Leadership failure

Why the military must(n’t) invade our schools

In yesterday’s Telegraph there was an article titled ‘Why the Military must invade our schools’ and whilst this might have a simplistic attraction in the situation we find ourselves in as a society, it fails to address the reality we are now in. Fragmented as society of’ individuals’ in a future where the Common Good must be placed centre stage as the energy and resource intensity of our society, SystemUK, inevitably falls.

Radio and Television programmes abound, Panorama last night for instance, but none recognise this fundamental reality. The Seventies were the beginning of the future we are now in, only with outcomes differed was a result of the exploitation of North Sea Oil. Which we squandered on Business as Usual, creating no reserve for the transition to the future we are in.

As a consequence, neither did we educate for this reality and the common purpose and action this future requires. The ‘Service for the Nation’ required of us all.

We are now in a world of fire-fighting failure demand and looking for End of Pipe solutions to Society’s Failure Demand. Such is the reasoning behind ResPublica’s genuine concern. Failing schools, send in the military to sort out the problems.

But we are all in this together for the Common Good, and whilst it is eminently sensible to encourage military personnel to take up the work mentioned in the article, dealing with the issues in separate boxes does not solve the problems at system level, SystemUK.

We thought resources were plentiful, to squander as we thought fit as individuals, rather than the reality; limited and needing to be marshalled for the Common Good.

In this future we must all be expected to act for the Common Good, bankers included!. This can only be achieved by educating for and implementing, universal and compulsory ‘Service for the Nation’ , not military discipline in a forlorn attempt to contain the Failure Demand created by not doing the right thing right as a Society.

There are difficult times ahead but we must start now if we are to ensure a coherent and competitive society rather than a failing one. There are scenarios out there we do not   need to let happen.



The end of Democracy?

In light of the energy debacle caused by the entirely foreseeable result of the selling off of our utilities, readers might like to read my April 2005 piece below. It meshes with my 2007 letter in Professional Engineering Journal,  here.


“Engineers are supposed to be mathematically literate but a simple understanding of compound interest is all that is needed to see that the current predictions of growth are the pipe dreams of economists.

    Take a chess board and put one unit on the first square, 2 on the second and 4 on the third and continue doubling up. The time to each doubling is 70 divided by the rate of growth i.e. 7%/annum is equal to 10 years.

    Add the squares together 1+2+4 = 7 i.e. the sum of all previous doublings is less than the value on the next square – 8

    Oil was first commercially exploited in 1859 and we are now at around 30 billion barrels/year and on the 32nd square. At the present rate of growth, ignoring aviation rates, we will need more oil in the next 20+ years than in the previous 150!

    Even if this amount of oil exists, finding, extracting and applying unknown technologies to turn the poor quality, heavy, and polluted crude we obtain into useable product is clearly not possible on this time scale.

    And that’s without the climate crisis and the fact that we need a fair amount of the remaining oil to create a low carbon economy.

    Now create a Google alert for ‘Oil Supply’ and watch the world unravel.”

Sustainability and the Energy Gap

We live at a time when we will soon see the peak in oil production, this being widely predicted by reliable and independent sources. After, the expected outcomes range from economic meltdown to a rapid and orderly transition to nuclear and renewable sources.

Unfortunately for the developed western economies a number of things will almost inevitably conspire to disadvantage us this century.

  • Our democratic system.
  • The demographic fact that the WWII bulge of children is now retiring.
  • That UK has had over a century of ‘education for industrial and environmental decline’.
  • That an ingenuity/innovation gap exists.
  • The transition of control in the western companies from engineers to accountants and finally lawyers.
  • The continuing reductionist/compliance approach to organisational management.
  • Engineering contract optimism on cost and time.
  • The planning regime.

These factors have already led to the loss of our manufacturing base (now occurring in the US) and are currently threatening our infrastructure.

Our propensity to educate for industrial and environmental decline for more than a century has led to the situation where there is an insufficient science and engineering base to maintain and extend the infrastructure built up over the 20th century. This is made more critical by the retirement of the post WWII generation, who build up the electrical infrastructure and the nuclear generation capacity.

We are nearly at the mercy, as a society of not being able to support the quality of life that has been created for us by previous generations.

Putting this together we now find ourselves in a critical national position with regard to the ‘energy gap’ just acknowledged by Professor Sir David King. The short political timeframe and the planning regime has led to the deferment of decisions on the mix of energy we need, leaving us at the mercy of foreign sources of energy and reliant on a number of aging nuclear power stations.

We have to make all professionals, especially teachers, aware of the critical need to encourage able students to take up science and engineering, that their own future security and comfort is dependent on it – not that it is just a good idea.

This is the essence of Education for Sustainable Development as it now applies to the UK (Europe and the US) and is central to the delivery of the new UK Sustainable Development Strategy.

This Century, assuming no doomsday, we will enter a more sustainable world, but the western democracies will probably have a far lower quality of life, even lower than a more equitable share of current resources would indicate.

Derek Deighton

Coordinator, North West Engineering Institutions, Sustainability Joint Venture

Is Britain is preparing for Peak Oil the only way she knows how:

It has to be asked if the Riots this week have not been a Godsend to the governing elite in allowing them to prepare for the outcomes resulting from the ongoing. but unspoken, reduction in the Energy and Resource Intensity of SystemUK. This comment from Twitter today

Comment: Britain is preparing for Peak Oil the only way she knows how: Calling on the armed forces, and arming the police.

Read more http://bit.ly/mUv4uK

Peter Oborne speaks elequently today of the failings of the ruling elite in government and business http://tgr.ph/pqdVWP and it reminded me of my letter to him at the Daily Mail in July 2008 relating to an article, again about the state of the UK and the military.


Dear Peter

          I am impressed with your article in the Mail today and I copy below part of the email to my MP I copied to you a short while ago.

“I don’t blame a particular person or party but we have a systemic failure of proactive action.

          The society we have created has replaced personal duty with personal freedom to the point that senior service personnel are now pointing out the incongruity of the reward those who are attempting to protect our way of life are receiving, referenced to others

          I want to be wrong, but soon, senior officers will be questioning the ability of our political system to deliver the actions needed to transition society to the low carbon future we will inherit, as I have said, by design or negligence.”

          The concept of political neutrality has been core of our armed services for centuries and British service personnel have been treated abominably on many occasions down these centuries

          It has been clear to me for years that our failure to be proactive and think holistically would lead to the point in history we find ourselves. I copy below my comment from 2002, which predicts the situation in which an outcome such as knife crime could develop. http://bit.ly/pVG3Md

          We are powering into energy oblivion and someone will need to take action, and Senior Officers must be aware that their ability to maintain a strategic and tactical capability will be seriously compromised by the time the new carriers and JSF are due to come into service

          This from the current edition of Business Week

“However, it appears that for at least the next five years, and possibly longer, the Saudis are likely to produce less crude than promised, according to fresh data on the kingdom’s oil fields obtained July 9 by BusinessWeek. Saudi officials have said they would increase production capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day next year, from the current 10 million barrels a day, and could even ramp up to as much as 15 million barrels a day if the market demanded it. As proof to a skeptical audience, the normally highly secretive Saudis were a bit more open, escorting journalists on a visit to their new Al Khurais field (BusinessWeek.com, 6/23/08), east of Riyadh, and disclosing some field data.”




Civil Unrest and failure demand in society

We see in the UK civil unrest that was predictable as a result of our failure to think at system level and then having to deal with the resultant failure demand in society by constantly changing end of pipe solutions.

Our continuing to think that we can return to a multi-planet  economic path flies in the face of observable reality and can only lead to the further weakening in the cohesion of society. My comment in 2002 pointed this out.


Comment on the North West Region’s Framework for Employment Skills and Action (FRESA) 29 August 2002

“Looking at the FRESA, I feel I must make a comment arising from paragraph 24, page 9 copied here

            “Job losses are expected to be dominated by males, while a large proportion of job gains will go to females. Some 60% of all job gains are expected to be part-time and the bulk of such jobs are expected to be in hotels and catering, business and other services. In terms of job losses the bulk are expected to come in elementary trades, process operatives, skilled metal and construction trades. Major gains are projected in caring and health, teaching and administrative and clerical occupations”

            This seems to me to be a forecast of potential disaster in the UK. It will at best lead to a position where a large proportion of males feel excluded with probable social unrest. Any gains are predicated on the assumption that service industries will grow and this is already under pressure with the possible transfer of call centre jobs to India (denied).

            I recognise that these are problems the Learning and Skills Council cannot solve but they must be acknowledged. Attached is an email to Channel 4 News in response to discussions on juvenile crime. I strongly feel that the issue of National Service – or service for the nation, not primarily the traditional military service, must be addressed to provide constructive work for primarily males across the age range that will otherwise be idle.

            This can be tied in to the work required to create sustainable development at home and abroad, which fits in with the thoughts expressed in my original submission to the Regional Strategy; that the Region and the UK cannot rely on classical economic solutions to prosper in this century.”

 The cry will go out that we cannot afford to  do this, but in a world of falling energy and resource intensity, can we afford not to?

Reference Service for the Nation in the One Planet World


R we 2 remain fixated on cuts, or will we start creatively reducing the #resourceintensity of SystemUK?

Yesterday in the Mail on Saturday Iain Martin contributed an article “Sorry to depress you but there will have to be even harsher spending cuts“. This perpetuates the myth that the world is still a multi-planet one without limits, as economics, as presently constituted assumes.

The reality is, however, that it is a ‘oneplanetworld’ where we are now bumping against resource limits and the balance of economic influence is shifting from the West to the East. ‘Cuts’ are now not the answer to our predicament and our future, not that they ever have been, if had had but the whit to realise.

We have to rethink ourselves as SystemUK against future of a limited and reducing access to energy and other resources, both in an absolute and competitive availability.

Critically we have to rethink how we govern ourselves in a oneplanetworld which is increasingly local and with the resource availability per person per unit of goods and services reducing.

Intelligent and creative Resource Intensity reduction, not knee-jerk ‘Cuts’ is the only way to retain a democratic, coherent and competitive SystemUK in the oneplanetworld.


Iain Martin Mail on Saturday 19 July 2011

…But it’s becoming increasingly clear that the present problems will not be a temporary phenomenon. This week, the newly-created Office of Budget Responsibility released a chilling report on Britain’s longer-term economic prospects. It said that our already high levels of debt will climb to more than 100 per cent of national output shortly after the middle of this century.

The cost of an ageing population — with more and more demands on the NHS — will increase pressure for much deeper spending cuts or big tax rises…..

Britain’s energy consumption drops as people try to save money

We are now feeling the effects of following the Oil Curve rather than keeping ahead of it – the wrong way to balance the One Planet Equation


Britain’s energy consumption drops as people try to save money

29th October 2010

Green living

Over 50% of people are using less energy than they did a year ago in a bid to save money. That’s according to new research that shows as winter sets in and energy consumption is predicted to skyrocket, people are prepared to do whatever it takes to save power- with nearly three quarters of people citing financial hardship as the main reason.

And their efforts should be well rewarded as the research reveals each household could save £250 every year by making some simple energy saving changes.

But it’s not just the little things like installing energy efficient light bulbs and draft excluders that people are now doing, with many considering making big changes to their homes to save money and energy in the long run.

Over a third would now consider a home survey to see if renewable energy could be installed in their property while 40% would pay more to do up their home if it made it more energy-efficient.

Belt-tightening is also affecting what househunters are looking for when buying a house with energy efficiency now high on homeseekers’ wish lists…………………

full article at http://www.easier.com/79612-britain-s-energy-consumption-drops-as-people-try-to-save-money.html

The Monster challenging us all

The Monster Challenging Us All

……………….Waiting For “Superman” describes that monster in some detail. It says it was created fifty-plus years ago, at a time when the majority of students were expected to become farmers or factory workers. In the world of the 1950’s, most people were expected to do essentially the same thing every day for the rest of their lives. Every worker was part of the great “economic engine” of the United States. If you didn’t wind up working in a factory or on a farm, you were assumed headed for some other “same thing every day” job in a field such as accounting.

The True Nature Of This Monster

That’s what the film says about the system. But what it doesn’t say is what the system doesn’t support: Students who want to be entrepreneurs… innovators… challengers of conventional thinking. Sorry, that wasn’t part of the equation. The system was designed in the 1950’s, when conformity was king.

After all, being an effective factory worker meant adopting a kind of “assembly line mentality.” You had to become a human “cog” in the giant machinery of the company for which you worked, which meant (a) doing what you’re told, (b) not asking questions, and (c) being afraid to make mistakes. The classic sign on the factory wall back then said “We pay you to work, not to think.”

That’s the kind of worker our educational system was designed to produce when it was first created, and that’s the kind of worker our system is designed to produce today. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of the creative, problem-solving, critical thinking workers — and citizens — America needs! But this point isn’t made in the film.

One thing Waiting For “Superman” does do is unintentionally confirm how “assembly line thinking” is the system’s intended result. It does this by animating the educational process so that it appears to consist of knowledge being poured into the heads of children and of children proceeding down different conveyor belts to either high or low quality classroom settings. This is what we knew how to do in the 1950’s: set up a mechanical system to produce workers who would fit into a mechanical employment reality. Today educational experts — those who put human development ahead of antiquated industrial policy needs — know that real education involves much more………………………

full article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-g-brant/waiting-for-superman-and_b_756804.html

Video Waiting For Superman | Davis Guggenheim http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnAIdIMoeI&NR=1