|‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’. Photo: Swerdlow|
The other Lennon
I believe it was John Lennon who sang ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans to blog about stuff’. Regardless of who said it, it would seem a universally acknowledged truth that the more blog-worthy stuff you’re up to, the less inclined you are to find the time to blog about it. All of which is a very round-about way of apologising for failing to keep this blog up-to-date in recent weeks. (What do you mean you hadn’t noticed?)
So what’s been happening with me, I hear you ask? Going back to John Lennon’s original expression, the past few weeks can be broken down as follows:
Reasons to be cheerful
The past few weeks have been hectic for the right reasons. Without meaning to sound too self-congratulatory I’m pleased with the way I’ve managed to keep up with the regular parts of my life such as the the projects I lead for thinkpublic and the ongoing development work for Roots of Reggae and Heritage of Ska (the latter of which held a successful launch party last Friday) whilst finding the time to make (and carry out) some of my other plans.
I’ve particularly enjoyed reconnecting with my more political side at the recent series of events organised by Political Innovation on the potential for technology such as social media and collaborative authoring tools to transform politics and policymaking. I’m also both excited and mildly alarmed about the very real prospect that UK Gov Camp may in fact help me with the costs of putting on an unconference-style event on how technology can support more flexible forms of collaboration between the public sector and smaller third sector organisations. While there were times in the past few weeks when I would have preferred to have been sat at home watching Pointless, I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to meet some really interesting people who have truly made me question my assumptions.
It ain’t all good (and that’s the truth)
While overall I’ve had a good few weeks, I’d be lying if I said things were all good.
Attending the events organised by Political Innovation, which have considered how new technology has the potential to support better citizen (and other stakeholder) engagement in policymaking has made it all the more disappointing to see the Health and Social Care Bill on its inexorable journey to becoming law.
As an individual I am still grappling with where the balance should lie between a government’s right to pursue its policy agenda and stakeholders’ reasonable expectations that their concerns will be listened to. Nonetheless, the apparent democratic deficit at the heart of the proposals (which were neither in the Conservative Party’s Manifesto nor the Coalition Agreement), combined with Government’s willingness to brush to one side the grave concerns raised by a wide cross-section of population, calls into question my faith in how policy is developed.
On a brighter note (oh yes), while I may be unhappy about the passing of Health and Social Care Bill and plans to scrap the 50p top rate of income tax, such developments are at least forcing me to think more deeply about the issues I care about and on what basis my beliefs sustained. With this in mind I’d like to leave with a line I’ve pinched from a Stewart Lee routine:
“I’m not interested in facts. I find they tend to cloud my judgement. I prefer to rely on instinct and blind prejudice.”
Wise words from the world of Pop
Grappling with life’s challenges? Trying to understand the big issues of today and tomorrow? Pop music has the answers.
John Lennon – Beautiful Boy
De La Soul – All Good
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Who’ll Stop The Rain?