Click above for what became the consented plan, plus Transport page.


The Guardian: Financing the UK's future: Woe is Me

Link to web site (and below)

"Norway has amassed [a sovereign wealth fund] of $885bn (£727bn) – easily enough to cope with the cost of looking after a population of 5 million as it ages. In Britain, by contrast, the NHS is at breaking point, the social care system is struggling to cope and there is no pot of gold to pay for the healthcare and nursing fees of the baby boomer generation as it advances into old age. Norway is currently winning the sovereign wealth fund contest $885bn to nil. One hell of a beating indeed.

"The lack of a UK-wide fund speaks volumes. There is an ingrained culture of short-termism in which consumers spend more than they earn and governments can see no further than the next election. As the Wikipedia list of sovereign wealth funds shows, even the world’s poorest countries have tried to put some of the proceeds from oil and gas extraction away for a rainy day. Ghana and Gabon, for example, both have such funds.

"One result of last year's EU referendum is that it has forced people to take a long, hard look at Britain's economic model and come up with possible remedies for its weaknesses. These have been perfectly encapsulated in the six months since the Brexit vote. The economy is growing at a fair old lick, but mainly because consumers are out on a debt-fuelled spending spree.

"... John Penrose, the Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare, has a radical suggestion – do what should have been done all those years ago and launch a sovereign wealth fund. This would not be easy."

"You cannot buy happiness – not even on 'Blue Monday'"

"We're told every day by advertisers that buying stuff will make us happy. A new pair of shoes will help us to feel better after a breakup. New beauty products will give us a sense that we're 'worth it'. A bigger car will give us social status. New toys will make the children happy.

"Even loans are sold this way: one payday lender is currently running a campaign with a smiling woman, snuggling a mug of tea and feeling happy thanks to a 1,200% APR loan, an implausible scena"rio if ever there was one. So it's no wonder that on Blue Monday, the day our anxieties and misery are supposed to peak, the advertisers scream that the path out of unhappiness is paved with till receipts.

"Sometimes the harm this causes is relatively trivial: overconsumption of stuff we don’t need; a bit less money in the bank; a wardrobe that won’t close because we’re not very good at throwing away our throwaway fashion buys."

" 'It's a financial cliff edge': how Britain fell back in love with credit cards"

"For more than half a million Britons, January provides the mother of financial hangovers. The darkness of the days is compounded by the need to trawl the internet to find a new home for credit card debts swollen by the Christmas spending orgy. For some it is an annual ritual that keeps their share of a £192bn unsecured consumer credit mountain ticking over and out of sight.

"But last week, alarm bells started ringing as official figures showed consumers racking up debt at a rate not seen since the spending frenzy that preceded the 2008 financial crisis.

"... The Bank of England figures made it look like UK consumers were partying like it was 2007 as credit card borrowing reached a record £66.7bn in the year to November. The Bank said that consumer credit, which means all credit cards and car loans, had risen at its fastest rate in 11 years, up 10.8% over the last 12 months period to reach £192bn."

"Declutter your cupboard if you want, but it won't save the planet "

"Is this the year we finally get to grips with all our stuff? If so, it has been a long time coming. Forecasters and commentators say we have entered a new era where people prefer to share rather than own, and prize experiences over possessions. Retailers worry about the implications for them of a public sated on 'peak stuff'.

"Official figures suggest that Britons are consuming ever fewer resources. And witness the worldwide success of the rationalisation bible, Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising.

"It's an encouraging thesis with which to start a new year. If only it were true. The talk is of the sharing economy, but the reality is that very little is being done on a large-scale level to reduce our high-consumption lifestyles. While it might feel virtuous to Marie Kondo your wardrobe, we urgently need to address the vast amount of often unseen resources that support our modern way of life."

Barnet Press: Brent Cross Cricklewood, London Plan, Road Congestion, Trams, etc.


"A year in ourcity.london"

Link to web site

"A year ago, I started this website. After having grown up in London, I was becoming increasingly concerned about the way in which our city was being exploited.

"One particular frustration was the way in which property developers were undermining the rules designed to protect our communities and our built environment (and making absurd profits in the process), and the lack of critical investigative journalism covering this subject.

"London is a city which is bigger than many countries in Europe. But it has only one daily newspaper, the Evening Standard. That newspaper provides almost no critical analysis of one of the greatest challenges facing us, the failure of the city to house itself. Instead, every new 'exclusive' property development is celebrated in their property pages, which seem to cater exclusively for a wealthy international elite.

"With this website, my goal was to bring a critical eye to London’s housing, property and development industries. To help develop a greater understanding as to why our city is failing, and share that knowledge with you, the readers.

"Over the course of a year, the site has managed to cover a huge number of issues, from the dark arts of daylight surveyors to some of the absurd lengths a property developer will go to, to destroy a London pub and turn it into a single family dwelling."

The Observer: "The dark side of Britain’s gold rush: how corruption crept into our suburbs" (In Barnet, it was always there)

"The super rich flooded into London after 2008. Illicit wealth has followed"

Link to web site

"Stand outside a north London private school when the bell rings at the end of the day and it soon becomes apparent how much some parts of the capital have changed in only a few decades.

"Scything through the chill of a January afternoon comes the chatter of excited children. But these children are not speaking English or French or German. They talk in languages that come from far further afield.

“Thirty years ago, your average private school was solidly middle class,” said Robert Barrington, executive director of the UK chapter of Transparency International, an anti-corruption organisation. “Now a high percentage, 50% or more, will be children from overseas, countries like China and Nigeria.”

"A similar picture emerges a few miles south of the leafy streets of Hampstead and Highgate down in Harley Street. The waiting rooms of the UK’s leading fertility clinics, orthodontists and cosmetic enhancement consultancies play host to wealthy families from the Middle East and the former Soviet bloc. From private schools to private healthcare, from Mercedes dealerships to Michelin-starred restaurants, the capital has benefited from a massive influx of foreign money."


The Independent: "‘The Bank of Mum and Dad’ – a homely-sounding expression for an engine of social division"

"And so the rich get richer. It was always true that inherited wealth was one of the most powerful indicators of the future prospects of individuals cross the social classes. Now, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies' careful analysis of the trends in wealth accumulation, the old saw seems to be truer than for many decades.

"We already know, indeed, that British society is more unequal in the distribution of wealth than income that for the best part of a century: now we realise, as many have suspected, that the trend is about to become a great deal worse. It does not augur well for social cohesion, the creation of a fair society or economic efficiency. We should be worried.

"The IFS's data reveals the revolutionary, and mutually-reinforcing, effect of two major forces in British society since Margaret Thatcher became prime minister almost four decades ago. The increase in the rate of home ownership, coupled with a tripling of property values – even more in the London and the South-east – in that period has created a vast pool of wealth in a relatively small sector of society, almost by accident."

"Rising inheritances will deliver biggest benefit for those already well off"

"Younger generations are likely to inherit much more wealth than their predecessors did, both in absolute terms and relative to their other sources of wealth. But within each generation, those who are already well off tend to inherit the most – with implications for inequality and social mobility.

"Ranking current pensioners by total lifetime income (excluding inheritance), those in the top 20% have inherited four times as much as the bottom 20% on average. Among younger generations, those with higher incomes are significantly more likely to expect an inheritance than those with lower incomes.
These are among the main findings of new IFS research published today, which looks at the impact of inheritances on inequality across and within different generations.

"Inheritances are going to be more important for younger generations ...
  • Between 2002–03 and 2012–13, the wealth of elderly households (those in which all members are 80 or older) increased by 45%, mostly as a result of higher homeownership and rising house prices. 72% of these households now expect to leave an inheritance, up from 60% a decade ago, with a particularly sharp increase in the proportion expecting to leave a large inheritance.
  • Younger generations look much more likely to inherit than their predecessors. Of those born in the 1970s, 75% have received or expect to receive an inheritance, compared with 61% of those born in the 1950s and less than 40% of those born in the 1930s.
... and are likely to benefit those who are already well off the most.
  • Future inheritances are likely to be highly unequal. Even excluding the super-rich (for whom we do not have reliable data), the richest half of elderly households hold 90% of the wealth and the richest 10% hold 40% of the wealth. Hence a ‘lucky half’ of younger generations look likely to get the vast majority of inherited wealth.
  • The largest inheritances tend to go to those who are already well off. Among current pensioners, more than half of those with families well enough off to leave them more than £250,000 in inheritance have lifetime incomes (excluding inheritances) in the top 20% of the population.
  • Among younger generations, higher-income individuals are more likely to expect an inheritance. Looking at those born in the 1970s, 9 in 10 of the top-income fifth have received or expect to receive an inheritance, compared with 6 in 10 of the lowest-income fifth.
  • But both low- and high-income households in younger generations are more likely to inherit something than their predecessors. In fact, the lowest-income fifth of those born in the 1970s are more likely to have received or expect to receive an inheritance than the highest-income fifth of those born in the 1930s.
"Andrew Hood, an author of the briefing note and a Senior Research Economist at IFS, said:
“The wealth of younger generations looks set to depend more on who their parents are than was the case for older generations. Today’s elderly have much more wealth to leave to their children than their predecessors did, primarily as the result of higher homeownership rates and rising house prices. At the same time, today’s young adults will find it harder to accumulate wealth of their own than previous generations did, due to the sharp fall in homeownership for that group, the dramatic decline of defined benefit pensions in the private sector and the stagnation in their incomes.”

IFS: Newspaper Article

We inherit too much and earn too little

Date:06 January 2017
Publisher:The IFS
The first day of 2017 was marred by the death of one of Britain’s greatest economists, Sir Anthony (or Tony as he was universally known) Atkinson.

Tony had worked for decades on how to measure, and tackle, inequality. He was focused not just on inequalities in income and earnings, but also inequality in wealth. And with good reason. Wealth is vastly more unequally distributed than income. It is ownership of wealth that confers security, and often power, in a way that unreliable earnings may not. And while high-earning parents do tend to beget high-earning children, the inheritance of wealth is even more direct.

One of Tony’s important insights was that wealth matters more now than at any time since the 1930s because household wealth has been rising relative to income — from less than three times national income in the mid-1970s to more than five times national income today.

Wealth is also concentrated among the older generation. It's bound to be. You pay off your debts and your mortgage, and save for retirement as you get older. But this concentration is growing as younger generations struggle to get on the housing ladder, cannot access decent occupational pensions, and bear the brunt of a decade of earnings stagnation. At the same time, average wealth among the oldest has risen dramatically even in the past decade, not least as a result of rising house prices. Those now in their 60s and 70s will be wealthier still when they reach their 80s and 90s.

Much of that wealth will be inherited. Three quarters of those born in the 1970s expect an inheritance compared with only half of their parents. For much of the 20th century the role of inherited wealth in determining our economic wellbeing was in decline. Now it is getting more important again.

In part it is important because it is so unequally distributed. Even ignoring the super-wealthy, the poorer half of oldest households have only a quarter of the wealth of the richest tenth. And those lucky enough to inherit also tend to be those who have been helped in other ways. Higher income people — those in the top 20 per cent of lifetime income — are ten times as likely to have received an inheritance of more than £250,000 as those in the bottom half of lifetime incomes.

Different people will see those facts in different lights. Some will see an increased role for inheritance as something to be celebrated. Some will see it as a cause of deep anxiety.

The case against inheritance — and for an effective inheritance tax — has been put by philosophers for centuries. John Stuart Mill wanted to fix “a limit to what any one may acquire by the mere favour of others, without any exercise of his faculties”. If I get taxed on what I work hard to earn, how much more appropriate that I should be taxed on what I am merely gifted through the good fortune of having wealthy parents.

Yet when, in 2007, George Osborne offered to cut inheritance tax to facilitate wealth 'cascading down the generations' he was credited with a political masterstroke. Nobody much likes being taxed, but inheritance tax is specially hated. In the US “no taxation without respiration” is the rallying cry.

Two things explain this antipathy. One is the natural human desire to leave the fruits of one’s labour to one’s children. Up to a point this is always likely to trump considerations of wider social equity. A second, though, is the inadequacy of the current system. It is not hard to avoid inheritance tax if you have serious money, not least by the simple expedient of passing it on at least seven years before you die — not an option for those of us whose wealth is tied up in a home and a pension. There is also the complete absence of inheritance tax on agricultural land and on certain business assets. And that’s before you get into trusts and other such vehicles.

All of which is another way of saying the current inheritance tax doesn’t seriously try to tax transfers of wealth between the generations, certainly not for the really wealthy. That inevitably undermines support for it among the home-owning classes who are, or might be, caught in its net.

So it's really time to look again at this tax and try to close some of the most obvious loopholes. It hasn’t been seriously reviewed since it was introduced in its present form in 1986. One option, favoured by Tony Atkinson, is to move to a system of taxing receipts of gifts and inheritances. This would both tax what we presumably want to tax — the receipt of wealth — and get round the advantage enjoyed by those lucky enough to be able to pass on a lot during their life without paying tax.

There is no pretending, though, that this would be easy politically or administratively. It really is hard to tax transfers of wealth. We should do what we can to make the tax system fairer and more effective. But the real challenge must be to make inheritance matter less. That means action in the housing market — building more houses, cutting stamp duty, increasing council tax on more expensive properties. It means doing still more to promote social mobility through education and skills policy. And it means tilting policy away from supporting the relatively wealthy old towards the less wealthy young.

This article was first published by The Times and is reproduced here in full with permission.



Barnet Press: "Brent Cross bosses refuse to reveal whether Christmas sales are in decline"

Link to web site

"BOSSES at Brent Cross Shopping Centre are keeping tight-lipped about footfall figures for the traditional Boxing Day sales.

"However national figures show that numbers of visitors to shopping centres were down six per cent compared to last year, while online sales were up 11.5 per cent."


[Reposted] Gap, Zara and H&M at Brent Cross: "Bangladesh garment factories sack hundreds after pay protests"

"Dozens have been arrested amid clashes with police as impoverished workers demand a trebling of pay"

Link to The Guardian

"At least 1,500 workers have been sacked from Bangladesh garment factories after protests forced a week-long shutdown at dozens of sites supplying top European and American brands.

"Tens of thousands of workers walked out of factories this month in the manufacturing hub of Ashulia which make clothes for top western brands such as

Gap [at Brent Cross],

Zara [at Brent Cross],

and H&M [at Brent Cross]

prompting concerns over supply during the holiday season.

"The protests were sparked by the sacking of 121 workers, but soon evolved into a demand for the trebling of workers' pay from the current monthly minimum of 5,300 taka (£54).

"... The monthly minimum wage for Bangladeshi textile workers was raised in 2013 after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex which killed 1,134 people. It triggered massive protests and international scrutiny of the industry.

"But it remains one of the lowest wages in the world, less than one-fifth of what some campaigners estimate to be the country's living wage."


Jesus House at Brent Cross: The Guardian: "Pentecostal church looks to white Britons to boost congregations"

"Knowledge shall be increased”
(Daniel 12:4)
by clicking

"The 'Redeemed Christian Church of God' (RCCG), which already has almost 800 places of worship in the UK, plans to open another 100 next year, according to one of its leading pastors. 'We might not hit 100 but if we hit half that it will still be significant,' Agu Irukwu told the Guardian.

"... Irukwu, who grew up in Lagos, leads the biggest RCCG church, Jesus House in Brent Cross, north London, which regularly attracts more than 2,000 people to its Sunday services. He said:
"We believe this nation paid a big price in bringing the gospel to far-flung parts of the world. Many had given their lives to their cause and to establish missionary schools and hospitals.

I see myself as fruit of the missionary effort and missionary sacrifice. People like me feel we owe these missionaries – and by extrapolation, their country – for a lot that has happened to us.

... I feel a church has to be open, has to reach out to all the groups wherever that church is – exactly what the missionaries did. London, especially, is a multicultural melting pot, and if a church is in London it should aim to look like London."


Daily Telegraph: "Humanoid robot joins shopping centre staff" (after being just the planner of Brent Cross expansion)

"Meet Pepper - a friendly humanoid robot that could be coming to a shopping centre near you.

"Pepper looks like another expensive toy in the San Francisco mall where it delights crowds as it dances, plays games, poses for selfies and chats in a child-like voice.

The Guardian: "With Trump and Uber, the driverless future could turn into a nightmare"

Link to web site

"Undoubtedly, the prospect of a driverless future is replete with liberating, almost utopian elements. If towns and cities steadily go driverless and car ownership drops, parking will become progressively less of an urban issue, and a whole mess of issues around the shortage of space could be transformed.

"Moreover, plenty of lives will be transformed by driverless travel. Many autistic people find driving impossibly taxing. Older people, people with physical disabilities and thousands of others for whom driving has never had any appeal will see autonomous transport as a gift. Viewed from another perspective, if the driverless vehicle means the end of the age of petrolheads and Jeremy Clarkson, why worry?

"The answer lies in some pretty obvious fears. If unprecedentedly cheap taxi rides become the norm, what will be the fate of buses and trains? Won't all those fleets of cars cause unbelievable congestion? Are we ready for the loud, arrogant demands for the rebuilding of urban space that will come from Uber, Lyft, Tesla, Waymo (Google's new offshoot) and all the other driverless giants?

"And what if the driverless ride is the means not to some great feat of collective emancipation, but individualism taken to the nth degree – the same dystopian isolation captured in Iggy Pop's hymn to self-possessed detachment The Passenger ('I am a passenger/I stay under glass')? As evidenced by such movies as Total Recall and Minority Report, the driverless ride has long been central to plenty of visions of dystopia. There may well be a very good reason for that."

BBC: "Brexit and population increase 'to change UK radically' by 2030"

Link to web site

"Life in the UK will undergo 'radical' change in the 2020s due to Brexit, population changes and jobs being taken by robots, a think tank has predicted.

"The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said there would be a Brexit 'aftershock' and that the UK's exit from the EU would be 'the firing gun on a decade of disruption'.

"... The IPPR also said two-thirds of current jobs - 15 million - were at risk from 'exponential' improvements in new technologies such as artificial intelligence systems.

" 'Politics, economics and power structures will be profoundly disrupted, and with it social relations,' it said.

BBC: "The rise of the robots?"

Link to web site

"The rise of the robots could be next year's big story. Ever since the Luddites smashed their first loom, mechanisation has been putting people out of work. But the process is speeding up, accelerating all the time and the next wave could be crashing down, near you, soon.

"A variety of new technologies, at their heart, advanced robotics and better, faster, brighter computers. Most agree that it is not yet the 'general intelligence' which might lead to the (so far fictional ) ethical conundrum about machine consciousness.
But increasingly complex machines are now doing more and more jobs which used to require human brains, as well as still replacing brawn power, a subject which we have covered a number of times on The World This Weekend.

"3D printers eliminate jobs in both manufacturing and transportation. Driverless cars are around the corner, driverless lorries just behind the next bend. Scary when you consider the claim that "truck driver" is the most common job in many US states.

"Indeed, researchers say nearly half of all current jobs in the USA will be automated by 2033. Typists and clerks went long ago. Next may be highly-educated people who work in marketing and medicine, law and, yes, journalism."


Daily Telegraph: "Shopping centres see 'severe' decline in Boxing day shoppers"

Shopping centres see "severe" decline in Boxing day shoppers
David Atkins, chief executive at Hammerson PLC, which owns shopping centres in Brent Cross in North London, and Bullring in Birmingham, said: ...

... which is a web page, identified by Google, that has been pulled from the Daily Telegraph without explanation:

Sorry - Page not found

The story is also in The Guardian:

Link to web site

"Brexit worries and online stores hit shopping centre sales"
"Retailers are facing a tough close to the festive season, amid signs that shoppers have ditched the traditional post-Christmas sales trip due to Brexit worries and the growing popularity of online stores.

"Shopping centres had a particularly disappointing Boxing Day, suffering a 19.9% year-on-year drop in footfall – a measure of shopper numbers. High streets saw footfall decline 2.2% compared with 2015, and for out of town retail parks footfall was down 4.2%, despite earlier optimism, according to retail analysts Springboard.

"That left footfall across UK shops down by 7.3% on Boxing Day, one of the most important dates in the retail calendar. Springboard, which uses electronic sensors to count shopper numbers, predicts that for the rest of this week to 31 December, footfall will be down 2.3% on the same period last year."


"These Men Looked Miserable During 'Boxing Day Shopping Hell'"


[Reposted] Regeneration Manager - Brent Cross (This role has had more regenerations than Doctor Who)

Posted by Capita

London, South East England
Permanent, full-time

Salary negotiable
0 applications [we're saying nothing]

Regeneration Manager - Brent Cross

About the role
Capita Re is looking for a Regeneration Manager to join our team based in London, working on one of the most exciting regeneration schemes in Europe. The Brent Cross Cricklewood Regeneration will deliver a new quarter for London and provide a range of new life to the Barnet region, including the key new Thameslink train station and enhanced bus station to connect this development to the rest of London. This is an exciting role and a great step up for a Regeneration officer or Development Manager who would like to work in a large PMO.

This role will see you work closely with the Council and Regeneration Partners to develop and deliver the BXC Programme, exploring and taking the lead on technically assessing options as required, to maintain momentum on delivery and realise wider regeneration objectives and outcomes.

As the Regeneration Manager, you will manage the working relationships with stakeholders/partners and residents to provide high quality support to achieve the agreed outcomes and objectives.
About Capita Re  [No, really]
Re, Regional Enterprise Limited, is a joint venture between the London Borough of Barnet and Capita. Re runs the Council's development and regulatory services including strategic planning, development management and regeneration services and will deliver growth in the Borough and develop a new and exciting consultancy business, which will supplement the core activities. Re aim to build better services, provide value for money, support the local economy and make Barnet an even better place to live and work.
What you will do:
  • Assist on driving the delivery of Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration programme. This will include working on land assembly, legal agreements, planning, masterplanning, stakeholder management, community consultation and project management and reporting.
  • Utilise high level and a broad range of technical skills to review and assess options for maintaining momentum on regeneration delivery and influence the shape and direction of individual schemes. Act to provide added value through constructive challenge to project scope and set up, potentially conflicting with clients and stakeholders.
  • Proactively develop and manage relationships with partners and other service areas so as to ensure that the Regeneration Service retains both a positive and professional role in the delivery of the regeneration schemes and wider regeneration benefits within a culture that values residents, equality and diversity.
  • Offer high level, timely and accurate specialist/expert policy advice, research and project development support to all stakeholders.
  • With an outcome focused approach, encourage and apply creative and flexible approaches in implementing programmes through the partnership structures, in response to changing circumstances.
  • Apply a proactive approach to unblocking problems and barriers, cutting through unnecessary bureaucracy in delivering solutions that keep the project on track.
  • Complete each project in accordance with the organisation's quality and professional standards, processes, policies and procedures and within regulatory frameworks and financial approved limits.
  • Work effectively with project team members including consultants and project support staff, managing the fluctuating size of the project team over the course of the project.
  • Apply a rigorous financial management and business planning approach to project management ensuring strict cost/time management against budgets.
  • Maintain robust audit trails in line with best practice and Re/Council systems and procedures.
Your experience will include:
  • Regeneration, Housing or Property related qualification desirable (RICS or equivalent)
  • Degree level or equivalent professional qualification in related area
  • An excellent working knowledge of a broad range of relevant professional/technical skills, i.e. town planning, housing, development finance, construction, procurement etc., to support the successful management of a complex regeneration project.
  • Understanding of the scope and content of current legislation and regulations which affect and impact on the regeneration projects.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the role of partnerships, the private sector and the external market and the processes to harness resources and deliver completed regeneration projects.
  • Knowledge and experience of establishing and managing commercial/contractual arrangements for complex regeneration programmes including Partnership Models, Development Agreements, S106 and S278 Agreements
  • Sound knowledge and experience of project and programme methodologies such as Prince 2 or Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) a record of achievement in applying the principles of effective project and programme management
  • Experience of and a track record of achievement in effectively managing all aspects of complex regeneration schemes.
What's in it for you?
At Capita, training and development aren't optional extras: they're how we do our job. We will motivate you to perform at your peak, recognising your achievements and rewarding them appropriately. As well as a generous basic salary we also give you 23 day's [sic!] holiday, company pension scheme and access to voluntary benefit options including; child care vouchers, share save scheme, life assurance, holiday buy and many more designed to suit your own personal lifestyle. All of this, in a professional but fun environment.
What we hope you will do next
Help us find out more about you by completing our short application process.
Capita operates as an equal opportunities employer and we welcome all applications regardless of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality, religion or beliefs, disability, age, political opinions or trade union membership.

Capita Resourcing is a trading name of Capita Resourcing Ltd. Services offered are those of an Employment Agency and Employment Business, and you really are meant to keep a straight face when reading the advert above. [They didn't say that.]

Late News:

"Sorry, the job you're looking for is no longer being advertised. However, you can still search for similar jobs."

Late, Late News:

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.
Reed advertised the wretched poisoned chalice again yesterday.


Touchstone (TUC): "The Econocracy: the stunning new book from Rethinking Economics"

ISBN: 9781526110138
Format: Paperback
Publication date: 31 Oct 2016

Link to web site

"The 'Rethinking Economics' student movement has been one of the few highlights of the dismal years since the financial crisis. In their new book The Econocracy: The perils of leaving economics to the experts, three of their number – Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins – set out in full their case for the reform of academic economics and society’s relation with economics more generally.

"The book is stunning in so many ways: the excellent and accessible writing, with sometimes a wonderful turn of phrase and wry understatement [including]:
"Illustrating the difficulty of getting an unqualified apology from economists, the response to the Queen by Tim Besley and Peter Hennessy concluded that the crisis had been 'a failure of the collective imagination of many bright people [by which they meant themselves] … to understand the risks to the system as a whole'."
"An economics degree amounts to indoctrination in a single abstract theory of a world that does not exist. Students are not even made aware that there are some economists who hold different views. So Rethinking Economics (then Post-Crash Economics) had to search them out for themselves, and found not only alternative theories, but alternatives that seemed better able to explain the world – not least since the financial crisis.

"They call for an economics education where students are confronted with different points of view and are trained to develop skills to be able to choose between them. In the meantime economics graduates are ill-equipped for their work as professional economists, and this at the precise moment when economics has never been more important in the affairs of the world."

Link to Manchester University Press

Further reviews:
"If war is too important to be left to the generals, so is the economy too important to be left to narrowly trained economists. Yet, as this book shows, such economists are precisely what we are getting from our leading universities.

"Given the role economists play in our society, we need them to be much more than adepts in manipulating equations based on unrealistic assumptions. This book demonstrates just why that matters and offers thought-provoking ideas on how to go about it."

 - Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times

"A rousing wake-up call to the economics profession to re-think its mission in society, from a collective of dissident graduate students. Their double argument is that the 'econocracy' of economists and economic institutions which has taken charge of our future is not fit for purpose, and, in any case, it contradicts the idea of democratic control.

"So the problem has to be tackled at both ends: creating a different kind of economics, and restoring the accountability of the experts to the citizens. The huge nature of the challenge does not daunt this enterprising group, whose technically assured, well-argued, and informative book must be read as a manifesto of what they hope will grow into a new social reform movement."

 - Lord Robert Skidelsky, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University and Fellow of the British Academy in History and Economics

Link to web site

"The End of Alchemy" by Mervyn King - a former Bank of England governor on the City's hubris and greed: 'The Guardian' review

"Former governors of the Bank of England do not, with the odd 19th-century exception, write books – least of all books like The End of Alchemy, whose bibliography starts with Dean Acheson, the US secretary of state under Truman, and finishes with Stefan Zweig, taking in Thomas Carlyle, Friedrich Hayek and Arthur Waley on the way.

"But then, Mervyn King was never a governor out of central casting. He grew up in the West Midlands; he is not privately educated; his devotion to Aston Villa runs longer, deeper and more constant than the prime minister's; and for many years, before joining the bank in 1991, he was an academic economist. He also has a hinterland, quoting at the outset two of TS Eliot’s most haunting lines: 'Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?/ Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?' – lines that any education minister should have pinned up on their office wall.

"...The financial crisis of 2007-8, centred on the US and the UK, was probably the worst – amid fairly stiff competition – that the industrialised world had seen over the past two centuries; and its immediate consequence was a serious recession, followed by the era of weak and spasmodic economic growth in which we still find ourselves. Why did it happen?"

24housing: "HCA appoints new chief executive" (unfortunately it's the ex-chief executive of Barnet Council)

"The Homes and Communities Agency has appointed a new chief executive.

"Nick joins the agency with years of experience of providing strong leadership and delivering housing and regeneration schemes. He has been chief executive of Haringey Council for the past four years, having previously been chief executive of Barnet Council.

"Nick led a major transformation of Haringey Council, restructuring the authority, streamlining management arrangements and stabilising high-risk services."

Link to web site

2012: The Guardian: "'easy-Council' chief executive quits to lead Labour-controlled Haringey"

"The council chief executive responsible for implementing the Conservatives' radical 'easyCouncil' vision of privatised local authority services has quit to lead a Labour-led borough.

"Nick Walkley, boss of the London borough of Barnet, announced his resignation on Thursday night, plunging into doubt the leadership of the Conservative-controlled council's programme of selling off services including cemeteries, transport, planning and environmental health.

"Contracts worth an estimated £1bn are in the process of being let to the private sector and decisions were due to be made in the coming months, with British Telecom, Capita and EC Harris among the companies in the running to take over. Walkley was also understood to be in the process of re-organising the council management structure to remove layers that would become redundant."


Claim from the Capita-Barnet-TavistockCommunications-Hammerson-StandardLife-Argent-Related consortium: Brent Cross is not a car-based development

Reputation Management
"A good reputation is your most valuable commodity and needs nurturing and protecting.  It can be lost very quickly, and can be very hard to regain.  There will of course be times when events move beyond one's control. It is not so much what happens, but how you are seen to react to it, that is important.

"In many ways, a good reputation can be retained - and even enhanced - by explaining clearly, succinctly and swiftly what has happened and what is being done to rectify the situation. We regularly advise companies and individuals on how best to turn a potential crisis into an exercise in good reputation management. A combination of rigorous preparation, instinctive flair and the ability to make the right decisions under pressure leads to the best results, and we pride ourselves on helping our clients to achieve just that.

"We also advise individuals including ultra high net worth, high profile and individual Board directors. This can be on specific communications projects or on issues management across the reputational landscape. [Ah, the reputational landscape. Who wrote this rubbish?]

"Discretion and trust are critical commodities in this process and they must, and do, flow both ways."

What Tavistock Communications does
"We help our clients to articulate messages and open dialogues with their stakeholders, building relationships and strengthening reputations.

"We create, plan and deliver carefully targeted communications campaigns to support our clients’ objectives. We have the capability and experience to handle a client’s everyday needs as well as advising on specific projects, such as raising capital, acquiring a competitor, expanding geographically or launching a product."
Corporate Transactions
"We have advised our clients through transactions worth hundreds of billions of pounds. We have helped clients through turnaround campaigns, high profile insolvencies, regulatory investigations, public enquiries and litigation. Our extensive experience includes working on the largest hostile bid and eventual takeover in global corporate history.

"In all of these situations, we act as our clients’ conduit to the media, to investors, to regulators and to governments. We safeguard their brands and make sure their voice is heard, loudly and clearly, with their target audiences." [Not going so well, then, is it?]