richardRichard Docwra

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New video – the problem with consumerism

So here’s the new video we produced for Life Squared to support their popular guide on ‘The Problem with Consumerism‘.  Check it out!
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New stuff coming soon…

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog, and that’s mainly because I’ve had my head down working on a load of different projects, as well as in running my agency ChangeStar. The good news is that these projects – including a video on ‘The problem with consumerism’, a new Life Squared guide
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Conservative voter? Here’s why you should vote smart in the General Election

Remember how shocked you felt waking up to the result of the Brexit referendum? Or how devastated you felt upon hearing that Trump had become President of the United States? Well, if you don’t want to wake up with this feeling on June 9th 2017, you can do something about it. Politics has taken a
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Green Party voter? Here’s why you should vote smart in the General Election

Remember how shocked you felt waking up to the result of the last General Election? Or how devastated you felt upon hearing that Trump had become President of the United States? Well, if you don’t want to wake up with this feeling on June 9th 2017, you can do something about it. Politics has taken
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Labour voter? Here’s why you should vote smart in the General Election

Remember how shocked you felt waking up to the result of the last General Election? Or how devastated you felt upon hearing that Trump had become President of the United States? Well, if you don’t want to wake up with this feeling on June 9th 2017, you can do something about it. Politics has taken
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Liberal Democrat voter? Here’s why you should vote smart in the General Election

Remember how shocked you felt waking up to the result of the last General Election? Or how devastated you felt upon hearing that Trump had become President of the United States? Well, if you don’t want to wake up with this feeling on June 9th 2017, you can do something about it. Politics has taken
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Why we should keep working for a Progressive Alliance

Yesterday, some new media reports emerged that questioned just how much impact a Progressive Alliance between Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Greens could really have on reducing the Tory majority in the forthcoming General Election. We’ve seen a lot of stories like this before, and there are a wide range of reasons why polls at
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A progressive alliance in Lewes – and beyond

Last night I attended the Progressive Alliance event in Lewes, my home town. It was not just well attended – it was packed. There was standing room only, at a hastily-assembled event that had only been publicised for a few days. The evening had everything – from the ejection of a rather over-refreshed gentleman by
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A vision for a better Britain

In my post yesterday I explored how we might build a strong, attractive view of a progressive future – one that a large number of people might want to get behind. As promised, below is a first go at how to present the vision and what to include in it. No doubt it needs more
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What a new progressive movement should look like

The world is in a chaotic state right now. Right wing populist parties are on the rise in western democracies as citizens vent their anger at a political process and economic system that has left them feeling powerless and without decent lives, jobs or self respect. People are willing to turn to almost any option
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How to wake up happy on June 9th

Remember how shocked you felt waking up to the result of the last General Election? Or how devastated you felt upon hearing that Trump had become President of the United States? Well, if you don’t want to wake up with this feeling on June 9th 2017, you can do something about it. Politics has taken
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Don’t mention the E-word

It’s been baffling and annoying this morning to see so much news coverage of the non-story that the National Trust and Cadbury have dropped the word ‘Easter’ from their annual Easter Egg Hunt event. First, it’s hard to work out who planted this story in the media as a bit of speculative PR.  The most
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We must all fight Trump

Donald Trump’s first week in office, and particularly his decision to temporarily ban people entering the US from predominantly Muslim countries, proves something – we are all now engaged in a battle to protect civilised values, wherever we live in the world. The nauseating stench of fascism had been hanging around his campaign for some
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Moral impotence and the tragedy of Aleppo

Like many people, I’ve been watching the reports of the destruction and terror in Aleppo with a sense of utter horror. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the situation is a feeling that I’m unable to do anything useful about it. And as someone who helps charities show people how to take action and make
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The future of the left

In the current political climate, I’ve not been surprised to see a particular question raised more than once – namely, does a proper left wing movement/party stand a chance in Britain? I’ve seen articles saying it doesn’t, and arguing that no really left wing party has held power since the early 70s. So, is Britain
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Economics for the people

One significant reason for Trump’s election victory is that Clinton represents a discredited system. Politicians that people don’t trust.  An economic system that isn’t working for people. And the two things are connected. Because politicians have lost trust through desperately trying to defend, promote and support the economic system that isn’t working. So, the only
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A new vision

“Politics has failed through a lack of competing narratives (to neoliberalism). The key task now is to tell a new story of what it is to be a human in the 21st century. It must be as appealing to some who have voted for Trump and Ukip as it is to the supporters of Clinton,
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The power of kindness

The world is in a chaotic state at the moment. 2016 has felt like the most negative year I’ve experienced on this planet – and partly for the toxic and negative political atmosphere that has enveloped western democracies in the last few years. It’s reached its nadir (so far at least) with the rise and
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Trump – a final warning

This post is a final plea to anyone in America who is able to vote in the forthcoming presidential election to vote against Donald Trump. Do not let him get in, as this could be one of the most dangerous decisions the world has seen for decades. There are 50 days to go before the
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Brexit and the need for respect

As the summer holidays come to an end, I’m sure many people will have had a similar experience to me of travelling abroad and realising how much Europe as an overall idea means to them. Travelling to Germany and Italy, I’ve been aware of how connected I feel to these countries and people, as well
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Brexit – hope out of despair

One of the key dangers of Brexit (aside from not insignificant others like the damage to our economy, the impact on the lives of Europeans and the barrier this has driven between people in British society), is that it will trigger an even more pronnounced lurch to the right in this country’s politics. So, what
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Why we need to be more civilised

The world feels like a depressing place at the moment.  Shootings in Orlando, the rise of Trump, refugee crises, dubious rhetoric in the Brexit debate – the list goes on. We’re about to launch a new Life Squared booklet soon called ‘How to be civilised’ which examines some of the lessons that we can draw
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The great Brexit distraction

Over the last few months, our country – and increasingly, the rest of the world – has become distracted by the forthcoming referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU. This single-minded focus has been infuriating for a number of reasons – the main one being that this whole issue is an entirely fake
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On the CUSP of a better future?

Yesterday I was at the launch of a new initiative, called the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). The event was chaired (and the centre is run) by Professor Tim Jackson, one of the country’s leading thinkers on sustainable economics, and the author of one of the best (and most accessible) books on
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Let’s get angry!

About a year ago I published a blog post lamenting the lack of real protest and action being taken against the (still extant) Government’s attempts to dismantle some of our most cherished and respected institutions – including the NHS, education system, welfare state and BBC. Since that post, the severity of the situation seems to
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Must have it?

Acquisition anxiety – how our constant need to acquire things is hurting us Picture the scene. You’re walking through a beautiful village in the countryside. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the whole scene is idyllic. What is the first thought that enters your mind?  Is it something along the lines of
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Why tax is a moral issue

There’s been a lot in the press about tax recently.  The leak of data from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca confirms my view that tax is more of a moral issue than a practical one – and that paying tax fairly is a moral duty. Let’s start by defining what tax is.  It’s about
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That joke isn’t funny anymore

The possibility of Donald Trump becoming the world’s most powerful person may have seemed like a joke a year ago (at least, to anyone but him), but now the reality is dawning that it might actually happen. He looks like a shoe-in for the Republican nomination now and will certainly give Hilary Clinton a run
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Right royal hypocrisy

Poor old Prince William. He obviously cares about the conservation of wildlife but his views have been shaped by his own uniquely privileged, hunting-tradition background and this makes him vulnerable to accusations of hypocrisy. His latest well-intentioned but mistaken intervention was to suggest that trophy hunting of animals could be condoned in certain circumstances: “when
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Political scheming

A short post this time – just to flag up a very good article from Owen Jones in The Guardian about the  various ways that the Tories have successfully manipulated the truth in various issues over recent years. My favourite quote from the article is below: “Illusions are what the Tories excel at. They back Labour’s spending – down
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Where’s the fight?

The General Election result in May 2015 was a shock for anyone of a vaguely progressive bent.  It was more than just a shock though – it brought about a sense of profound dread as to what this group of Conservatives would do to our country and society once they had disentangled themselves from the
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Where next for progressive politics?

I’ve just caught up with a very interesting post by Neal Lawson on OpenDemocracy today. The article asks how the Labour Party should  move forward in the light of it’s devastating defeat in the 2015 General Election – not simply as a votewinning machine but as a true political force that can deliver a progressive,
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Change is hard

Change can be difficult to achieve.  Change on a global scale can be very difficult to achieve – perhaps even impossible.  And, despite what we may want to think as campaigners, we may not be in control of all the levers that need to be pulled to achieve the change we want – in fact,
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The commodification of wisdom

I like what the School of Life is trying to do – bringing philosophy, wisdom and broader thought into our daily lives.  Indeed, Life Squared shares a similar aim in much of its work. Where we differ (apart from size, finances etc!) is that Life Squared is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to offer its
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Consuming experiences, not stuff, is still consumerism

I went to an interesting talk at the RSA today by James Wallman who has just published a book called ‘Stuffocation’. His basic argument was that in the society of scarcity of around a generation ago, what mattered in life was having more stuff – i.e. in a society of scarcity, materialism is not a
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Listen, don’t change

I was at the Compass Change:How? conference today and was struck by a few things in a discussion we had about ‘why it’s so hard getting people to change’.  By this it meant getting members of the public to take action for a more progressive, sustainable (etc.) world. The first thing that struck me was
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No means no

At ChangeStar, we’ve recently been doing a bit of ‘secret shopping’ with some charities – making donations to them and seeing how they communicate with us as a result.  It’s a real eye-opener and shows that lots of organisations have work to do on their communication plans – one charity has already sent us 3
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The moral footballer

A report in The Guardian today notes that a Newcastle United footballer has got into hot water with his club for refusing to wear the club shirt bearing the name of the club sponsor Wonga. He’s apparently “refusing to promote the money-lending company on religious grounds and has offered to wear an unbranded shirt or
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Life versus adverts

I had a much-needed day off recently and decided to visit a few places in London – like the London Library (wonderful) and Westminster Abbey (claustrophobic in its conservativism). I ended up at the Westfield shopping centre at Shepherd’s Bush to meet a friend for dinner before going to a gig, and I had to
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The joy of advertising

My dislike of advertising grows stronger by the day – partly because of the corrosive and limiting effect it can have on people’s lives, worldviews and aspirations, but also partly because of the insulting, manipulative rubbish that the industry continues to pump out. Take this new McDonald’s ad for example – peddling the idea that
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Time management – some caveats

I’m now a couple of weeks into my new time management regime (as are one or two others who are trying it out) and I’m quite pleased with how it’s going!  A few caveats have occurred to me over the last few days on the advice in the previous post though: It’s all about discipline
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Time management

One of the most challenging things to deal with in my work life is the number of things there are to do – from the mundane but important stuff to the meaty, interesting and fulfilling stuff. It can be a real challenge to make sure that I’m getting to do a bit of the interesting
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The religion-shaped hole

I’ve just been to see AC Grayling talk about Humanism at the Lewes Speakers Festival. It’s reminded me of a point I’ve been thinking about for a while. As religion becomes less of a central force in people’s lives (in the UK at least) there is, for many people, a ‘religion-shaped hole’ in their lives.
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One planet living?

I’m in the process of writing a booklet for our forthcoming ‘Story of Energy’ project at Life Squared, and my suspicions are proving correct – it’s almost impossible to find a simple description of what a real 1 planet lifestyle would look like for the ordinary individual. Fill in a footprint calculator (like Bioregional’s) and
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The value of reflection

Good to see this interesting post by Matthew Taylor, Director of the RSA, outlining the value of reflection in our rational decision making processes. One paragraph in particular caught my eye: Instead of ‘nudging’, which seeks to change choice architecture (for example, putting healthier food more easily in reach than unhealthy in canteens), the RSA’s
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Ghastly xmas ads

It’s bad form I’m sure to put a second consecutive post from the same person but Charlie Brooker does know how to skewer the shallowness and depressing nature of advertising with some humour – certainly better than me ranting angrily about it for several lines! Here is his article about the glut of ’emotional’ xmas
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Evil Weetabix

Great article by Charlie Brooker in today’s Guardian about the repugnant practice of advertising to kids, and how consumerism is finding new ways to enter our lives.
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How to change the world

This interesting article in the New York Times got me thinking again about something I’d been working on a few years ago – the question of how to we can gain the level of change needed to tackle big global issues like global warming and just what role we as individuals can play in this.
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Consumerism for babies – part 2

A few months ago I wrote about the highly questionable presence of Bounty packs in maternity wards (see this post for a reminder) and the unpleasant form of ‘captive consumerism’ they seem to enforce on new parents. In the last week the Independent has also covered this issue in an article that explains more of
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Making sense of modern life

Here’s our new, improved summary of the social need for Life Squared and what the organisation does to address it… Click here to download the summary.
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