Joined: 09 Feb 2007
|Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:05 pm Post subject: Civil Renewal - Dick Atkinson
|[ I HAVE JUST COME BACK TO PUT A RIDER OVER THIS : DICK ATKINSON IS ADVOCATING A TECHNOCRATIC SORT OF APPROACH AND OFTEN TALKS OFTEN OF THE NEED FOR AUTHORITY AND FOR WHAT IS FOR ME THE OBNOXIOUS IDEA OF THE SWEARING OF OATHS TO UPHOLD THE RULE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM ( CONTRAST HIS SENTIMENTS WITH MINE IN " THE ATTESTATION " OF " YR ARDYSTIAD " ) ... HIS CONCEPT OF AUTHORITY IS TO ME MISTAKEN : AUTHORITY CAN ONLY BE LOCATED IN JUSTICE AND THERE CAN BE NEITHER INDIVIDUAL NOR COLLECTIVE AUTHORITY EITHER IN ANY PERSONS OR COMMUNITIES - FOR EXAMPLE, GOVERNMENTS - AND SO REPUBLICANS HAVE TRADITIONALLY LOCATED ' SOVEREIGNTY ' ONLY IN THOSE LAWS WHICH ARE JUST I.E. WHICH PROTECT AND RESTORE CONSENTING RELATIONSHIPS. EACH LAW MUST BE FOUNDED UPON A DESCRIPTION OF THE TRUTH KNOWN ABOUT THE CONSENTING RELATIONSHIP IT GOVERNS AND IF IT CONTAINS A DEFECTIVE ACCOUNT OF THIS RELATIONSHIP WHICH IT APPLIES TO AND THUS LEADS TO INJUSTICE AND DISTURBS THE PEACE OF SOCIETY BY LICENCING COERCIONS WHICH DO NOT RESTORE CONSENTING RELATIONSHIPS THEN IT HAS NO AUTHORITY FOR REPUBLICANS AND IT IS OUR DUTY TO OPPOSE IT. A LAW TO MAKE PEOPLE SWEAR AN OATH OF LOYALTY TO THE STATE - OR INDEED TO ANYBODY OR FOR ANYTHING ( E.G. AS IN GIVING EVIDENCE IN A COURTROOM WHERE THE PENALTIES FOR PERJURY SHOULD SIMPLY BE MADE CLEAR AND ARE SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT ) SIGNIFIES THAT A GOVERNMENT INTENDS THAT THE LAWS THAT IT WILL BE MAKING ARE GOING TO BE UNJUST AND THEREFORE WILL LACK AUTHORITY : THE IMPOSITION OF AN OATH FORBIDS THOSE WHO GIVE IT FROM CHALLENGING THE INJUSTICE OF SUCH LAWS. THEREFORE THE DEMANDING OF OATHS IS IN ITSELF CONTRARY TO PRINCIPLES OF REPUBLICANISM AND SO IN COURT ROOMS WE EITHER REFUSE TO GIVE SUCH UNDERTAKINGS OR WE AGREE TO MAKE AFFIRMATIONS INSTEAD. ( THE ORIGINS OF THIS PRACTICE LIE IN 17C CHRISTIAN REPUBLICANS CITING VARIOUS BIBLICAL PASSAGES WHICH FORBID ANY OATH-TAKING - AND IN PARTICULAR THEY CONSIDERED THE SWEARING OF OATHS UPON THE BIBLE TO BE UTTERLY BLASPHEMOUS ! ) ... um ... sorry about this ... er ... short preamble ... ]
Alistair Burt mp talks about learning from Dick Atkinson - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntnronGjdCw
Alistair Burt making some interesting comments about Dick Atkinson and others - and claiming that David Cameron & Co are influenced ... ( I doubt it ) ...
I picked this book up in a charity shop and I found it to be an enjoyable read in the sense that I like to read books by lone individuals trying to make sense of things in a half-arsed way : I like the sense of intimacy to be got from individuals writing passionately from their own experiences, however odd this may seem for others that I am fascinated by those whose conceptions are wholly " Other " this is the very stuff of Republican politics - " Altruism " means " Other-ism." All the way through this book's odd dislocations I found myself thinking that Dick Atkinson ought to be reading a book on Republican political theory : he is in fact groping his way towards some version of it, but in all likelyhood he like many others is adverse to even picking up such a text because he has swallowed whole the propaganda that has been made against it. In short, Dr Dick Atkinson is trying to re-invent ' The Wheel of The World ' and whilst he might not find himself wanting to identify himself publicly as a Republican - because of the foolish but fierce prejudices against it by those who blindly support The United Kingdom - he would benefit from a reading of some of the proper and authentic 19c Republican material rather than merely vaguely citing an admiration for various social innovations without understanding the political philosophy upon which gave rise to such organisations. Here is some material about Dick Atkinson which I have found from a quick Google search -
CIVIL RENEWAL - Dr DICK ATKINSON - 2004 - BREWIN BOOKS REVIEW
( actually the blurb on the back of the book.)
Civil Renewal: “Mending the Hole in the Social Ozone Layer,” explains that for 40 years successive governments have initiated wave after wave of costly urban renewal schemes to try to improve the conditions which blight so many lives in up to 3,000 neighbourhoods. Yet, success has been elusive and only a very few neighbourhoods have made real progress. ‘Civil Renewal’ asks why this has been the case. It suggests that while the motives of those leading the initiatives were fine, the culture which shaped their attitude was flawed. So, they tried to redistribute wealth and felt that physical renewal projects would result in sustainable success. Thus, they failed to see that the problem lay not just in material but in social poverty and that the bonds which once tied people together in mutual support had loosened and can no longer support self-help activities. There really is a hole in the social ozone layer. Unless it is repaired renewal is not possible and even costly initiatives will fail. Thus, it shows how people-led renewal can make progress. Indeed, if residents in the few successfully renewing neighbourhoods can act as ‘consultants’ to less confident residents in failing neighbourhoods, perhaps a series of regional programmes of neighbourhood renewal can take place?
Can the powers that be move from ‘doing’ and ‘delivering’ to ‘enabling’ and ‘facilitating’ and initiate a culture changing debate so that local people come to own the process of renewal and ensure that it becomes sustainable?
“Dick Atkinson has shown that a neighbourly society can transform communities. His groundbreaking work on tackling poverty should be read by anyone seriously determined to renew many of our most deprived neighbourhoods.
He has shown that with the right leadership and determination, local people from the grassroots working together really can change their lives far better than any bureaucratic scheme from Whitehall.”
The Rt Hon Oliver Letwin, Shadow Chancellor
“Anyone who is serious about tackling deprivation should read Dick Atkinson’s book. Not only is it grounded in the author’s own experience in one of the most remarkable neighbourhood transformations in this country, it sets out well argued proposals on how civil renewal can be attained across our most disadvantaged communities.”
The Rt Hon David Blunkett
Urban Renaissance: A Strategy for Neigbourhood Renewal and the Welfare Society - Dr Dick Atkinson - a book which is presently unavailable but listed on Amazonco.uk
THIS ONLY BRIEFLY REFERS TO DICK ATKINSON, BUT REFLECTS THE SORT OF WORK WHICH HE WAS INVOLVED IN ... MAY BE STILL IS ?
... and Dr Atkinson owns to being near tears the day he and Anita were returning in a bus from a school holiday in Norfolk years ago. The children had loved walking the coast and trying to draw and paint it. So both were stunned to see them tearing up their pictures as they reached Birmingham.Asked why, they were all quick to explain. “ If we take them home,” said one girl, “ nobody will be interested or want to keep them and it’s horrible to watch your work chucked out or ripped." ..." But it’s not so hard if you get rid of it yourself …”
[ 1994 ]
BOOK REVIEW / Map readings and extra-curricular activities: 'Radical Urban Solutions' - Dick Atkinson: Cassell £12.99
" ... SCHOOLS defended by steel shutters and security doors, armed guards patrolling the corridors, and outside the school gates a social life that has almost broken down: the momentum to greater decay seems so great as to be irreversible. Here is one route down which part of Britain is already heading. But it is not the only direction in which the country might move, nor is it inevitable, says Dick Atkinson. His new book provides a map and compass for a country that has the nerve to opt for something radically different. ... Time is short. Too many young people have been voting with their feet and playing truant. A great conspiracy has existed between these pupils and the education authorities who do not want the aggro of having the pupils back in the classroom. At the same time, the job market is being transformed. Unskilled and semi-skilled men are being disenfranchised as far as work goes, with most of the new jobs going to women whose husbands are already in work. The impact of this revolution is already being felt in the poorest areas, with inactivity rates among men of 40 to 50 per cent. ...
... Now add in the Labour Party. Atkinson sees the party as part of the problem. Labour grew to maturity at a time when heavy industry underpinned Britain's wealth and employment. Now, Labour's industrial support is becoming increasingly ghettoised in the shrinking public sector. ... The irony, according to Atkinson, is that it is the Tories who have begun to turn public services over to the community. This is most clearly seen in education. Most of the reforms are now accepted, although they were bitterly resisted at the time. Remember all those dire warnings about what would happen if local management of schools was brought in ? ... These reforms are about to be extended. There is a real possibility that local education authorities will be abolished before the next election. Labour can take up its now familiar stance of defending the status quo - or it could begin thinking how it will take this initiative and present a totally remodelled education system. ... If this is going to be a serious option, then Labour's leaders need to read Atkinson's book. He describes a great educational experiment from which lessons are drawn for the whole nation. Through this experiment - clearly driven by Atkinson - he explains how public services can be effectively delivered to communities on a better value for money basis, while strengthening the local community against the state. ...
... ETC ...
... The Atkinson manifesto calls for a revolutionary community-based curriculum, a new breed of teacher and a regrouping of schools so that they form the backbone of urban villages. The community curriculum does not seem to me to be an essential part of this. What is urgently required is the building up of technical schools, which could offer perhaps up to 60 per cent of pupils a pukka education. ... But that is a secondary point. Anyone interested in seeing how politics could develop over the remainder of this decade should read this book. Britain is in dire need of two kinds of entrepreneurs. We need many more in the business field. But we must also begin to prize social entrepreneurs. The creation of jobs, and the strengthening of society's sense of cohesion, could prevent Britain following America's path. ...
... AND SO HE THOUGHT THAT THE DEMOCRATS WOULD LISTEN, AND THEY PROPPED HIM UP IN THEIR PARTIES' SHOP WINDOWS IN ORDER TO CON A FEW VOTERS - AND THEN DISCARDED HIM ...
... AND NEARLY EVERYONE WHO HAS NOW BECOME A SERIOUS SORT OF REPUBLICAN HAS HAD EXACTLY THIS SAME SORT OF EXPERIENCE ...