Month: July 2020

Planning reforms – inspired or ill-conceived?

On Tuesday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced changes to planning laws intended to make it easier to build homes and repurpose commercial property. Controversial new rules will mean full planning applications are not required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes. This means that shops, for example, will be able to be quickly repurposed …

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Digital disinformation, cyber-warfare, and a new Cold War?

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament’s report on Russia was published today. It will dominate headlines for a news cycle or two, adding another layer of mistrust between the UK (and the wider Western World) and President Putin and his comrades. The opening sentences tell a powerful story. “The dissolution of the USSR was …

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A frisbee into the long grass or a boomerang that will hit later?

I’m sticking with the theme of obesity, or population health resilience, as it continues to linger in the background of discussions about how to get out of lockdown safely, how to prevent future public health crises and the shape of that rapidly ageing term ‘the new normal’.  I experienced a new sort of normal the …

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Crafting stories, changing narratives, shaping reality

I’ve always worried about talking to stakeholders about the power of storytelling. I fear it sounds juvenile, childish, even infantile. What springs to mind when you hear the word? Telling stories at bedtime to your son or daughter (or nephew, niece, godson or goddaughter)? Perhaps that’s why we sometimes call it ‘brand narrative’. It’s way …

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Islands in the stream “Beware of Gods, Communists and beautiful women,” said the Chancellor

He was adored. Winchester College and Oxford University beckoned and with calm ease, he drifted through both. Even a Stanford MBA he grasped with the settled relaxation of a man whose destiny had been written by his God; Brahma. His insouciance was what surprised those who met him. Not only was he bright but his …

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Boris Johnson’s changed appetite in the fight against obesity

I wrote recently about what governments, particularly the UK government, might do next in the fight against Covid-19. I pointed out that in the absence of a vaccine or treatment, attention would turn to measures to make the population more resilient. I didn’t expect I would have to come back to this subject quite so …

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June quiz of the month

Every month in 2020 seems packed with events, incidents and odd occurrences. June was no exception. Some months, our quiz is super-hard – others, not so much. Perhaps this one strikes the balance? You can be the judge of that. Click below, good luck, and please share. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZFWZS8D  

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