There is a housing crisis in parts of the country. It’s a problem that could easily increase tension between older and younger generations.

While young people struggle to have enough money to rent or buy, much older people are living increasingly isolated lives in houses that are too large for them to look after.

Liberal Conspiracy, 12/03/2013

The debate about the 600,000 white Brits who left London in the last decade shows how broken our thinking on integration is. The debate has been dominated by right-wing commentators in despair and left-wing commentators in denial. It is time for some new thinking.

The right-wing commentators have been predictable. For them, this ‘white flight’ is proof that multiculturalism is a terrible idea, immigration is all bad and the only answer is to close the borders. Even for someone who accepts the analysis, this is idealist nonsense.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Stat of the Day

You are eight times more likely to find that the majority of your friends are unemployed if you yourself are unemployed.

That’s what a socially divided country looks like.

Make a list of meaningless phrases and pretty soon you have the modern language of managers and politicians the world over:’utilise’ (how about ‘use’?),  ‘going forward’ (rather than what?!), ‘circle back’ (why not go straight?), ‘synergise’ (who knows?).

As this language has grown up, it has displaced another: a language meant for humans not spreadsheets. It can be found in every language and nation, but in english it sounds like this: mercy, forgiveness, hope, grace, humility, kindness, generosity, goodness.

Friday, 08 March 2013

In praise of gangs

Over the last half-century, we have taken part in a nationwide experiment.
50 years ago, lots of Brits were in gangs. Well – groups anyway. Groups that met regularly and where people from different incomes and generations would meet.  

An Englishman and Pole meet. In fact they go on National Citizen Service run by The Challenge Network.

Through the intense shared experiences, they build a bond of trust.

We are pleased to announce that a team of our young people from Ealing are the regional winners of the vInspired ‘Most Outstanding NCS’ award. The group created the winning campaign during their time on the 2012 programme.

The focus of their campaign was free travel for university students; a topic which the group feel strongly about.

In the early 90s, Mr Brooks was my secondary school English teacher. In between teaching Macbeth and Wuthering Heights, he would tell us about a friend who had grown up in apartheid South Africa but now lived in London. Once a week, this friend would go to the local primary school and sit outside at playtime just to watch black and white children playing together as equals. He said it restored his faith in humanity.

Tuesday, 05 March 2013

Apocalypse how?

I was never that worried about the environment. I knew there were problems. But I figured that we’d faced environmental problems before and we’d always found a way through. I reassured myself that we hadn’t wiped ourselves out before by messing up the environment.

If we want to have excellent vocational training and apprenticeships, we need some leaders who chose the non-university route. Or at least know well some people who did.

Unfortunately most of our political leaders have taken the uni-route. And so will most of their other halves …

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