Lesson for Living – Don’t oversimplify the complex or overcomplicate the simple

We live in a world of soundbites and dumbed-down media messages. Having so many people competing for our attention and trying to capture that attention in a short time is bound to lead to an oversimplification of complex issues much of the time. Add to this the fact that there are so many people trying to earn a living by coming up with simple solutions to complex problems and a strong picture of oversimplification starts to emerge.

Click on the link below to read more.


Does inequality undermine democracy?

It is generally known that greater democracy is conducive to greater equality but the mechanisms whereby inequality undermines democracy are perhaps less well understood. It is therefore welcome that the IPPR think-tank has produced a report … that sheds some much-needed light on this area. It defines political inequality as a situation where certain individuals or groups have greater influence over political decision-making and benefit from unequal outcomes through those decisions, despite procedural equality in the democratic process. The report finds that political inequality is intimately bound up with socio-economic inequalities and observes that as material inequalities have widened in the past three decades so has political inequality.

Click on the link below to read more.


A critique of the sanctions regime

A new report … from the Work and Pensions Select Committee lays out the case for conducting a full review of sanctions in the UK’s benefit system. It highlights the fact that “there is currently no evidence” on whether a sanction will increase or decrease the likelihood of a person engaging with employment support or actually finding a job. At the same time numerous recent reports have highlighted the arbitrary cruelty created by the sanctions regime. Cases include a person being sanctioned for attending the funeral of their best friend, another person being sanctioned for being taken to hospital with a suspected heart attack, one person being sanctioned for attending a job interview instead of going to the jobcentre and many others.

Click on the link below to read more.


‘Beach body ready’ or ‘Each body’s ready’?

A protein supplement company has come under fire for its “beach body ready” ad campaign featuring a bikini-clad model. Performer and body image campaigner Juliette Burton is one of those who took issue with it. When she tweeted the company, she was surprised and hurt by the response.

‘The past few days have been the ‘maddest’ I’ve had in a long time. And I use that word extremely carefully. I know madness. A petition to remove the ads has now gained tens of thousands of signatures online – including mine.’

Click on the link below to read more.


Introducing … Lessons for Living

For over two years now I have been producing the Tip of the Week and I have been pleased with all the positive feedback I have received about the tips during that time. As we now move to our new fortnightly format Tip of the Week will be replaced with Lessons for Living. The focus will remain on effectiveness in working with people and their problems and the ideas will continue to be informed by my experience of over 37 years of helping people in positive, empowering ways. The first Lesson for Living will appear in the next issue.

Best wishes,

Neil Thompson

Age discrimination is still seen as okay in the workplace

Every fortnight or so, 58-year-old James Clark hosts a ‘tea and teach’ session at Barclays’ high-street branch in Ealing Broadway, west London. Clark, a community banker with the retail bank, takes customers through the basics of everything from online banking to email.

The free classes are open to all and, while some young people do attend, most are elderly. The same is true of those who turn to Clark for advice on how the branch’s new electronic service counters operate.

Click on the link below to read more.


Valuing diversity: Learning about our history

Who gets included in the story? Runnymede’s History Lessons project asks this question and looks at the importance of presenting diverse stories when teaching history.

You can download both a Runnymede Perspectives Paper, which lays out the research, argument and policy recommendations related to teaching history, as well as a comprehensive resource for teachers who are keen to include diversity in their history lessons

Click on the link below to read more.