People are paying £2 billion more a year – or around £80 per household - than they would be if the water and sewerage supply was publicly financed. Almost one third of the money spent on water bills goes to banks and investors as interest and dividends. Six companies are avoiding millions in tax by routing profits through tax havens, using a regulatory loophole the government has chosen to keep open. The CEOs of the 19 water companies were paid almost £10 million in salaries and other bonuses in 2012.
I am concerned about the way that policing has been sometimes going in this country (and beyond, think: Ferguson). It’s time we remembered this…
“… long standing philosophy of British policing, known as the Robert Peel’s 9 Principles of Policing. However, there is no evidence of any link to Robert Peel and it was likely devised by the first Commissioners of Police of the Metropolis (Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne). The principles which were set out in the ‘General Instructions’ that were issued to every new police officer from 1829 were: To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws. …”
We the public need to insist on these principles not slipping.
Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing—when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.
Yet there is a logical flaw at the heart of establishment thinking. It may abhor the state – but it is completely dependent on the state to flourish. Bailed-out banks; state-funded infrastructure; the state’s protection of property; research and development; a workforce educated at great public expense; the topping up of wages too low to live on; numerous subsidies – all are examples of what could be described as a “socialism for the rich” that marks today’s establishment.
Today’s establishment is made up – as it has always been – of powerful groups that need to protect their position in a democracy in which almost the entire adult population has the right to vote. The establishment represents an attempt on behalf of these groups to “manage” democracy, to make sure that it does not threaten their own interests. In this respect, it might be seen as a firewall that insulates them from the wider population. As the well-connected rightwing blogger and columnist Paul Staines puts it approvingly: “We’ve had nearly a century of universal suffrage now, and what happens is capital finds ways to protect itself from, you know, the voters.” [Owen Jones]
Lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.
Findings from research psychologist Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor, who also asked a sample pool of volunteers to spend a month applying these four principles and found that 80% emerged “happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.”
Pair with how to make your own luck.
it legendary social scientist John Gardner on our fear of failure and what children can teach us about taking risks – timeless wisdom from half a century ago:
the pursuit of money and possessions takes time away from more personally fulfilling activities and social relationships.
God’s Two Books, Nature and the Bible: atheists don’t know how to read the one, and inerrantists don’t know how to read the other. It is not accidental that poets among them are few.
Rosa Luxemburg described from a prison cell in 1915 in her magnicent Junius Pamphlet in these searing paragraphs that are worth repeating in their entirety:
‘The scene has changed fundamentally. The six weeks’ march to Paris has grown into a world drama. Mass slaughter has become the tiresome and monotonous business of the day and the end is no closer. Bourgeois statecraft is held fast in its own vise. The spirits summoned up can no longer be exorcised. Gone is the euphoria. Gone the patriotic noise in the streets, the chase after the gold-colored automobile, one false telegram after another, the wells poisoned by cholera, the Russian students heaving bombs over every railway bridge in Berlin, the French airplanes over Nuremberg, the spy hunting public running amok in the streets, the swaying crowds in the coffee shops with ear-deafening patriotic songs surging ever higher, whole city neighborhoods transformed into mobs ready to denounce, to mistreat women, to shout hurrah and to induce delirium in themselves by means of wild rumors. Gone, too, is the atmosphere of ritual murder, the Kishinev air where the crossing guard is the only remaining representative of human dignity. The spectacle is over. German scholars, those “stumbling lemurs,” have been whistled off the stage long ago. The trains full of reservists are no longer accompanied by virgins fainting from pure jubilation. They no longer greet the people from the windows of the train with joyous smiles. Carrying their packs, they quietly trot along the streets where the public goes about its daily business with aggrieved visages. In the prosaic atmosphere of pale day there sounds a different chorus – the hoarse cries of the vulture and the hyenas of the battlefield. Ten thousand tarpaulins guaranteed up to regulations! A hundred thousand kilos of bacon, cocoa powder, coffee-substitute – c.o.d, immediate delivery! Hand grenades, lathes, cartridge pouches, marriage bureaus for widows of the fallen, leather belts, jobbers for war orders – serious offers only! The cannon fodder loaded onto trains in August and September is moldering in the killing fields of Belgium, the Vosges, and Masurian Lakes where the profits are springing up like weeds. It’s a question of getting the harvest into the barn quickly. Across the ocean stretch thousands of greedy hands to snatch it up. Business thrives in the ruins. Cities become piles of ruins; villages become cemeteries; countries, deserts; populations are beggared; churches, horse stalls. International law, treaties and alliances, the most sacred words and the highest authority have been torn in shreds. Every sovereign “by the grace of God” is called a rogue and lying scoundrel by his cousin on the other side. Every diplomat is a cunning rascal to his colleagues in the other party. Every government sees every other as dooming its own people and worthy only of universal contempt. There are food riots in Venice, in Lisbon, Moscow, Singapore. There is plague in Russia, and misery and despair everywhere. Violated, dishonored, wading in blood, dripping filth – there stands bourgeois society. This is it [in reality]. Not all spic and span and moral, with pretense to culture, philosophy, ethics, order, peace, and the rule of law – but the ravening beast, the witches’ sabbath of anarchy, a plague to culture and humanity. Thus it reveals itself in its true, its naked form.’
Challenging unreconstructed masculinity is surely a priority, too. The organisation Calm has launched an initiative called “#mandictionary”, encouraging men to take on “archaic male stereotypes” and “define themselves on their own terms”.
What if, instead of a static set of rules, life with God is one that welcomes movement? And, what if that movement is characterized by holy surprise – the kind of surprise for which the only response is laughter? The kind of surprise for which the only response is a party, a party like this world has never seen. Scripture attests to holy surprise.
To all humans you owe a basic loving-kindness, which … means not spitting on them, not physically injuring them as you dash for a subway seat, and not taking up more than one parking space. Beyond these basic niceties, reciprocity is the key to every relationship. This is the basic sin of the street workers: they ask for more than this basic consideration (by blocking your way, by taking up your time, by asking for money) but give zero back. You owe them nothing, … pretend that they do not exist.
If economists are allowed to discuss religion in economic terms, then we should also be allowed to view economists as a religious group.