Month: July 2013

Doreen Lawrence

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I’ve just read breaking news that Mrs. Doreen Lawrence is to be made a Baroness.

I’m not generally speaking in favor of peerages but on this occasion I am more than willing to make an exception.  I cannot think of a more deserving person.

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Doreen Lawrence has led a legal & media campaign to find out what happened to her son, Steven Lawrence who was killed in 1993 in a racist attack which was not investigated properly at the time by an institutionally racist Police Force.  This woman and her family should be thanked by everyone (black, white and any other ethnicity you could mention) for the efforts she has put into the campaign.

I am a huge admirer of Doreen Lawrence for her dignity in quite adverse circumstances; she deserves recognition and I applaud the Labour Party (in this case) for recommending her.

WJC International Letter of Outrage

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The Sejm, the Polish Parliament, recently voted to make the kosher preparation of meat, the backbone of Jewish dietary laws, ILLEGAL. This means that Poland has become the first country in Europe since the end of World War II to ban shechita – kosher slaughter.

In effect Polish Jews have been told to quit the country or stop being Jewish if they want to stay in Poland.

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Prior to WWII Poland was home to the largest Jewish population in Europe.  Of course the Nazi Holocaust changed that for ever, but in July 1946 ethnic Poles murdered Jews in a pogrom in Kielce.  Today no more than a few thousand are left.

We’ve been here before and what comes next is more attempts to wipe out Jewish culture, to make it impossible for Jews to live peacefully with, contributing to and adding to the other local cultures & traditions.

As with ALL religious groups provided they are not in some way harming others then they must be protected, safety and rights of religious practice guaranteed. Any movement that begins with the outlawing of shechita is virtually guaranteed to adversely affect not only the Jews of Poland but, eventually, Jewish communities everywhere.

I strongly recommend that you (of any faith or none) stand with WJC and sign the International Letter of Outrage.

Go to:  http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/shechita-campaign/take-action?utm_source=WJC+Shechita+Petition&utm_campaign=92a098aef3-schecita_campaign_email_test7_25_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_504680ba00-92a098aef3-318845805

Immigration Crackdown Stupid & Offensive

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I’ve just returned from a very short break staying with friends in Tripoli, Greece where I was made to feel extremely welcome, by friends, friends of friends and strangers alike.

I return to find that the Tory led UK Government is renting vehicles with advertising posters on the side saying  “go home, or you’ll be picked up and deported“.  The vans have been dubbed the Racist Vans & I have to agree, they are Racist!  Thankfully Vince Cable found the time to attack the policy of his Tory masters saying that his party, the Lib Dems who are in coalition with the Tories had not been told about the plan and nor would they have approved of it.  He called it Stupid & Offensive.

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VC said “I think it is offensive. It is designed, apparently, to sort of create a sense of fear (in the) British population that we have a vast problem with illegal immigration. We have a problem but it’s not a vast one. It’s got to be dealt with in a measured way dealing with the underlying causes.”

To be honest I’m not convinced there really is a problem at all, but I’m willing to go with his assessment on the basis that he probably knows more than I about the subject.

VC pointed out that:

  1. An illegal immigrant cant work (legally) in Britain
  2. Cant access benefits
  3. Cant be educated
  4. Cant marry…

He also made it plain that the UK doesn’t count every person in and out but uses a sampling process; “We are not a totalitarian state. We don’t count every single person but actually it’s quite difficult being an illegal immigrant in Britain.”

The Tories are preoccupied with immigration, the targets spoken of are Tory Party targets not Government targets “This idea that you are pursuing a net immigration figure is very misleading because, among other things, the largest number of people counted as immigrants are overseas students, who are not immigrants, they are visitors but under the United Nations classification they are regarded as immigrants, but they are good for the country.

So obsessing about this net immigration number is not helpful.

BoxLife

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What is BoxLife?

Well let me illustrate:

Get up in the morning and get in the box with wheels (car to you and me), commute to place of work and sit in a box (cubicle) with the other box in your work life to work at and communicate through (computer), hop back into the box with wheels and go home at the end of a 9+ hour day, do it all again the next day:  BoxLife!

I can honestly say that there are times when I hate it.

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I’m not saying I’m not grateful for the income, I am, enormously, but come on its not an inspiring life is it?

I envy those who’ve broken free of this tread mill, the drudgery of it all.  I am at a point where I exercise a lot of command over my working life (after all I own 25% of the business I work in – but work I do).  What I think I’d like, just like so many other successful (moderately or otherwise) people, really is a more ‘tailor made’ way of working.  Flexible, work from where and when it suits.  Of course this will not be suitable to a vast majority of people, and at the moment me as well; I work in a factory and what I do means I have to interact with real people doing real things.

But nonetheless, I am working towards jumping out of my particular box (self imposed or not) and this blog is in a small part, part of the way in which I’m doing it.  My present plans remain open-ended but with a focus beginning to form, so I can predict that at some time during the next few years I’ll be making some trial jumps so to speak.

I have flexed my present circumstances to the limit for what I presently do so I’ll have to find different ways to generate income (because its a sure bet I’ll need an income).  Like many people I too have read the 4-Hour Week book.  Its a great book, entertaining and informative.  I just don’t have the same confidence in my own circumstances that I can pull it off.  I’m not afraid of the risks, there will be many, its more my responsibilities; I’m married to a woman who for certain reasons cannot work (she’s not lazy just hampered by her own circumstances) and a daughter who still lives at home.  These are people I love and care about profoundly and willingly sacrifice my own desires for their happiness.  Like I indicated, I’m not totally miserable with my life, it just needs a tweak or two to make it better and more enjoyable.

BoxLife; not bad, just not great!

I’ve pretty much learnt the dance in the rain thing, I’m now looking for a different tune and an umbrella, or better still I’d like to have a dance in the sun.

££££££ Bankers

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The UK has 2436 Bankers who earned more than €1m during 2011!

That’s 3 times more than the whole of the EU together.

Is it just me or is the claim that all these well paid bankers will leave the country if pay is restricted, is actually just a con trick?

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Germany:  170, France:  162, UK:  2436 of which 1809 worked in investment (casino) banking.  Or put another way UK:  2436 v Rest of EU:  739

This is simply staggering, I’m left almost speechless!

Brit-rabia a suburb of Eurabia; Londonistan updated

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Transport for London (TfL) under the guidance of Boris Johnson has signed a deal with Emirates airline, where the Dubai-owned Emirates airline provided £36m towards the £63m cost of the London cable car, which connects North Greenwich with the ExCel center.

Not a problem there you might think? Well, yes there is.  Boris either didn’t have his eye on the ball (detail’s not his strong point I guess) or he just didn’t care about our allies or the future of the Mayoral Appointment.  Nonetheless a problem there is.

Effectively the deal means that the Mayor of London and anybody working for TfL cannot criticize the Emirati government or Royal Family in connection with his Thames cable car. He’s gagged himself for £36m from a government described as “… a medieval dictatorship…” by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.  A bit strong that description but not a regime I find appealing personally.

The clause:

DLRL [Docklands Light Railway] shall not, and shall procure that none of TfL, each member of the TfL Group [including Johnson who chairs TfL], the Air Line Contractor… and their respective directors, senior staff and official spokespeople acting in the course of his or her employment shall make any statement in connection with the subject matter of this contract that is disparaging or defamatory of the Sponsor, any member of the Emirates Group, or any person forming any part of the Government of Dubai and/or the Federal Government of the United Arab Emirates or any member of any of the Royal Families of the United Arab Emirates.

The contract agreement would also be defaulted if TfL agrees to sell a “material part” of the cable car to a “conflicting person”.

A Conflicting Person:

(i) any Competitor; or (ii) any person who is a national of, or who is registered, incorporated, established or whose principal place of business is in a country with which the United Arab Emirates does not at the date of this Contract or at any relevant point during the Term maintain diplomatic relations;”

Which means Israel.  

Yes that’s right, Israel, our ally, our canary in the mine when it comes to Mid-East threats. Why, oh why, oh why would we want to destroy such an important relationship?  It beggars belief, honestly!

The biggest threat to the UK/London? Iran.  Iran with their nuclear weapon ambitions, and who do you think is keeping an eye on things for the West? Not the UAE I’m willing to bet. No, Israel.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I know the Brits didn’t make a very good job just after WWII of looking after the new nation, in fact they made a real hash of the whole thing.  And yes I know all about the Irgun and the Stern Gang, but really its 2013 now and the Israelis do a very decent job of looking out for us.  Keeping us informed.

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So should we be worried? Yes, very.  On a recent visit to London (for fun) I can honestly say from experience that (i) London is not in recession & (ii) London is run by wealthy (very) Arabs and Eastern Europeans.  Which might explain why people such as BJ favors such things as the TfL Cable Car deal.

Boris Johnson should have walked away from the deal.  I learnt a long time ago that some business is bad business! In the long run it will cost you more than you want to pay, not necessarily in money terms but it will cost.

Lessons from Occupy

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On-line protest and business have nothing in common? Yeah?  Well I think they have more in common than either side would really like to admit to.  Kalle Lasn Advertising Executive turned environmentalist started it all with his anti-consumerist Adbusters magazine.  See #OCCUPYWALLSTREET – are you ready for a Tahrir moment?

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So what are the lessons?

Commitment

Motivation to achieve results; when goals and objectives are aligned to passion and personal values then motivation is at its strongest.

Listen to your Clients

When faced with a challenge then ask, ask as many stakeholders as you can possible think of to ask.  Go out and ask, you should even ask those who you think might not actually have anything to say.

Keep it simple

Your message, your product offering, your service proposition should be clear and easy to understand.  Your message must be able to fit in a Tweet.  Hashtags provide a way to put your message across while making sure its to the point!

Your Client is a person

The experiences, the services, the products you offer may standardized but you really must  speak to your client as a person, an individual.  Individual may well work in teams, work for organisations but individuals will speak for themselves.

Decentralise

Facilitation is the key, meetings don’t need to be Chaired, decisions should be reached through consensus.  Participation from all stakeholders brings social value added, unless organisations can show themselves to be responsive they will be seen as the enemy.