April 28, 2013

Re-Imagining the Size and Function of the State

This blog was written after the Newsnight episode broadcast on Friday 7 December 2012 and presented by Emily Maitlis which featured a debate on the size of the state which included author of the Black Swan, Nassim Taleb.

These are fiscally challenging times. Public debt is on such a scale that it’s not just a short term challenge but a multi-generational one. And so with our public finances out of control is there a case to rethink and even reconstruct the purpose, role, size and function of our state? To reconsider what we need from Whitehall and what state provisions we can reasonably do without.

April 25, 2013

Barack Obama - A Natural British Conservative?

I recently contributed a blog for the popular American blog The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. I tackled an issue that had been bugging me for some time: the idea that the President of the United States, Barack Obama is very much like a British conservative.

So I put something together and up it went onto the League. Hindsight has told me that I rushed my analysis. It's actually a matter that deserves some serious thought but sustained thought over a period of time.

I hope to come back to issue and really unpack some of the policy detail, similarities and discrepancies.

In the meantime read on to see what I had to say on the League. Or you can also see the original by clicking here.

Cartoon by Morten Morland of the Times.

April 23, 2013

Digital Human: Do You Participate in the New Digital World?

The birth of the internet has heralded a new Age: the Age of Digitalism. An Age that has seen the wondrous and insatiable creep of digital. In less that a decade digital has woven itself into every aspect of our daily lives. This Digital Age has also ushered in a new and exciting world for all of humankind to explore – a limitless plain of untouched Digital Land for man and woman to colonise and stake claim to.
Think about it: like the frontiersmen who forged into the uncharted plains of North America, men and women all around the world are pulling back layers of untouched Digital Land.
And you too can be part of this exciting Digital World. You too can stake claim to a patch of rich land for not even a penny piece. You can cultivate your Digital land with your thoughts, opinions, pictures, videos, skills, ingenuity and enterprise. For those with restless ambition the possibilities of this new Digital World are limitless. You can achieve whatever you so wish; it’s just up to you to decide what you want to make of it.
But there are those among us who choose to reject this New World. There are those who choose not to stake their claim to the virgin land. There are also those who have staked a claim – they may have a website, social media account or blog – but they do not till their Digital Land. They choose to leave it barren. And for their inaction the digitally idle will lose out on all benefits that the Digital World holds.
We are living in a restless world where the infrastructure, both real world and digital, is changing before our very eyes. Participate and you could reap limitless personal and professional success. Ignore it and you could be left behind.
[This blog was inspired by Radio 4's Digital Human Series and was originally published on my business blog, Twitter for Law Firms in November 2012]

April 19, 2013

Thatcher, Blair, Labour's Clause 4 Moment and why Miliband is Wrong

Image by Morten Morland.
What spoof and delusion we heard from Ed Miliband on the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. He said:
“The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did.”
Tony Blair, the last elected labour Prime Minister was the Iron Ladies’ chief ideological heir. His ‘Clause Four Moment’ changed Labour from a party that championed unions, the lower classes and socialist thinking into a party that wanted to work with the ambitious middles classes and a party that wanted to foster a liberal, outward looking economy.

April 15, 2013

Speaking to Belfast Metropolitan College Students

On Monday 15th April I was invited to speak at Belfast’s new E3 College in the north of the capital city. Housed in a state of the art building the college teaches young people under a new philosophy: employer-led project learning.

Speaking - Belfast Metropolitan College


On Monday 15th April I was invited to speak at Belfast's new E3 College in the north of the capital city. Housed in a state of the art building the college teaches young people under a new philosophy: employer-led project learning. A style of teaching which blends theoretical with on-the-job practical learning. I spoke alongside the super succesful Belfast native, Aaron Taylor who clocks up 1000s of air miles every year and who can be found anywhere in the world from New York to New Delhi. His success has come from his gaming company Goprezzo, formerly known as Gogamingo. You can read the latest news about Aaron, his company and his adventures here. You can see a selection of photos from the speaking event below: In this image I'm talking to the gaming students about working with Michael Deane and how I have publicised my work through social media.

April 13, 2013

How To Add Social Media Icons to your Website

Have you ever asked: how do I add social media icons to my blog or website?

Well I had.

I know that it's not easy but there's one place to go that is free, easy and accessible. It's called AddThis which runs under the watchphrase, 'Supercharge Your Site'. You can access AddThis here.

Please let me know how you get on.

You can also get access to some great tips from a blog post entitled, 'Idiots Guide to Adding Social Media Icons to Blogger'. You can get html/java code for hanging ribbon social media icons here.

April 12, 2013

Being an Artist naturally means that we stand on the shoulders of giants

Believe it or not, but every artist, writer and creative agent in this world stands on the shoulders of those who have come before. All those who create new art and literature are in fact furthering and building on the legacy of those who have preceded them.
And this cartoon illustrates this; something which I find of huge importance and huge scope. But which I also feel goes unnoticed.

April 11, 2013

Charting the Artist's Journey

I’ve been making political cartoons and producing general illustrations for around 3 years. The drawing process is forever challenging. But for all the difficulties, there is one stand out lesson that I’ve learnt: you cannot be consumed by the difficulty of the moment – you need to stand back and look at the process from a distance and see art and drawing as a journey.

I took a lot of comfort and reassurance when I compared the two pieces I had done in the image above of Northern Ireland Justice Minister and leader of the Alliance Party, David Ford. The cartoon on the left was done in April 2012, while the one on the right was produced in October 2012.

April 07, 2013

Shane Smith and Vice Magazine - the Secret to New Media Success?

The Western world of today is undergoing a massive inter-generational shift. A painful and disruptive dislocation which is changing  the world as we know it.
As Shane Smith of Vice Magazine put it here (20 mins): we’re seeing a “changing of the guard”. And as Shane added: Generation Y  have become the biggest consuming cohort and it is they who hold the levers in business and politics.
This has massive implications.

April 06, 2013

My Feature in the Belfast Telegraph

I was recently featured in the Belfast Telegraph after my time on an entrepreneurship programme run by the Belfast Metropolitan College came to an end.
The 5 month entrepreneurship course, called the Fresh Creativity Programme was the flagship initiative of the Belfast college run at the innovative e3 building in north Belfast. It included one week of intensive learning at the new e3 campus followed by 5 months of expert mentoring.

April 04, 2013

Politics and the English Language: Orwell's 6 Rules to Good Writing

This is an unfortunate state of affairs. My love for writing is halted by my finding of writing difficult. These are equal and opposing predispositions and they come together and wrap me up in the bondage of maddening procrastination.
It’s like a rational irrationality. It comes so easy, yet it causes such pain. News that Nobel-winning economist George Akelof procrastinates provided some comfort. But it’s still hard to deal with nonetheless.

April 02, 2013

Thoughts on Public Speaking with Dale Carnegie

We always hear that children need to be fluent in reading, writing and arithmetic. However there’s something missing in this recipe to social success.
In order to succeed children must be taught the fundamentals of public speaking and effective communication.
As I looked back and evaluated my own college training, I saw that the training and experience I had had in public speaking had been of more practical value to me in business — and in life — than everything else I had studied in college all put together. Why? Because it had wiped out my timidity and lack of self-confidence and given me the courage and assurance to deal with people. It had also made clear that leadership usually gravitates to the man who can get up and say what he thinks.
These are the words of Dale Carnegie, words which have been formulated and structured in a way which express better the argument than I could ever wish to argue that children MUST be taught public speaking.
The video above is a recording of Dale Carnegie’s famous work ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.’ Dale Carnegie was an American  writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.
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