Author Archives: David Boyle

Story telling might lead to economic revolution

It is extraordinary how compartmentalised everything is – especially when we are campaigning in local elections.

We, few of us, who know a little about the way public responsibilities are demarcated between different layers of government, have a kind of sense of corrosive superiority as we expect campaigners to demand the right reform from the right level.

But partly this is just a function of sclerotic centralisation. The Treasury has a crushing monopoly on economic policy because, well – it always has.

Partly because of that, and because there is almost no local economic data collected about where money flows (the exception is bank lending to postal district level, forced on the banks by Lib Dem peers in 2012) – Whitehall doesn’t see the economic innovations at local level.

And in particular, they don’t see the emergence of a new generation of local entrepreneurs who are no longer prepared to wait patiently for the Chinese to invest or the government to give them a grant – and are trying to transform their local economies a bite at a time.

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The terrifying consequences of witch-hunts

ScandalNow that, one by one, European countries are shifting the law for allow for same-sex marriage – the spotlight now turns on Italy where mass demonstrations have taken place in support of the idea – it is  worth thinking about why homosexuality was criminalised in the first place.

We have spent so much time celebrating the decision in 1967 to repeal laws which did so, that we have perhaps forgotten to look a little further back to see how they came onto the statute book in the first place (sodomy had been a crime for some centuries before).

The story goes back to the Phoenix Park murders of 1882, when republican terrorists stabbed the Irish Secretary to death – accidentally, as it turned out: he happened to be walking with the intended victim.

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Opinion: Is business no longer Conservative

The apology for a debate about business and politics over the last few weeks is enough to make anyone independent-minded start chewing the carpet in frustration. There was a particularly annoying radio debate between Digby Jones and Polly Toynbee last week. A dialogue of the deaf if ever there was one.

Perhaps it was inevitable that the BBC would continue the traditional assumption that business was always going to be Conservative, but look more closely – talk to business people more broadly – and you find something is shifting.

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Opinion: How time banks play a crucial role in health care

Imagine that health professionals had the time to make everyone feel valued and cared for personally. Imagine there was an infinite resource to provide the kind of informal care that keeps people healthy. Imagine there was enough time.

Well, the peculiar thing – if you set the questions out like that – is that there is enough time, if you have the infrastructure and institutions that can use NHS patients, their time and experience, and that of their family and neighbours, as a resource.

That is becoming a familiar idea and the NHS is embracing the co-production agenda, even if they don’t yet very fully understand what it means. But the practical application of the idea is to set up time banks in hospitals and health centres, and I was involved in launching the UK’s first – at the Rushey Green Group Practice in Catford in 1999.

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Opinion: The future isn’t so much local, it is small

people powered prosperityDanny Alexander started all this.  He asked me, back one day in 2012, about how local economies could find levers to regenerate themselves – rather than waiting around hopelessly for outside investment that never came (that isn’t how he put it).

The result was a dialogue between the Treasury and the local economic regeneration activists – local bankers, local energy organisers, local procurement advocates, local currencies – which revealed, it’s fair to say, something of a gulf between them.

As a result, and thanks to some funding from the Friends Provident Foundation, I have been organising a project to translate between the two – so that they at least understand each other.

I hope it will also form a narrative, once cities and places have more power, which can support their own economic efforts.  If you devolve powers from Whitehall, it makes no sense for them to carry on handling your whole economic destiny on your behalf.

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Opinion: Underpinning local enterprise through the banking system

Despite a last minute attempt to scrap criticisms of the big banks, the Lib Dems are now committed to a powerful programme to create a diverse local lending infrastructure in the UK.

And most important of all, thanks to the Rebanking the UK debate yesterday, the Lib Dems are now clear about how this great diversification is going to be achieved.

The big banks are going to pay for and mentor a new infrastructure of local banks, which will be geared up – and with the expertise they need – to lend money to a new UK mittelstand, the UK small and …

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Opinion: The next devolution?

Manchester Town Hall ClockChange is in the air, or that is the implication of the strange alignment of George Osborne for the Conservatives and Andrew Adonis for Labour, whose new report on re-balancing the economy – not that he used those terms – was published on Monday.

If you add Michael Heseltine’s 2012 review into the mix – published with a full-page portrait of the great Liberal reformist Joseph Chamberlain (yes, I know he became something else) – then the shift towards serious devolution of economic power seems unstoppable.

Why has it …

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    Coming back to the original article, if Hunt succeeds in imposing his changes to unsocial hours on the doctors, will nurses, midwives and other NHS...
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    It is worth watching Liam Fox on the Daily Politics last week when he admits that the "7-day NHS" was essentially a manifesto phrase with...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 3rd May - 10:48am
    @Lorenzo Cherin "They use the word “coloured “, never as an insult , but as a description ..." This is something I struggle with when...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 3rd May - 10:45am
    @David Raw: You are correct about Ghandi not believing anyone needed to defend themselves. In fact during WW2 he wrote a horrendous open letter to...
  • User AvatarPsi 3rd May - 10:32am
    Jayne Mansfield “When referring to the changes that have taken place in an area, why would one mention the colour of the residents?” Not having...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 3rd May - 10:26am
    I don't understand why the public backs the strikes. Just because someone disagrees with a policy doesn't mean they should launch an all out strike...