes, making the world flat might, and only might, strip away the rationale for tribal conflict and gender inequality. But it undoubtedly is the painless, liberal way of describing the way that capital kicks through barriers and establishes its dominance, in the process transforming human-kind into the rational, but uncivilized monster-men of Milton Friedman’s dreams.
Well this lot certainly are. I've been picked up by them for a post I wrote recently on the US democratic mission. There's some well written stuff on there and it's certainly an antidote to the right-heavy Britblog carnival. It's run by a different blogger every week, this time it's Think Socialist.
Perhaps this marks another westward drift in my political coordinates.
Monday, May 15, 2006
"The demands of the majority of the law-abiding community have to take precedence," he told the launch.
"We should not have to fight continual legal battles to deport people committing serious crimes or inciting extremism."Especially when they face torture in the country we wish to deport them to, and haven't faced a fair trial here because these are after all vile and dangerous men. Unconvicted maybe, but Ian says they are so they are, K?
"We cannot allow violent or drug-abusing offenders to be put back out on the street again without proper supervision and, if necessary, restraint"Especially those that have served their time and repaid their debt to society, as deined by our so called justice system?
"Now none of these things is new but what I think is new is the emerging national political consensus to tackle them, and that should be a central part of the debate ahead."
From the Sun yes, but where else?
"Despite our attempts - and we have made many of them [we know!] - to toughen and reform the criminal justice system ... the criminal justice system is the public service most distant from what reasonable people want," he said.
Or rather a figleaf for your continuing ineptitude.
I'm sorry make this blog into a one issue wonder but I'm sick of Blair feeling that he must create news the whole time because everything else is ballsed up or run out of steam. It was fine when all he wanted to do was have tea with Damon Albarn but when he threatens our basic freedoms to continue his little show it becomes clear that he deserves to die a horrible and ugly death. The issues he delights in highlighting are simply not important, the way he wishes to deal with them is. I admired Blair when he refused to make immigration an issue at the last election, but playing with xenophobia is just as inexcusable when it comes to deporting foreign criminals. It is nothing more than a simple lust for power and that makes him anything but Churchillian.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Rt Hon TonyBlair has left human rights activists gasping with his latest pronouncement that the human rights act needs a 'radical overhaul'. Civil liberties campaigners were also delivered a round house when Blair criticised a judge's ruling as 'barmy'.
Mr Blair, you are a twat. An extremely dangerous twat, but a twat you remain. Does it not strike you when you propose to harry, hassle and hound the suspects out of the country, when you criticise an independent judiciary and when you call for for a further erosion of human rights that you sound like a tyrannical demagogic twat. And this ain't no MSM conspiracy to poison our minds, even if Flabbodopolos was still around to point that out , because, hurher, you said it.
Tell us also why this is now your "most urgent policy task"? I thought that was climate change. It's funny how it's not exactly urgent is it? More pressing is the need to deflect attention from the NHS and the Home Office and, shouldn't we all forget, that bill to abolish parliament.
Blow up (please)
Are you also aware, TB, that while pleasing the decent "law abiding majority" -- that so heartily thanked you for their protection nine days ago -- you are also marginalising an increasingly unsettled minority? And do you see no link between this alienation and the desire for young men to blow themselves up? Being marginalised yourself, why don't you share this inclination?
UPDATE (via Tom Paine): It's not just Tony who's at it:
Mr Cameron said he was deeply concerned that the [Human Rights] Act was preventing the authorities from expelling foreign criminals if the courts believed they might face maltreatment in their home countries.Another word for maltreatment, David, is torture. But then again, they are foreign aren't they?
Disclaimer: Standing up for the right of foreign criminals not to be tortured does not at all diminish my desire to see Tony Blair blow himself up, however hypocritical this may seem.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Over at Liberty Central, Unity welcomes the Goverment being more specific about the burdens that can be removed - namely those of financial cost, administrative inconvenience, obstacles to efficiency, productivity or profitability, and sanctions, criminal or otherwise, for doing or not doing anything in the course of any activity.
What the hell does that last sentence mean? I agree with Spyblog when he says:
This Bill adds to the already strong case for a law which imposes criminal penalties on any Government Ministers, civil servants and lawyers, who dare to use words like "any" or "all" or "every" in a Bill or Order or Regulation, without qualification, caveat or restriction of unlimited powers.Moreover, two major points of concern have not been removed from the bill. The first, long ago pointed out by Spyblog, is that the bill contains the power to amend itself. The second, as pointed out by Unity, is that it gives Ministers the ability to impose criminal penalties with sentences of up to two years.
I have pasted Save the Parliament's latest email bulletin below which summarises recent developments. It is imperative that you email your MP to vote against this abhorrent legislation. Democracy is a slow, sometimes tortuous, process but we cannot allow it to be subordinated to the needs of productivity, however defined.
Welcome to the fourth Save Parliament bulletin, and if you've only just joined us, welcome to the campaign!
This is the latest update on the Legislative and Regulatory Refom Bill (aka Abolition of Parliament Bill). For more information and constantly updated list of resources, visit the site at www.saveparliament.org.uk.
We have a lot to tell you about!
Since our last bulletin the Government announced a huge climbdown on the bill, recognising there were some concerns and committing to reconsider the bill to fit the 'Better Regulation Agenda'.
Since that announcement we have been waiting for the next move and finally, on 4th May, the Government published a list of amendments which will be voted on in the Commons on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th.
Our initial reaction to the amendments was literally, "We've Won!" but after careful and detailed scrutiny by ourselves and a number of law professors we have uncovered that the bill still threatens democracy in much the same way.
The Government has added the much requested veto which can be used in the Commons as well as the Lords. They have also limited the bill to regulatory functions.
However, the delegation aspect still remains in the bill and there is only a limited list of excluded acts so as to ensure that core constitutional enactments cannot be amended by order.
The most worrying of the amendments is the use of the Law Commission. A minister may implement Law Commission recommendations 'with or without' changes'. This means the minister can used the bill to amend legislation based on the minister's inital idea, regardless of the recommendation from the Law Commission. The bill also threatens the independence of the Law Commission, which presents a huge threat to civil liberties.
The bill still does not mention business, which means a burden can be anything a minister considers to be such, unless it affects only a minister or Government department. If a minister considers that trial by jury is a burden on the police, it could be abolished, for example.
An addition brought in with the amendments gives the power to abitrarily shuffle around regulatory functions. A good example would be the BBC, whose board of governors could be abolished if a minister so wished.
The bill is still raising concerns about time limits, also. The committee will only have 30 days to consider an order which is not long enough, especially if many orders are introduced around the same time.
What happens now?
The bill is now returning to the main chamber of the House of Commons for it's Third Reading, which is scheduled for the afternoons of Monday 15th May, and Tuesday 16th May. If you have time, you are encouraged to log on to the parliament.uk website and watch the debate live, or read the transcripts the following day on TheyWorkForYou.com.
The debate will proceed like the Committee Stage before, where some amendments are brought before the house which are either dismissed, accepted or voted on. The amendments brought by the minister in charge, Jim Murphy MP, will all pass, and those proposed by anyone else will all fail. The list of proposed amendments is available here: http://www.publications
The amendments will be read or skipped over in the order that they are presented. Clauses 1 and 2 are expected to be entirely replaced. The first amendment in the list is to present a new clause replacing clause 1. When it is "Read a Second Time", it is up for consideration. The subsequent amendments (a)-(e) are proposed amendments to this new clause. These have the potential to change the clause, but they will all be rejected, because the Government believes it's version is perfect. It will then be "Read a Third Time" and inserted into the bill. The game roughly proceeds like that for the remainder of the day.
To follow the proceedings effectively, you may want to print out the version of the bill as it stands before the debate, and tick things off with a pen as they go through and change it: http://www.publications
We will be tracking the progress of this stage as it happens on our blog which you can find at http://bill111.wordpress.com/.
Unfortunately, the way these things are presented makes very simple things highly confusing - perhaps to keep the public uninvolved! Indeed, if you don't understand what's going on we'd urge you to write to your MP and bring the matter to their attention as they are ultimately responsible for the presentation to the public and can change it.
We'll issue another bulletin next week to let you know how things went in the Commons if you don't get chance to look at either of the sites above.
What can you do now?
In the meantime, we strongly urge you to e-mail your MP as soon as possible to express dissatisfaction with the amendments which do not limit the powers in the bill effectively enough. We recommend you urge your MP to vote in favour of any amendments proposed by the opposition parties and vote against the entire bill should they be rejected.
Director, Save Parliament
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Incidentally, while reading "TA2000", I was sruck by the definition of terrorism offered. As my colleague Hesq has frequently pointed out, it is very hard on this basis not to refer to the goverment itself as a terrorist organisation.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I think Luca Vialli was the first man to bring in [a focus on diets] at Chelsea. He brought in an Italian chef who's still there now - Nick. First of all the players were all, 'Oh, I can't eat this pasta - what's this all about?' We'd never seen it or tasted it. But now when I go to a restaurant that's all I eat. I want to eat chicken and pasta, and that's something that I'm going to do for ever.Thanks John, a real lesson in culinary sophistication.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Clarke's off to the backbenches - hooray!
Prescott - "stripped of his brief" - a sad day for the 'true left'
Straw - now Leader of the Commons - the traditional resting place for a weary foreign secretary, especially one with a point to prove vis-a-vis Iran.
Kelly - quietly goes away.
Brown, G - not consulted (and remains in his post, obviously)
Reid - New Home Sec - the journeyman continues his rise
Des Browne - New Defence Sec - third Brown to serve in Blair's cabinet
Darling - Trade - biding time for Brown call up.
Johnson - Education - first real test for former pensions man.
Blears - Labour Party Chairperson - loyal, yes, but too embarassing on front benches.
And the replacement for Straw? Oh wait make that TWO!!!!
This is the most exciting thing to happen to the Cabinet since the Government took an absurd acronym and changed it to Defra. We now have two foreign secretaries!!
For Europe: Hoon!
What a choice, what bravado! The man who drove a civil servant to suicide is now 'Our Man on the Continent'.
For RoW: Beckett!
Another Blair stalwart, and we thought she was finished forever in the backwaters of the environment but now... front row! She's played a blinder.
Reivingorating - pah! A stale cabal of yes-men and -women. Blair can only gather this musty lot from the hedgerows and mothy cupboards of his crumbling estate so he bore can us to death for the rest of his term. It's a cabinet that's bad for the British but heartening in that it will only hasten the day the Blair jumps ship.
Beckett and Hoon! Can't help get a whiff of pig-shit about this one. Perhaps a ploy to drive policy past two weak politicians easier than one strong one. Hoon and Beckett not natural allies so Blair becomes new Foreign Sec. Stay tuned for excuses about complexity of world etc.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Wow, wow, what an honor. The White House Correspondents' Dinner. To just sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what, I'm a pretty sound sleeper, that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face.He goes on, playing the President's ultimate fan:
Now, I know there's some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.The punches keep rolling:
...So don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he's not doing? Think about it. I haven't.
...Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite powered car.His juiciest stuff, however, was reserved for hos press colleagues:
...The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday, that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man's beliefs never will.
Whatever he does for the rest of his life, Colbert can die a happy man, his service to humanity complete. The media reaction, however, has been somewhat mixed, with the establishment obviously peeved at being so insulted. The playwright Christopher Durang, registered his disappointment at the lack of coverage on the Huffington Post:
But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on N.S.A. wiretapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason, they're superdepressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished.
Over the last five years you people were so good over tax cuts, W.M.D. intelligence, the affect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.
But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The President makes decisions, he's the decider. The Press Secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home.
Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know, fiction.
The media's ignoring Colbert's effect at the White House Correspondents Dinner is a very clear example of what others have called the media's penchant for buying into the conservative/rightwing "narrative."ie the very thing Colbert was railing against. Durang reproduces the whole of Colbert's speech which he delivered standing right next to the President, eyeballing the man with his most biting lines. The whole thing's brilliant and must have made the most uncomfortable watching for all attended.
For those who prefer a little truthiness, go to Thank You Steven Colbert and register your support.
PS This has nothing, absolutely nothing, to them linking to me in their sidebar.
If Myspace counts, I can get you to Charlie Calleja - which I suggest you check out anyway because he's brilliant.
All of these live within or around London, furthest is Cambridge, so we could be getting close.
Well that started at 4.16pm yesterday. Worstall completed the loop at 12.28 pm today, with a hop of only four blogs: Coffee & PC, Rob Davies, Worstall, Danny Finkelstein and Oscar. Ye Gods the blogosphere is smaller and more frightening than we ever thought possible.
Something also seems to be stirring in Edinburgh with 'further guidance to be issued at the end of this week'. It does not seem like a resolution is close, however, with merely the promise of more, albeit overdue, advice to students. Perhaps they're going to tough it out.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
One solution to this dilemma comes from Phil Edwards (hat tip: Charlie Whitaker) who proposes an ingenious scale which brands me a Pelagian Digger Right-Hegelian Whig - a PDRHW, although I've a tendency to be PDLHW at times.
Another less erudite but more effective method comes in the form of the Political Compass: a four-way scale which combines the standard left/right distinction with Authoritarian/Libertarian leanings. I first took the test about four years ago (when I was about -3.4/-3.3) and my progress has been heading in a marked south-westerly direction ever since currently standing at -8.38/-6.82, which makes me more left wing and libertarian than Gandhi. This is either the ability of university to turn a head, or for it to take the veil from one's eyes. I guess we'll see when I start paying council tax.
"The notion of the Economy has become so abstract that we cannot conceive of what it means for it to grow, shrink or stagnate - only follow programmed responses to each of these outcomes."They say:
"[Benjamin] Friedman makes a powerful argument that—-politically and sociologically-—modern societies are like bicycles. As we all know, the laws of physics (specifically the conservation of angular momentum) make a bicycle extremely stable as long as its wheels are spinning fast and it is moving forward rapidly, but extremely unstable as it slows to a halt."
Thanks to the Independent for providing inspiration for this format.
If you want one for yourself, here's the code:
<p><a href="http://www.saveparliament.org.uk"><br />
<img src="http://www.saveparliament.org.uk/images/banner2.png" alt="Save Parliament" border="0" height="63" width="472" />