what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Behind the Blog

Exactly a year ago I penned a short “personal credo” to help explain the blog and some of what lies behind it
This blog doesn’t peddle any political line. It’s written by someone who has been lucky enough to be able to paddle his own canoe for more than 40 years and to write things as he saw them – no matter the jarring effect it might have on his readers. For almost 20 years I had a senior position in a powerful Scottish Region, using that position to develop community strategies and writing critically about that experienceAnd, for the last 22 years, I’ve led various teams of consultants in transition countries in efforts to develop  systems of “good government or good governance”. And written critically about such programmes – my website has some of the papers. I vividly remember one of my (Prussian) superiors expostulating at one of the papers - "we do not pay you to think..... but to obey!".
And all during this period, I’ve been reading avidly to try to understand how organisations get so perverted – and how we can prevent that. The blog tries to share the best of that writing 
My heroes are -
·         the little boy in the Hans Christian Anderson tale who dared to shout out that the Emperor had no clothes
·         Voltaire’s so innocent Candide as he experienced such disasters and yet was assured by experts that “everything is for the best in the best of possible worlds”
·         Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations
·         The priest who was the source in the late 1940s of the inspiring Mondragon cooperatives in Spain which now employ almost 100,000 workers in rural areas of the Basque country.
·         Robert Michels for spelling out more than 100 years ago "the iron law of oligarchy"
 I believe in people coming together at a local level to work for the common benefit - principles enshrined in communitarianism (about which I do have some reservations). I spent a lot of time supporting the work of social enterprise in low-income communities. None of this went down all that well with the technocrats or even members) of my political party - and the national politicians to whose books I contributed (eg Gordon Brown ) soon changed their tune when they had a taste of power.
But, above all, I am a passionate sceptic - or sceptical pluralist - as I put in a blogpost in September 2011 - see, for example, my Just Words?

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