Britain is going through a difficult time, when its sustained ability to punch above its weight, economically and diplomatically, is ebbing. The end of irrational exuberance found the country ill at ease with itself, with rising inequalities and unhealthy nationalism, just when it needs to eat a slice of humble pie and be fleet-footed in recognising that many of the traditional pillars of its strengths are collapsing. The need is to recognise other supports and partners and find a new common purpose after the pandemic. I live in hope.

still the next big thing

I have been harping on about china since... well, for a very long time, and so as I've been involved in a very productive spurt of activity over the last weeks, it was an obvious topic for my now-regular newspaper blog...

Attached File: menb3.docx

what did we get for our money ?

Common wisdom holds that some neighbourhoods play a particular downbeat function for a city, e.g. as a transitional "landing" area that people move on from as quickly as possible, and that's why massive interventions never transformed them. I am not so sure, a doubt reinforced by this latest article.

Attached File: worklessness.pdf


With scottish independence in the air, identity is much discussed these days, and so I took that as a starting point in my monthly colomn, linking multi faceted identity to a multi cultural society, which is not always welcome, but really ought to be...

Attached File: menb2.docx

...and pipe and slippers

Between 18 and around now, I have always been around 18. However, these last years I do seem to have become rather alarmingly settled, proof of which is here (23 january 2012) and in my intense pride at my first movie. Old friend wrote rather better on a similar theme.

Attached File: menorah.pdf

blog goes global

Well, across greater manchester anyway, as four years after giving up my last regular spot (new europe), I may well have a new corner of the web that will be forever baron. My first foray, rather ironically given my increasingly armchair interest (30 april 2012) was on football...

Attached File: menb1.docx

big deal

Announced in the UK's annual budget statement, manchester's "city deal" is a big deal (here's why). Been in the news too for other reasons, as has my cousin (see 17 november 2011) and my brother, who has recently struck out on his own and is doing very well. I continue to help others, edinburgh a while ago, and local government over the last months, with growth, my favourite topic

Attached File: deal.pdf

a new year resolution

I wrote recently in our community's journal, shofar. It was basically about the tension between our altruistic or ideological and community do good selves, and our pragmatic, individualist or familial consumerist side, "can a lifetime of happiness be only in private pleasures of family and friends, of making and baking, of walking and talking..."

Attached File: new year.pdf

a bridge too near

We're leaving trafford for the last time after three wonderful years and... joining bridgewater, which also provides healthcare in trafford, as well as other parts of greater manchester, merseyside and cheshire. It's a new day, and a new challenge in a still new sector of community rather than hospital care (18 february 2012)...

Attached File: bridgewateragenda.doc

another go at transformation

Public services are excellent at talking transformation, less good at doing it. However steep decline in the availability of public funds, set to worsen, makes endless salami slicing in silos ultimately impossible. There may be a catalyst to an alternative approach, which in my view sees the provision of a public service as an investment, around which a mature state, in all its emanations, should be able to take a view as to return and risk, so bringing evidence and cost-benefit analysis to the fore as never before. That's what I spent my friday afternoon on

Attached File: GM Community Budget.pdf

to (plan) b or not to b

An informative "breakfast briefing" I chaired looked less at a nominal "plan b" that everyone agreed would be the ideal way to go, and more at whether, given the uk's huge debts and intense global macroeconomic twitchiness, it could be carried out without dire consequences. Conclusions, if such they were, that unfortunately growth spending needs carving from current spend, and that there's nothing new under the sun, as this excellent video showed...

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