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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 13 February 2012 - 12:45pm

There is something deeply worrying about the situation in Greece. Is the EU moving in a profoundly undemocratic direction. We should all feel uncomfortable at a democratically elected government being ordered around by undemocratic institutions to protect a currency! There was even a debate on Today with someone suggesting that the government may need to be removed. We have already seen one country ditch its elected government in favour of "technocrats" , whatever they are. Just because they had a clown as a PM there has been less fuss but the point is the same.

Whilst we rightly argue about the bonus culture in the city , the bigger problem is the way in which the EU is moving to put the protection of the single currency above the rights of the people of Greece.

There has been much criticism of Cameron and his stance on women in the boardroom following his Scandinavian visit. I don't share it. It was a welcome intervention. It drew attention to the progress made in ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 11 February 2012 - 11:00am

Rupert Evenett , former investment banker and recent Chair of BTCV is also a colleague on the Board of the Social Investment Business. He has recently written an article on the role of social finance for a european journal. I thought it was worth reproducing here.

" Across Europe thousands of social entrepreneurs are combining social values and motivations with business acumen. They are using enterprise as a sustainable platform for effective social intervention. They are active often in large and growing areas where private enterprise can lack the appropriate values fit, for example in community health care and social care or in skills and training for the young. They are innovative and create a public good for the often most vulnerable fellow citizens that they help. And by avoiding the need for subsequent (bigger, more expensive, less effective...) critical and institutionalised action by the state they save money for the public finances – precisely through improving the ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 10 February 2012 - 5:15pm

Today with Phil Collins, the Deputy Editor of The Times. Always a fun thing to do and not just because we were in a splendid Italian restaurant Quirinale in Westminster. Phil is a great wordsmith and brilliant purveyor of anecdote and debunker of political posturing.

As it happens he had a trenchant Op Ed in the Times this morning, " the guardian angels of the NHS are killing it". A useful reminder that some organisations so loudly supporting the NHS were once violently opposed to it. I talk, of course of the BMA who voted by 86 % against the creation of the NHS in 1945. As Phil writes,

" Its worth noting that the NHS is full to bursting with business people already. They work for themselves and buy and sell their practices on the open market. We know them as GPs ".

The saddest aspect of the current row about the Bill is how it distracts from the real challenges the NHS faces. These are;

#How do we extend real choice to citizens and patients? ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 9 February 2012 - 11:37am

One of the best conferences on the circuit is the Guardian's public services one held traditionally in February. This years event sounded great. They had asked me to speak but I had already booked my holiday in Cyprus. Shame!

But that great journalist Patrick Butler has done a illuminating story on it. I was struck by the contribution of The Bishop of London , my friend Richard Chartes. Let me repeat his contribution as reported by Patrick,

" The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, called for the intangible values of public service to be restored in the face of "a society of strangers and a low-trust world". The political obsession with "targets and figures" had impaired public services' capacity for "connected wisdom," he said. Markets that distorted the outcomes of public services should be judged "innapropriate on moral grounds," he added. At the heart of reform, he suggested, has to be the reconception of public services as the sign of a humane society ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 8 February 2012 - 6:34pm

An interesting day to be going to the hospital for a checkup, with all the news about the Health Bill.

There is a brilliant analysis of the problems of health and social care in the Times by Alan Milburn. As he says the NHS is

" being hit by a toxic combination of dramatically changing health needs and rapidly dwindling resources...we need a new wave of reform to replace the existing model of how we deliver care ....based in the community , not obsessed with the hospital; focused on prevention rather than treatment and it should put power into the hands of the patients rather than providers. "
He goes on to point to how we tackle long term conditions. It was the issue I highlighted in my report on choice and competition for the Government. As he says diabetes. Among adults is expected to rise by 50% worldwide in the next 25 years.
" What differentiates such diseases from other forms of illness is that they become a permanent a permanent fixture of people's ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 7 February 2012 - 6:05pm

Manchester. Snow gone and its relatively warm up north! A great meeting with members as part of our ACEVO silver jubilee and then the launch of our youth unemployment commission report.

Sometimes it's good to be reminded just how brilliant and dynamic our sector can be! I had a visit and meeting today with the Director of of 42nd St, a youth project in manchester led by the excellent Vera Martins. I like Vera; she is a star.

And of course it was good to see them following our Commission's report ( shame much coverage was swallowed up in the soap opera of fratricidal rivalry - why do we have a media more obsessed with ephemera than the tragedy unfolding on youth? )

42nd St have been here 30years. Originally the vision of a youth worker and local councillor set the project up to work with young people( 13-25 ) with stress , isolation and mental illness by working in schools and one to one with youth.

Their approach is that the young people should be in ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 6 February 2012 - 11:00am

Today we launch our ACEVO commission on youth unemployment report in both London and Manchester . Chaired by David Miliband MP it will attract much attention. And so it should. The scandal of youth unemployment will scar a generation if action is not taken.

It is worth reading this impressive report. See it here. It looks to action from government , from business and from our own sector.

The Commission we set up has built on the evidence of hundreds of submissions from our members and others who contributed to this work. It was very clear from the ACEVO members who have been involved how serious they see this problem. Many of them remember the damage of mass youth unemployment in the 80 s and are calling for those lessons to be learnt. And though chaired by David Miliband it has cross party support. Baroness ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 6 February 2012 - 9:17am

I'm not sure it was an entirely sensible decision to listen to the Today programme as I sat on my cypriot hotel balcony with my coffee. The sun was  shining, the sea lapping invitingly beneath me  ( the news of impending snow in London added to the enjoyment) but my blood pressure must have shot up as I listened to the exchange between Angela Knight and Polly Tonybee on top pay.

This was prompted by the Times front page story that top bankers from around the world have accused politicians here of " pandering to public opinion". Politicians listening to the people! The very idea! In the world in which such people live I suspect the dreary business of democracy must seem a distraction. How much this sums up the problem . The arrogant sense of entitlement and the outrage in banking when they are challenged to behave responsibly is the real problem.  And I wonder how many of these self same people, expressing such contempt for the democratic process , sign their names off on ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 5 February 2012 - 9:55am

I'm not sure it was an entirely sensible decision to listen to the Today programme as I sat on my cypriot hotel balcony with my coffee. The sun was  shining, the sea lapping invitingly beneath me  ( the news of impending snow in London added to the enjoyment) but my blood pressure must have shot up as I listened to the exchange between Angela Knight and Polly Tonybee on top pay. This was prompted by the Times front page story that top bankers from around the world have accused politicians here of " pandering to public opinion". Politicians listening to the people! The very idea! In the world in which such people live I suspect the dreary business of democracy must seem a distraction. How much this sums up the problem . The arrogant sense of entitlement and the outrage in banking when they are challenged to behave responsibly is the real problem.  And I wonder how many of these self same people, expressing such contempt for the democratic process , sign their names off on the ...more

Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 3 February 2012 - 10:34pm

That's the rather strong aromatic cypriot coffee ( not unlike turkish coffee but I mustn't say that here ). Taking a cup whilst sitting by the sea just under the cliffs where the ancient Greek amphitheatre still lies. And an excellent freshly caught sea bream seemed like the perfect lunch. It is sunny here today- though it has been cold. What a contrast to much of Europe and the UK.

But there are others who need to wake up and smell the coffee. Ed Miliband is right to warn business today of the dangers of failing to get the message on top pay.

The lack of leadership from the umbrella bodies representing top business and banking has been lamentable. Angela knight of the British Bankers Association, , as always ready to defend the indefensible , trumpets that Hester's bonus is essential as it is just " the going rate". Exactly Angela, that is why we need legislation so that the going rate can be brought in line with what is decent and proper for rewards for ...more