Link Loving 28.03.11

March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Business Versus Finance? Time To Wedge

March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Creating a wedge between the real-world economy of small and medium-sized businesses and the shadow-economy of the financial sector could be one of the strongest narratives to build on for those wanting to change the economic system.

This may be obvious to some, but the interests of the world of business is not singular. The Federation of Small Business constantly demands greater access to credit, and has even pushed for wider-scale banking reform. The banking sector is loathe to take on those proposals. What works for one is often to the detriment of the other.

And this fight doesn’t take place behind closed doors. Last week Alun Richards, a Welsh business owner, went on hunger strike after being refused a loan by publicly-owned Lloyds TSB. He runs a small business park, after his family moved out of farming. His media quotes are a campaigners dream –

“I am being ruined by Lloyds, a giant banking group who seem not to care about individual businessmen.”

“It is a great tragedy for this country and it’s about time businessmen like me started to stand up and shout and complain. It feels like Lloyds have tried to crush me. But all I want is a thorough investigation into my complaints against Lloyds.”

We know that local businesses support their local community more than multi-nationals do (just ask any village fete organiser!), and it is much more difficult for a small business not to have values be part of their business – notice the word ‘care’ in the first quote.

This story can be replicated across the country – pubs and restaurants, hairdressers and builders – all will have faced the same situation while bankers notch up their bonuses, and the financial industry once again becomes the most profitable industry in the world.

Moving towards a triple-bottom line business model won’t immediately have small businesses on board, but that’s not what this distinction is about. We can illustrate the failure of an economy/politics steered by corporate financiers, that leaves small businesses sidelined and facing closure.

Nearly 23 million people work in small and medium businesses in the UK. That’s a lot of people who can be agreeing with this line of argument. Worth a try?

This Is Why Poetry Matters

March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Check out Project V.O.I.C.E. for more.

h/t Josh Spear

Link Loving 27.03.11

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • Mistakes were made during the Obama healthcare campaign admit Organising For America staffers. Nancy Scola.
  • Interesting panel debate at the New York Law School on Wikileaks and the law.
  • We are not learning from our long history of industrial accidents. Richard Greenwald.
  • The politics of patent reform. TechDirt.
  • Budget: a shameful u-turn on green investment, energy efficiency, and action on our legal commitments as part of the Climate Act of 2008. Darren Shirley.
  • A Conservative Prime Minister takes on the banks. Guy Shrubsole on Harold Macmillan.
  • The story behind Cognitive Policy Works. Joe Brewer.
  • Natalya Sverjensky holds our hand as we open the pages to BP’s ‘sustainability’ report for 2010. And get this – the figures for volume of oil spills and volume of oil not recovered, don’t include Deepwater Horizon. Now that’s what I call PR.
  • The final SDC report on food and sustainability.

Aristotle Was Amazing

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Not just a philosopher, Aristotle was one of the great early biologists. This wonderful BBC 4 documentary will make you want to move to the Greek islands, go pottering in lakes and lagoons, and fall in love with the natural world all over again.

Parts two, three and four.

h/t Jules Evans

Brief Reflections On Today

March 27, 2011 § 4 Comments

It’s late – so some brief thoughts on a fantastic day today.

  • Big numbers on the streets. People really, really care.
  • We need more and better songs, chants and beats. Before each march, we should train up blocks of 10 chant leaders every 100 meters to lead the crowds. Vuvuzelas can only get you so far.
  • Fortnum & Mason was the wrong swoop target for UK Uncut. Their owners may dodge tax and give to the Conservative Party but the link from F&M to the government cuts is too weak for a strong media message. It may be that there were few non-policed targets left, but today was about public sector cuts, and the class war/royals angle didn’t work.
  • Fantastic reaction as usual from the public to the traditional UK Uncut actions outside high street shops. (We did this brilliant rap outside of Boots, got cheers and ‘well done’s from various passers-by. A mix of public theatre, education and campaigning works beautifully.
  • Media will always, always go with shock value – no matter how small. Sometimes this works (first education march – changed national narrative into one of resistance), but sometimes it doesn’t. Today it didn’t.
  • Need for a clear ‘what are we all going to do when we get home’ plan and that needs to be communicated all day. Something along the lines of ‘we come back in a month with five friends’, or ‘we organise protests in every major town and city in two months time’. Need for building of momentum.
  • Our talking heads were not strong enough. Being drawn into a us vs the black block is not helpful. Need for a back-up army of commenters, callers and organisational commentary filling airtime with our message.

Do you agree? What else?

Link Loving 26.03.11

March 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

For Those With Vaginas

March 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Great video supporting Planned Parenthood in the States. The power of humour…


March 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Link Loving 25.03.11

March 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • Building sustainable supply chains. Boring, but important. Gabrielle Blue.
  • Are you on an email list? Want to know who is sharing your data? Ethan Roeder.
  • What is beauty? A plastic surgeon’s perspective. Robert Tornambe.
  • Republican angst about 2012 is growing. The crop of candidates is less than ideal. Jon Ward.
  • This is how the French flashmob.
  • Don’t let a for-profit company monopolise knowledge – we want a public digital library – not Google. Robert Darnton.
  • How to run the world – charting a course to the next Renaissance. Parag Khanna.
  • Conspicuous Web consumption. Yes, it’s here. Dominic Masulto.
  • Photos of dolls with a difference. Mariel Clayton.
  • A European Youth meeting in July on Sustainable Development.
  • Ethiopia – foreign investors are pouring in to exploit land the government has cleared of people. John Vidal.

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