Friday, 7 September 2018

An Open Letter to Ian Blackford... And Delcara

In this post I hope to demonstrate how digital transformation has both changed the world of politics and how pace of the political landscape and the nature of campaigning has changed... Perhaps in Scotland more than anywhere.

Through looking at the rear view mirror - unfortunately for all concerned - I highlight what I feel "Could be" for the SNP, the Scottish Government and Declara, instead of "What is" at the moment.

The good news? Instead of trying to be heard I've already modeled what I would do if I was involved in politics... or education and had any influence.

I wonder if Ian Blackford and Declara wished they'd taken the time to listen to me a couple of years ago if/when they read this?

The Wild West in Social Media
It's a week when Facebook, Twitter and Google were summoned to the US Senate Intelligence Committee with threats to expect new laws to "End the era of the Wild West in Social Media"

Meanwhile back in Scotland politicians and policy makers were told to get their act together because of Scotland's 'stagnant economy'

As I wrap up all thing EdTech Stories it might be worth the "Good and the Great" taking a look at my latest article looking at "The Wild West of Social Media" through the eyes of the Toy Story characters: Tech Story 2: The Wild West of the Internet

Scotland's economic geniuses might also be interested to know that the reason I hit 'publish' on my first ever blog post in 2012 was with the suggestion that more collaboration is needed to today's big problems like the economy and education.

This post is an attempt to show "What is... What Could've been... and what Could be," unfortunately I agree with Ian Blackford

"Scotland's Voice has not been heard"

That does not just apply to my attempts to be heard... It was written all over the 2014 #IndyRef movement... and the SNP only heard what they wanted to.

9-18th Sept 2014
On the 9th Sept I detailed how, where and why my blog was going to get political about education, it was because of the CULTURAL conditions of the 2014 #IndyRef campaign... Where things that would not otherwise be easily achieved could be: ie 'Unslumming' deprived areas with the SNP's shiny new 100,000 members and activists.

The atmosphere of the public rallies were extremely special... however, the political types that I'd chatted to on social media suggested I go to a Yes Alliance IndyRef/SNP meeting.

I went to one - mainly to try to tell someone about the "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" that I'd recognised with my exploration of how ideas get traction and what I noticed with #IndyRef

This was the first sign of the arrogance that I saw for the next few years. Anyone I spoke to didn't listen and I lasted 10 minutes before leaving.

The meeting was what I imagine the tribal (Not in a good way) atmosphere is like at an England V Scotland, Celtic V Rangers match (Never been to either)... or what the neurenburg rallies were like.

It was militant! It's our way of thinking and ideas... or else! This is the culture that prevailed from 2014-present...but didn't need to be the case!

19th Sept 2014
On the 19th September the school run was the same as any day of the week in Scotland in 2018... It was super depressing.

But for 3 weeks before 19th Sept 2014 Glasgow was what I imagine the late 1990s must have been like in Silicon Valley... Everyone talking about tech, shares and startups and all the bright hopes for the future.

The only difference was that instead of tech, shares and startups... people were talking about politics and Scotland's future as an Independent Nation.

There was not a place in the land that you could escape the chat... buses, coffee shops, workplaces, the media.

The morning of the 19th Sept 2014 was depressing. The majority got what they wanted but there was the same kind of depressing silence that would go on to dominate 2017 and 2018 on the buses, coffee shops and (probably) workplaces... the air of depressing defeat.

On the morning of this day I wrote this Yes Scotland - How Can We Help post asking

"Is the best yet to come?" 

I wasn't wrong!

#NewPower Storm
In this post I will use terminology that, until a few months ago, was not a part of my vocabulary.

I knew my insights were accurate at the time, but didn't have the words or case studies to detail what I was talking about.

Obviously people continued to chat about #IndyRef after the vote throughout the day.... Then in the evening a #NewPower storm was brewing and a 'swarm' was created where the 'connected connectors' where trying to guide the #IndyRef #VoteYes narrative... JUST LIKE New Power highlights that US counter terrorism is now doing with Schools and Church leaders.

As the #IndyRef #VoteYes camp started to condemn the #NoThanks voters when the BNP came to town to 'celebrate' the result by having a riot... There were a few of us trying to co-ordinate things via Twitter DMs by saying

"Let's try to keep the message positive and upbeat..." 
(when they go low, we go high and all that jazz)

20th-22nd Sept 2014
This crisis from the #NoThanks camp was a real opportunity for the SNP/Yes Alliance and created the post-VoteYes movement, the 45% of the people who voted for Scottish Independence known as #The45 then #The45Plus.

This weekend... This weekend RIGHT THERE... The 20-22nd Sept is IMHO the source of A LOT of the SNP's problems at today.

I tried to speak to anyone and everyone I could at the SNP to let them know this at the time.The message?

That the 70+ "YesScotland" Twitter accounts send a message saying "This is who the post #VoteYes movement is and this is how we will share our 'One Scotland' and/or 'Hope over fear' message"

During the campaign the SNP had taken their online support and brought it offline into rallies and the "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" were BUZZING!

The #VoteYes humour was fantastic, personally I must have spent AT LEAST 2 hours a day at this national water cooler... Not because of Politics. Not because of #IndyRef... but because it was FUN!

Everyone was aligned with what Tribal Leadership calls a 'Nobel Cause' - Independence - and good humour and good deeds was among the unwritten 'core values.'

During the 20-22nd the SNP/Yes Alliance needed to set the post vote tone by coming out and saying "This is who we are now... One Scotland is XYZ" they could have taken this further and set an example by saying

"We've set up a crowd fund for good causes and encourage out 100,000 members to contribute to this and keep the chat on social media productive"

This was missing.

So, like the Alt Right etc has done in the US on Reddit... where there is a void some random former Socialist MSP saw an opportunity and took it.

"Hope over fear" let's boycott this brand and boycott that newspaper etc etc. Here's one of the posts on this topic written at the time: The45+ Where Did it All Go Wrong

If you want to see how people fall into social norms once the culture is set... go see how #GE2015 #Team56 MPs reacted to the Daily Record when they got to Westminster... they fanned the 'Boycott flames' instead of leading the fire fighting when they should have.


28th Sept 2014 Sept
HOWEVER... As I highlight in another post at the time Achieving the Impossible these Network Effects and Feedback Loops are seriously powerful

"This post includes information as to why I would advise that, based on Technology sales and roll out principles, Labour and the Conservatives should just pack up and go now, and why a second referendum appears to be inevitable

[Other parties] task now is like Yahoo Vs Google, My Space Vs Facebook... ie you had your chance and you blew it. If you want to get Alex Salmond style popularity, stop off at Newcastle and declare the North East free from Westminster and you'll be the peoples' champion too"

6th May 2015

In my 
Freakonimic Politics post I reiterated the message above and provided a summary of everything I'd seen during the 2014 IndyRef and how, why and where it made SNP Domination Inevitable

8th May 2015
In Sept 2014 I saw the result of GE2015.

But two days after this record result, I spotted something VERY concerning... Stage 1 of Decline hubris... That same hubris that would go on to affect the SNP during #GE2017

Who'd have thought that a photo under the Forth Rail Bridge and changing #The45Plus to #Team56 (AKA It's now all about us and not them... the people who helped us get here, and continued all the way to Alex Salmond's Crowdfunder) could tell so much?

Weekend after GE2017: Never mind the 1.6 million who got us here, we're #Team56 Now
The first party to make it genuinely all about "Them" AKA Us,"The Little People" will do rather well.

Tribal Leadership, Hug Your Haters, Zombie Loyalists, The Well, New Power... all books that will help, all books that I've highlighted in the past... Perhaps I should put a spin on the First Minister's Reading Challenge... SNP MPs: READ THOSE BOOKS. Lol

Here's the post I wrote after the local elections on 10th June 2017 suggesting that #Team56 might face some problems... Including data that suggested that Mr Salmond could lose his seat.




Stage 1: Hubris 2015
Stage 2: The Undisciplined Pursuit for More (The announcement of #IndyRef2/#ScotRef in March 2017)
Stage 3: Denial of Risk (The local election results on the 4th May 2017 and dismissing the result by other parties)

Not totally sure if Alex Salmond's crowd funder would count as stage 4... But I sure can tell you that mishandling Sept 2018 may well see Stage 5 and #IndyRef2 decimated for a generation during #GE2022 - Written before Scotland's 'Stagnant Economy,' Gambling capital and a host of other bad news was in the press...Man! It's all SO depressing!!
2015... A Good Year! What Could've Been?
2015 was a good year for me! Progress was being made!
  • Silicon Valley Hot Shot Startup Lady Ramona Peirson and Former Microsoft Vice President James Stanbridge see the value in my ideas
  • Chris van der Kuyl says that "Education Lacks Leadership" and "Educators need to collaborate more at the Scottish Learning Festival"
  • The then Education Secretary asks me to reach out to my PLN to help with some of her work
  • As a result of these projects I connect with the Digital Citizenship Summit Founders
  • I discuss how and why Declara could help the SNP with the next phase of social media through a conversation with Ian Blackford
All sounds great! Most of these orgs had their "Core Values" on their websites - one of the first things I looked for before collaborating with anyone - but most turned out to be cat posters (but that's another story entirely!)

Only one of the people above, in my experience and opinion, had any integrity at all and ACTUALLY took the time to listen... their loss, as well as mine I guess. 

What Is... What Could Be...
"You have the power to change the world... you really do! With an idea" Nancy Duarte


I don't talk or write great... The communications gets garbled somehow, so I have to detail what "Could Be" if I had been listened to.

This is all fine. I've learnt to deal with it. I worked at one org for 10 years... Excelled in every role. I observed and raised the alarm 12 months before hand to my Managing Director

"Your heading the wrong way with your decisions... you're slipping down Jim Collins "5 Stages of Decline" 

I was ignored and a year later? Major downsizing and redundancies... Just like the SNP in 2017, and their downsizing may not be finished yet. 

So I've since learned that it's easier to just go ahead and show people what I mean... it's quicker, easier and less frustrating than trying to tell people. #BeTheDigitalChange and all that #DigCitSummit Bull shit!

But you do have to stop and wonder if you'd be heard if you were the son of a politician, banker or been one of their old school buddies in their fancy ass schools. 

What Could Be: SNP
So in 2015, after reading Kate Hefner's book "The Well" I spotted where Social Media was headed and had a conversation with Ian Blackford and set up a Declara Collection for him with all the 'Good News' stories I could find about him (The collection I created has since been deleted).

What was my suggestion about this collection and space?

That he and other MPs use the Declara "Team" space as a place for him to spit ball ideas with his campaign volunteers.

That they highlight their fav 140 character 'Insights' from articles in the collections... and that other MP/MSPs do likewise.

The reason? I saw the 140 character politics coming a mile off... something Trump uses to good effect.

"The future belongs to the best editors" Jason Fried The Class I'd Like to Teach

If you want an idea of what this might have looked like... 

Imagine my Community Management Resources Declara Collection was your good news stories and my highlighted, easily tweeted 'insights' were from you support base... you should get the idea. 

What would be the purpose of this? Well if/when any bad news like... just for arguments sake, a sexual harassment scandal with a prominent member of the party was to break, then the SNP supporters could 'swarm' social media with all the good news stories.

Empowering the 15-30 core members in a private space for the #The45/#IndyRef2 fans to further amplify, could have had an impact.

"The art of turning someone else's crisis into your opportunity is far from new, but the new skill is doing it in an age when the opportunity to mobilize a crowd comes and goes in minutes. The American cookie brand Oreo understood this when a power outage in the stadium caused lights to go out for more than 30 mins during the 2013 Superbowl. Oreo struck quickly, tweeting a picture of a lonely well lit Oreo and the caption 

"You can still dunk in the dark"


The tweet went viral, 'won the superbowl,' and became the stuff of legends in marketing circles. Often left out of the story is the fact that Oreo had a 15 person team at the ready during the game for exactly this kind of rapid response. 

We don't all have Oreo's resources, but its handiwork reminds us that storm chasing requires infrastructure to do well. Anyone building a crowd should be on the look out for storms that might galvanize their base, and be prepared to act on them within minutes or hours, when the need is greatest and people's emotional response is at its peak. Many old organisations take days just to cobble together a press release. But organisations now need to be set up to move faster, to soak up the energy in the moment and turn that into new supporters. Byzantine bureaucracies requiring multiple sign offs aren't the right tools for storm chasing.New Power

And where are the experts saying that social media is heading today? 

Small 'Communities of Practice' with 15 people - Just like Buurtzorg is doing? 

What Could Be: Declara
"I just wish we had 15 people who were fans of Declara like you are" Declara Exec when I was an uber fan in 2015

Well in 2015, the SNP had the network effects and feedback loops that could have populated the site.

One mistake that I made here was, as a Peter Theil Silicon Valley startup with $50million in investment, I thought this hot shot startup would know everything I knew about startups and community building that I, a random sales person from Glasgow, did.

However, this was not the case.

If they had listened? Given the way that social media is heading the same way today that the early online communities did... Like The SNP, they could have been ahead of the curve here too.

"We need your help with the 2017 US elections" Declara's CEO to me in 2016/7, if they'd listened to my ideas about what I knew about community building and where things were headed... they might be in a better position today.

What Could Be: Scottish Education
This is a little too sore to discuss. I feel for the SNP and #IndyRef movement, I really do! 

Like the "Invisible Children" case study it's easy to criticize about what went wrong... but, as this stuff if new and mistakes will be made, you can learn a lot from what went right and ask:

Where are we now? 
How will Social Media evolve?
How can we get ahead of the curve?

Something that could have been done and dusted in 2-4 months I've wasted 4 years on a fools errand. 

I listened to all voices to find the challenges and potential solutions... Planed meticulously, but I don't have influence and struggle to be heard at the organisation that I work at and have a good track record.

So this Scot's voice being heard is not the Forte of one of the many JAMs living in Ian Blackford's Scotland I'm afraid.

The reason I started this blog was because I felt I had a story to tell. The post itself is garbled but the conclusion is the same as this one (And is in line with the report about Scotland's Economy for all parties to get their act together).

I have not deviated from this task in the last 5 years since joining social media. But I have not been heard by the good and the great and am out of time. 

Earlier this week I passed the details onto people who I hope can take this forward. 

Re my own mistakes... Among the biggest include:

1) Working with people who said one thing about core values and their mission, but them being full of shit

2) Not having a voice. Not being an 'Influencer' who could stand up at the Scottish Learning Festival and simply say "Collaborate More" and leave it at that... Don't put any hustle in... just sit and watch anyone who tries.

John Swinney has made suggestions that I think were correct... Including the P1 tests, Empowering Educators and Heads having more autonomy... Shame he didn't have the community building skills to pull it all off. Perhaps a bit like the SNP and #GE2022? ;)

What Could Be: #DigCitSummit
The two points above can be seen nowhere better that with the DigCitSummit. 
The early days of social media is full of takers and fakers, but as Why Good People Turn Bad Online highlights social media 2.0 will find them out, eject them from projects and more collaboration... so that less takers will be involved to take advantage.

I've found that people who advocate on social media for "Safe. Savvy. Ethical" Digital Citizenship and calls for people to "Be the same person you are online as you are offline" but don't practice what they preach.

The impact of all this? As Adam Grant highlights these takers make it less likely for the truly collaborative people to have any interest in collaborating in the future.

Is this the reason that adoption of social media with educators has stalled a little? The data suggests there's something in the argument.

But whether politics, education or social media the #RedditRevolt Vs Reddit Place shows us that these spaces evolve and grow up... leaving the petulant children behind to spew their bile and spit their dummy out in someone else's space... with No Asshole (And I'd add no Drama Alice) rules.


Politics, like the High Street, like the stupid cold calling telesales roles and door to door sales jobs that the DWP website promotes for minimum wage (Or commission only) for the JAMs in Scotland's many deprived areas - will be gone.

In 2022 I wonder how many people will have "No Cold Callers/Canvassers - Except for the SNP" signs in the window? Or will the writing be on the wall? 

And the reason? All because of the events in Sept 2018... All because 


Scotland's Voice Has Not Been Heard 

...By the SNP. Blaming others for 11+ Years elections does not win.

The Future of Politics?
When passing this information onto others this week... I have not told people what they could be doing. I've modeled it!
  • I've highlighted that High Impact/Low Cost ideas can make a difference... I've seen what a Skype with Tech executives and educators elsewhere can make with our young, and old, people alike!
  • I've demonstrated that smaller communities of practice is where it's at
  • I've actually put some hustle into the fine speeches that people gave at Edu & FELTAG events
  • I've continued to reach out to people in my PLN and encouraged eductors to collaborate more
  • Through #IndyRef I feel I've done a better job in demonstrating it's New Power Vs the pundits
  • I've shown the extent that - even the jobless, now homeless - have something to contribute
  • I've shown what can happen if politicians just start giving a shit
The day after the record #GE2015 #Team56 result I sat down and wrote "Ideas for 2016/19 Candidates," today I see that not only were the insights accurate but, through New Power, can name how, where and why they were accurate.

The winners of #GE2022? They'll be the ones that go out and campaign today and start making a difference to their constituents.

The consequences of failing to do this? Go ask Margaret Ferrier... a drop in the number of votes of 2%... but 10% increase for Ged Killen, a return to old voting habits... until something better comes along

Need a National example? Just ask the 2008 #TooBigToFail but 2017 "Should've let them fail Bank Bailing Vince Cable... His party won't recover from that one. The solution for the 2010 king makers and the Conservative coalition? "Hey Labour... Let's be friends, come and join our toxic brand"

Compare that with Nike's ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick. Yep you heard me correct... Just watch what happens there with that one from a political perspective... If it all works out, it will be inspired!!

Back in the UK #IndyRef, UKIP, Brexit, Corbyn's socialism... It's nothing to do with these issues, it's about people wanting to see change... for the better, not just the elites in politics and banking.

I know three politicians who have given a shit to some degree or another... I already know how I'll be voting in GE2022.

I wonder if the MSP/MPs who feel they know the "Scottish People" and their constituents can say the same?

I wonder if their constituents will feel the same as they do on the day?

Don't be surprised if there's a shock or two in store for those who rely on traditional campaigning and the traditional polls in the run up to the next election. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

An Open Letter to Jamie Hepburn... The Jamie Hepburn Challenge

I think that Open Letters is what the good and the great in Hynland and Morningside write and have their buddies publish in The Times and The Herald when they have too much time on their hands and want to complain about some irritating first world, elite problem... So I thought I'd give it a try with Scotland's "stagnant economy"

Anyone else want to just scream Bill Clinton's election soundbite at the Scottish Government:

It's the Economy Stupid.

Jobs, satisfaction levels in public services, mental health in kids (And their parents), high levels of deprivation etc

This post details how the Scottish workforce is rapidly becoming an easily replacable commodity, selling tired old products, using tired old approaches like telesales reading from a script for minimum wage... couriers, warehouse 'pickers' and door to door sales (commission only).

Why are companies doing this? Because they can!! Because that's all the opportunities that are available!!

So the Scottish economy is 'stagnant' and where is the Peter Jones Academies and Gazelle in FE? What about the RBS supported Edge competition and #GoDo Espark or Scale Up Scotland and Entrepreneurial Scotland?

I think that Andrew Mitchell is onto something when he highlights people have been at the Kool Aid a little too much! And where is Espark when all this is going on? Scaling across England... hope they have more success scaling than the SNP and IndyRef has done.

There are two reasons I wrote my "Politicians Wish They Ate Their Own Dog Food" post:

1) It's snarky because I've found that it's only people who are open minded enough to say

"Yeah, we could be doing better"

Type people who are capable of listening

2) Because it's genuinely the way that I feel about politicians today - This is about the only way I'd have any time for any of them in the future. They might also learn a thing or two as well!!

Whether it's through the
  • #GoDo entrepreneurial and enterprise initiatives above (Espark, Gazelle etc), or through data like
  • The number of jobs that have a 4-5 star rating on Glassdoor with companies who have a head office in Scotland
  • Kind of jobs advertised on job boards (Including, and perhaps especially on the Governments own DWP site)
  • Walking through Glasgow's shopping areas... 
Scotland's stagnant economy is staring everyone - except the most deluded and blinkered - in the face.

Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and other MPs all did the Ice Bucket Challenge... here's my proposal for The Jamie Hepburn Challenge

The Jamie Hepburn Challenge

Mr Hepburn I challenge you to take a look at the kind of jobs that are available on job boards in Scotland... Better still, go through the User Experience of a DWP customer and see how you fare.

I asked my work coach "Have you ever been through the DWP process yourself?"
"No I don't thin anyone in here has" was the reply... are you kidding me?

My own Belbin Report includes the following summary.

Your operating style is closest to that of strategic leadership, which is usually available only at senior positions. However, before such an opportunity could present itself, you are likely to need credibility at the operational level. That might pose problems in your case... The good news is that the longer you survive, the more likely you are to become a valued contribution and to gain the greatest sense of personal fulfilment.

It's taken a while but, thanks to those who did take a chance and believed in me, I now accept the 'Strategic Leadership' comment... the bad news is (despite previous successes) I am not 'surviving,' and there is zero personal fulfilment... despite the ideas being sound.

As Mr Swinney's office and @DWPDigital @DWPJobs highlighted when I asked, they were not aware of many EdTech or Cmgr positions in Scotland.

In addition to this, my DWP Work Coach told me that the EdTech multi-billion pound industry and role that many Silicon Valley Tech companies include as one of their first hires (Community Manager) is

"Too Niche," and that
"Perhaps it's time to give up on your dream job"

So, after the NEA being ditched due to my credit rating (Thanks Vince and NRAM... appreciate it!), I've applied for anything and everything that I could in the last few weeks and "Yay!" I secured an interview for a telesales position.

"Make sure you dress accordingly... no trainers" is the only information of any note along with the interview time.

I turn up and I wish I had video'd the experience... It was something else!

Myself and a student studying Neuroscience are led into a meeting room and asked to fill a form out - this is the longest part of the process.

Name
Age
Telephone Number
Any Call Centre Experience

The reason the age was asked for, it turned out, was so they could work out what the minimum wage was for your age... you're self employed, so cover your own tax etc.

The 'Interviewer' did not dress the role up in any way... or make any bones about how shit it all was.

"Basically you'll be reading from a script and be on an autodiler selling home imporvements to people in shifts 10am-2pm or 2pm-7pm... if someone is interested then a 'confirmer' will make an appointment and, if this leads to a sale you'll get commission of £20"

"The next stage is Ron will give you a call and you come in hear some of our sales people go through the script and then you'll run through it... This isn't for everyone, so no problem if you decide not to do it"

She may as well have added... "We'll find another slab of meat who can read and talk, who's this desperate to make minimum wage in this way" that is until the bots replace them.

And Mr Hepburn, the worst of this isn't how far things have taken a tumble for me - think SNP 2014/15 with SNP 2018/22 and you'll get the idea - or what might be available if I lived elsewhere... It's that this isn't the worst of the jobs or the pay that is out there.

If people buy into Michael Wu's observation that where there is nothing unique and no differentuation with a product or service, it becomes a commodity and people will just make decisions based on price... then huge sections of the Scottish workforce are now disposable commodities.

My experience with Amazon for warehouse staff was something else as well.

And it's not just me either. The Amazon job included people like a maths graduate who never had a job and left uni 6 months ago... can you imagine that being the case in some of the tech hubs out there?

When I visited a classroom and asked "Who want's to make computer games for companies like Xbox or Apple when they are older" Last November, the majority of hands went up.

At what point between 5 years old to adulthood do these aspirations turn into "Working at a call centre for minimum wage?" and/or as my 17 year old son found, where are the work experience opportunities to learn to create new tech... not just consume it.

How many of these call centre staff go home at night and get onto social media or their games consoles? Where is Scottish equivalent of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter etc etc

£17 million in electronic charging points? So we can consume more imported tech innovations... Only to criticize Elon Musk and Telsa for not paying tax and for the loss of jobs as the garages for "Old cars" become obsolete and the skills are not here for the digital transformation?

SNPCivilWar... And a Monty Python Solution
The Cybernats used Monty Python's Life of Brian to highlight how hilarious the idea of the SNP being divided was.

I agreed with one newspaper that, based on the current trajectory, that the SNP and IndyRef resemble something out of a Monty Python sketch involving a pet shop and a parrot.

But a slightly less hilarious example for the SNP to follow, as well as a way to make the point of how ridiculous the current economy is and/or how simple the changes needed are (Note: Simple! Didn't say easy!) would be to look at a real life example of Monty Python's "Spare a Sheckle for an old ex-leper"

To give just one example of how simple Vs ridiculous this stuff is... £250 million for edu mental health Vs the kind of opportunities and self esteem that Livity has provided (As detailed in Be More Pirate) young people, some of whom call it "My YMCA/youth centre"

Regarding the extracts below I wonder if you were to change Leper to Neds, Neets, Scroungers, benefit cheats... and anyone that it's lucky enough to be part of the middle classes, if you'd get an idea of what being Lost in the Ghetto might be like for some people who have talent, but lack the opportunities.

"Baba came to believe that rich people were callous and willfully unaware of the desolation around them, whereas poor people, of necessity, were able to see.  

"Baba realised that, even though dapsone could cure most leprosy patients medically, it couldn't change their lives. A leprosy patient taking medicine was soon no longer contagious, but whatever awful damage had already been done - fingers and toes disfigured, eyebrows gone, collapsed nose, strange patches on the skin - marked him forever. Fear of leprosy was so great, and the signs of the disease so unmistakable, that even cured lepers were rejected by their families. Relatives of lepers were ostracized and unmarriagable, so to keep a leprosy patient at home was to sacrifice normal life for everyone else. In many villages, lepers were burned alive.. Even a cured leprosy patient faced a ruined existence: he couldn't work, he couldn't live with his family or even in his village, he had no choice but to beg. Thus, even after a cure for leprosy had been found, leper colonies were still necessary."

...If a person had lost 7 fingers, after all, he had 3 left, and there was a lot you could do with 3 fingers. A man could live without fingers, but not without self respect.

Baba applied to the state of Madhya Pradesh for land, and in 1951 was given 50 acres of wilderness - rocky scrub, with no water. He and his wife went to live there with their two tiny sons, six lepers, a cow, four dogs to protect them from wild animals, and foutreen rupees - nearly nothing. They built two shelters - four wooden sticks and a grass roof, no walls - one for Baba and his family, one for the lepers.

There were deadly snakes and scorpions and rats everywhere; when it rained, the rats and snakes came into the houses. Lepers would wake to discover the rats had eaten their insensate flesh while they slept. There were leopards and tigers and wild boars nearby in the forest. Tigers came in at night and snatched the dogs from the huts, one by one, but they did not take the two human babies... The first thing to do was dig a well. This took 6 weeks, digging every day. It was May, and 115 degrees out - hotter in the sun.

It was a measure of how terrible life outside was for lepers that they flocked to this hellish place - more than 50 came in the next 2 years. They dug more wells and cleared the land and grew crops for sale in the market. Most were desolate when they arrived, having been thrown out by their families and rejected by their friends, but work revived them. But the villagers nearby were afraid of catching leprosy and wouldn't buy them.

A few months into the colony being established international volunteers came from Sevagram, Gandhi's nearby ashram, to help construct a clinic and other buildings. The sight of dozens of Europeans living among the lepers in strikingly hygenic conditions persuaded the villagers that the vegetables were safe to eat. The acceptance of their vegtables transformed their economy: Now they could generate an income. Baba started a dairy, a spinning factory, and other workshops. He was determined that Anandwan should become self sufficient, and after 2 years, apart from sugar, oil, and salt, it was.

As soon as Anandwan was no longer desperately poor, Baba became restless. His ambition for 
Anandwan extended beyond industry: it was not enough for lepers to be physically cured but economically self sufficient, he thought; they must also be culturally stimulated. Anandwan was to become a model community, not a workhouse. He started a yearly cultural festival, to which he invited musicians, artist, philosophers, politicians and intellectuals. He built a theater and staged plays that went on until four in the morning. It was important that the place be beautiful - he believed that beauty was essential to human happiness. He built a garden and planted flowers everywhere.

And it was not enough that 
Anandwan do without charity: it would dispense charity. A school for the blind was needed in the area; Baba started one, a boarding school so that children could come from far away. Later, he started a school for the deaf... they built an orphanage. They built a home for the aged... They built a college.

Eventually, Anandwan sold so many goods that the government began imposing taxes. Baba "Felt very proud that the leprosy patients had become the object of tax!" Strangers Drowning P122-136

This is not an isolated example... Jane Jacobs and Andrew Mawson highlight similar examples of 'Unslumming' deprived areas.

IndyRef and If Tech Stories Did Politics
In my "Ideas for 2016 & 2019 Candidates document, written the day after #GE2015, I detailed on the first page where my interests lay in these special conditions that were created.

Through Baba's leprosy case study in Drowning Strangers I got evidence that this could have been possible as his friend Bhave

"walked across India, calling on landowners to give land to the poor - a mad idea that he pursued for several years with astonishing success, thanks partly to post-independence patriotism..."

Obviously the conditions for what I suggest on page 1 are now LONG gone and that trust needs to be rebuilt and a bit of hustle needed... and it will be needed if Mr Hepburn and his colleagues hope to keep their own jobs!!

The keys to Number 10 might depend on it... just as I highlight at the end of my SNP: From Proponent to Detractor post*

*Kids don't read that post!! Just scroll to the end... It's the kind of post that FE Ministers will lose their jobs because of... But that Cybernats use inappropriate job career damaging language all the time on social media? ...what does that tell you about The SNP and helping their own support base with their career prospects? #Team56 all the way baby! Fuck #The45 #The45Plus 100,000 members and those swearing about #IndyRef2 #ScotRef.

That's the impression you're giving off... the reason (As I see it?) one weekend in Sept 2014... The subject of my next post.

Monday, 3 September 2018

#GE2022: SNP, Cybernats & #IndyRef2 Decimated... Or "Yes We Can"?

NB Not the shortest post and not had much time to edit, but any forward thinking and/or SNP MPs/MSPs fans etc capable of listening may get some value out of the ramblings.

Will the SNP, Cybernats and #IndyRef be buried for a another generation by the time that GE2022 comes round? Or will it be some kind of Obama "Yes We can" campaign message?

I don't agree with politicans often but President Sturgeon is absolutely right in that 

"How they handle Alex Salmond and his crowd funder will define who the SNP is as a party"

But unlike the SNP who will strategise and stratagise and then ignore their supporters, how they handle Alex Salmond and his crowdfunder in the last week and the next week or so... will define the trajectory of their party.

The Data Doesn't Lie
Gideon Mack, a book that’s recommended reading by John Swinney’s Scottish Education and Advanced Higher English seems like a good place to start with this post and the Ministers observations with his charitable fund raising efforts – on the irony given Mr Salmonds crod funder – and how

“When a project becomes successful everyone wants to be part of it"

Based on this sentiment and the lack of Scottish Celebrity endorsements who have previously been public in their support for an independent Scotland… but who have been a lot quieter more recently, what does this say about the future prospects of The SNP? It’s not good I’m afraid.

Nor is looking at the data with the attempt to bring back the #IndyRef #VoteYes humour with the #SNPCivilWar as there were two key differences.

1) The Network Effects were not there to bring the numbers needed
2) The Feedback Loops were not there... there was a bit of sinister snark in the humour.

The SNP is boasting about having 125,000 members, but hang on a minute!

Didn't they have 100,000 members after the 2014 IndyRef?
An extra 25,000 members in 4 years?

This group was mobilised in 2015 for sure (Actually they were not... the Network Effects and Feedback Loops were)... But let's say for arguments sake it was their canvassing, where where they in 2017 for Mr Salmond and the rest of #Team56?

Could the polls and votes head south for the SNP? As far south as poor old Gideon Mack fell when rescuing Jasper?

When writing posts like this, unfortunately, it’s with the realization that the organization responsible for Scale Up Scotland has not been very successful with scaling themselves and don't listen until after the fact.

It has become a massively arrogant organization that appears incapable of listening to people.

Indeed, in my experience, it actively goes out of its way NOT to listen to people.

A Party Like it Was in 1997
I wonder if I were able to go back in time to the only time I ever met President Sturgeon to say:

“You may only have won 6 seats tonight – In 1997 when I canvassed for Jim Byrne and attended the count – but in 17 years time you’ll have cult Celebrity status after a failed #IndyRef attempt… but a year later will have 56 seats at Westminster in the 2015 General Election. But Alex Salmond will lose his seat in the 2017 General Election and resign in 2018 amid sexual harassment allegations but he’ll have a crowdfunder for £100,000 after 4 days… because of the massive Cybernat problem on social media”

Besides questions like
“What’s social media? What's crowdfunding?”… and/or
“But General Elections only take place every 4 years” 
(Yeah I know! Even the public are saying 'Not another one!' Want to hear about all the referendums too? No? That makes two of us, because neither do we in the future!)

How believable do you think that would have sounded? Well here’s one for you…

By 2022 not only will IndyRef2 be dead but The SNP *Just Might* be back to the same levels of representation as 1997.

Never! No Way! Says any SNP MPs reading this (and God only knows what awaits someone who suggests such blasphemy on Scotland's "Chosen Ones" on social media as the Cybernat trolls catch wind of the suggestion).

However! Before the hounds of IndyRef/SNP/Guardians of the Saltire are unleashed - by whoever it is that does the unleashing! - Please allow me to pose this little question:

How many people can you name who’s insights have been accurate for EVERY ELECTION in Scotland since those glory days of the SNPs celebrity status in 2014/15?

Well, whether the rationale was sound or not... I've nailed every single one! Yes! All of them!

Even when all the experts and pundits said "The polls can't be right.. can they?" Go check my posts around the time of the elections.

MPs and MSPs won’t look at the issue of call centre jobs going and the need to reskill for people who will lose their jobs in that sector… but I bet the 1997 result and my record with predicting this stuff got them thinking! 

I’ve already sent an email in April/May with the subject line of “How MSPs can Keep their Jobs,” and for anyone at the fancy away day marvelling at their fancy mural with

"Connecting People and listening to people is important" 

That same email thread suggests that MSPs lead the way with helping schools to connect too... the response? Crickets! Nothing. Nada! Naught!

Perhaps you need to be a member of the yellow shiny badge club to be in their Scotland... But I was once and got the same reply, so maybe you need to be one #Team56?

"Yes We Can" IndyRef, Trump and Podemos
#IndyRef and politics is a good way to demonstrate how and why the future life of companies may well go from 75 years in days gone by to 15 years at the moment and could reduce further to 5 years on the current trajectory.

I’ve mentioned the book New Power quite a bit and it’s not just the plebs that will be disrupted by the pace of change. 

As, Chris vander Kuyl, one of the SNP’s darlings who DO get listened to highlights… the pace of change will never be this slow again.

Politics remains dominated by "Old Power" where power is sought and held... but like, call centres, this may soon disappear, leaving the old guard behind.

Politics and "The People" are in this same period of transition - SNP you can't unleash movements like #IndyRef and then only use it for your buddies to get a chusy job - The eventual winners, especially in Scotland because of #Indyref - may well be "New Power" where power is like a current.

Old Vs New Power is Labours problem too. Corbyn is "New Power" with his fans and will revolt if MPs get rid of him... His MPs are "Old Power" (Some, Bailrites, being further right that the Conservatives) have tried everything and they can't do it... it's a mis-match. It will be interesting to see who wins that tussle!

Politicians not only would have learned from Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, but the tech companies liked Obama and between them, they figured a few things out re political campaigning and social media.

#IndyRef  was one of the first campaigns in the UK where Social Media played a big role – all MP/MSPs were on social media and #IndyRef was being talked about everywhere online and offline and #VoteYes/#NoThanks being national water coolers.

I’ve written so much about the “Network Effects” and “Feedback Loops” this created for the SNP from 2014-2017 that you can find that elsewhere, but they made SNP Domination Inevitable for 2015.

We look to 2016/7 for the next but it’s not the UK that we look to it’s the US and to what extent did Trump learn from what Obama did with the tech companies, #IndyRef and shifting campaign spend from traditional spend to online?

The Podemos party in Spain went from unknown to the opposition within 2 years... so could a new party enter politics and, if as participatory as they are… be the 2nd largest party in Scotland/UK, I think they *Just Might* come close!

No? Disagree? Well the SNP went from #Indyref #VoteYes super stardom to... Hmm I'm not too sure what they are today in 4 years.

Proponents of the SNP may well say - a lot of hustle and good work went into getting them to that position and that is the very point of this post.

It takes a lot of hustle behind the scenes for a long time to build communities... but there is no training for this here, but successful tech companies all have community managers.

Thatcher, Blair, Cybernats… and the Future of The SNP?
Take a look at social media and the kind of rhetoric people are using… from any of the parties

As I highlighted to two of the three MPs that I have any time for at all… take a walk through Glasgow at rush hour… people are miserable!

I’m rereading Ayn Rand’s “We the Living” and it’s extremely difficult not to apply Rands 1930s Russia to Glasgow today, based on what I see and my experiences

"If they ask you, in America - Tell them that Russia is a huge cemetery and that we are all dying slowly"

Disagree? Well how about 59 of the 100 most deprived areas in the UK are in Glasgow??!!

Now it’s 100% true that Thatcher did a real job on the working classes and on Scotland… almost every new industry since the 1950s has its base in the South East of England.

And let’s not even go there with the Miners Strike and/or the impact that this had on Glasgow and the “Factory of the Empire”

Then add in a dose of “Things can only get better” with Tony Blair and his Iraq War and Gordon Brown’s ‘Sorry there’s no money’ memo to the Treasury for the incoming Government.

Whether it’s Thatcher, Blair, Brown… Every MSP/MP/Party has a valid reason to say 

“My predecessor has handed me a bum deal.” 

But that's why you're paid the big bucks (And they are big in this economy) bozo!

Whether IndyRef, The SNP, Brexit people are looking:

1)  To be heard and
 2) For things to go back to when they had more money, when their life was better*

*As people offer with criticisms of Putnam’s “Bowling Alone” were these communities better for everyone? 

Did people from ethnic minorities have a ‘sense of belonging’ in the bowling clubs, church committees and PTAs etc of the 1950s?

A recent article that highlights how much worse 30 years olds today have it so much harder than 30 year olds in the 1990s… but some people, like women, were better off.

Regardless, the elite old school boys sticking together and bailing the banks out + the innovation from tech companies, means that those days ain’t coming back… and Holyrood and Westminster are not going to listen, at least not in the way that people feel they should be heard in these days of Facebook, Twitter etc etc.

What will change this? The sad news is… the changes could already be here.

The reason I WAS (Please note the past tense) supportive of #IndyRef and the SNP?

1) The cultural conditions – for a 3 weeks period (7th-22nd Sept2014) were special
Imagine if Saint Salmond said the day after IndyRef in his ‘One Scotland’ speech we’re either

    i) Going to donate £1 from our 100,000 SNP member base to good causes, or more likely to be the case

    ii) We’ve set up a crowdfunder and are encouraging out members to continue to give like they have done with the food banks at George Square etc £1 for a One Scotland good cause campaign

2) As highlighted above they are the only party who are new enough to remember what it’s like to be the underdog and have very few seats… Until the whole sexual harassment scandal and news that the completely non-existent split and Sturgeon Vs Salmond who do not have different support bases of Old Vs Newer members.

What might one potential outcome of this non-existent different support base be? 

Well if Alex Salmond can’t rejoin the party for two years and/or is found guilty… is such an egomaniac going to slip quietly out the political scene?

An egomaniac with a passion for independence with 4,000 people contributing £100,000?

Could the crowd funder have been a test to see if public support was with him?

Did he wonder "Could I follow Trumps example and 'grab people by the pussy' have the admission on tape and still get elected... Is my support base strong enough for that? Let's crowd fund it to find out"

Could an Alex Salmond Scottish Independence Party 2.0 grow as quickly as Podemos and blame others on the 2014 failed #IndyRef attempt?

The Cameron, Boris, Gove buddies have done a good job of that one... and Boris is still there, doing and saying what he likes.       

A Fair & Just Society Vs ForFairness
So people bought into all the “Hope over fear” and “A fair and Just Society” but a society where the majority of the UKs deprived areas are in one Scottish city and the architect of the SNP’s idea of #ForFairness is… wait for it… Are you ready for this... A crowdfunder for his legal fees... against a sexual harassment case?

Well let me tell you this much all the

“We have the biggest #IndyRef march we’ve ever had!”

Tweets in the world ain’t gonna cut the mustered to see a repeat of #GE2015 for the SNP in 2022 or to get another 5% agreeing with the original #The45... if they still feel the same (And they don't!)

Never in a month of Sundays... More hustle than that will be needed to rebuild the trust that's been lost!!

Voters Can (Sometimes) Have Long Memories
I have and will NEVER vote Conservative!

The reason? Because Thatcher did to my young adult years what Blair and Cameron did to my kids young adult years… they fucked it right up!

Watching my parents struggle to make ends meet as their mortgage grew… Teachers industrial action meant they refused to do unpaid extra-curricular activities and, as many will know, the list is endless.

But between now and #GE2022 All may look hunky dory and the Independence movements' equivalent of Trumps “Deplorables” AKA the ‘Cybernats’ will continue to argue with everyone and anyone… 

Unionist Bastards (Tories), Red Tories (Labour), Unionist, Corrupt and Conspiring MSM (Because The National is so objective… News flash folks: ALL the papers lose money… ALL the papers are backed by political interests)

But, just like the shock of GE2017, including when Alex lost his seat… The SNP (And IndyRef2) may well find itself decimated.

The reason? They promised hope… but delivered none #ForFairness.

Almost 4 years on from his celebrity cult status in the run up to Indyref Alex Salmond idea of “A Fair and Just Society” under the banner of the SNPs version of the Saltire meant that 'fairness' means something different to many of us, if I knew fairness to an MP = #Team56 and a £100,000 crowdfunder I'd be Erm #NoThanks!!

Don’t blame me. I voted Yes… and I told you every step of the way how I was feeling as a voter, I also highlighted where the dangers were and how to avoid them.

SNPCivilWar
So hope The SNP MPs and supporters had fun laughing off the Civil War that never came… did you spot it though?

1)  The numbers were not there. Sept 2014 there were enough people talking about it online and that facilitated action offline… you don’t got the numbers no more for what happened in 2014 to happen again – for Holyrood or Westminster never mind #IndyRef2

2) The Civil War wasn’t Sturgeon Vs Salmond MPs… It was the silence of SNP MPs about Salmond Vs the SNP supporters who - at the moment at least - even the SNP can no longer influence in any way… even if they were brave enough to Tweet out 

“Hey that’s not how we roll round about here” 

I would not be surprised if they got the same kind of abuse everyone else did.

But the fact that the SNPs FE Minister lost her post because of something that they wrote in a blog years ago... Demonstrates precisely how much this party values it's support base beyond them keeping #Team56 in their own jobs with their volunteering as campaigners and #Cybernat duties.

Why is no one saying "Hey don't post that, it could affect your #ScotlandCan #Godo job prospects?" ...The data don't lie. That's how much the SNP - and other parties - care about their support base. Tech companies should do more about abuse? WTF!!

These Trolls, along with Salmond’s actions (The crowdfunder), the realization that after 11 years in Government and no real change can, has already (as we’ve seen with GE2017 Vs GE2015), and will see people return to their old voting habits, AS I SAID THEY WOULD IN 2015!!

So the rise and fall of The SNP support from when the Scottish Parliament opened to 2022, just over 20 years?

Cybernat/ Deplorables Or “Yes We Can”  
Is this the only outcome? Given that May and Corbyn face exactly the same issues for exactly the same reasons? People want real change and real leadership as well as the ability to participate.

If shouting for this party over that one... with none of the elected representatives taking part - whether to temper their supporters or join the conversation - then that's what these poor JAMs (otherwise known as "The People" who - Sturgeon, Davidson, May and many others know ever so well) will do.

Is there more of a "Yes We Can" that could promise to actually deliver what Obama's campaign said we could with other participating? Sure there is! 

This weekend when #SNPCivilWar was kinda trending, just like the weekend of Sept 2014, we had SNP/Independence supporters who were also tiring of the angry cybernat rhetoric... and they were saying so to their fellow supporters.

But the SNP and their MPs said nothing... just broadcast Tweets or chatting amongst themselves - Westminster online via Twitter.

Tribal Leadership, Hug Your Haters, Zombie Loyalists and New Power all books that I've recommended to the few MPs who have engaged with me in the past.

The good news for the SNP is that Labour and the Conservatives have clearly done nothing to be ready to take advantage of any SNP/IndyRef #NewPower storms when they come round? Politicans answer to this appear to be get their cheque books out to pay Cambridge Analytics?

But Facebooks latest Beta details where it’s at... and a lot can be learnt from Podemos, what people are looking for is not only for their voice, concerns and struggles to be heard… but to offer suggestions that are part of the solution.

I have solutions that I am 100% sure are would work in Education. The response you get from SNP MPs? 

Join the party… why would I affiliate myself with an organization and swear my undying loyalty when, I don’t agree with everything you do or say (After all this is the ‘political classes we’re talking about), and when there was only a spark of genius for a three week period 4 years ago – which was nothing more than a happy accident that delivered GE2015.

This organisations support base on social media also appears to be a good representation of how smug, arrogant and as uncaring the press make the SNP out to be (NB with the exception of few people I’ve engaged with).

I said to the Yes campaign Manager on the weekend of Sept 2014 what was needed… I was right and I was ignored.

President Sturgeon says “This will decide who we are as a party and as a country”

I’m glad she knows who Scotland is because I have not got a clue who Scotland is… I sure don’t feel all that “Scottish” anymore... and I def don't have any sense of belonging in Sturgeon’s Scotland.

As for deciding who the SNP is as a party, she is absolutely right, there is the chance to do what should have been done on 21/22nd Sept 2014… to reset the culture and say 

“This is what a Cybernat is: We put the #VoteYes banter to good use to have fun… to win over others with good humour, good deeds and good arguments”

In 2015 I spoke to Ian Blackford and told him to have all the good news stories curated on Declara and have his activists discuss the articles in their private team space… so they were ready for the world of 140 character politics AKA EXACTLY in line with what Facebooks latest Edu Beta is today (Could have been 4 years ahead of the curve mate!)

Instead we had a brief convo and email exchange but no real follow up or action.

Your loss Right Honorable "Scotland's Voice Will Not Be Ignored" when-I'm-at-Westminster-but-not-with-a-Scottish-pleb Mr Blackford

I know how these things would have played out over the last week and would have helped to put the “Network Effects” and “Feedback Loops” – and I can add helping with the #NewPower storm – that was Alex Salmond his sexual harassment allegations,  resignation, crowd fund, #SNPCivilWar and cybernats.

Once again, and not for the first time… It’s a shame that the SNP have not put more resources into Digital Citizenship or Community Management training.

I guess Chris vander Kuyl was right in his 2015 Scottish Learning Festival “Education lacks leadership,” it does under the SNP.

As for his Scotland lacks talent bull shit… I guess he was actually correct with that one, I just must have missed the last part, perhaps he said “Scotland lacks talent in terms of politics.”

I hope he has more success getting through to the SNP when it comes to making Scotland the most entrepreneurial country in the world… he’ll have his work cut out with such high levels of deprivation. 

The Five Sages of Decline 
Two days after GE2015 I spotted it. I spotted it because I noticed it in an organization that I continued to work at for longer than I should have.

Today when I spot it I move on… Immediately!

If my observations are correct and the SNP do lose a lot of ground in 2022 how insightful would that have been? 

To have spotted two days after a record result and record swings to the SNP (Which again, the GE2015 results was spotted by me in Sept 2014), I noticed that they had started their decline… slide further in 2017 and into oblivion in 2022?

Smug? Happy about ANYONE even stupid people like MPs with their £75k + expenses losing their job? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Not even if it was one of Margaret Ferrier, now Clare Haughey's case workers (And that's saying something! My experiences with two of Ferrier's case workers have been horrible!)

They have families and kids too... it's horrible for anyone, even greedy self interested politicans who are incompetent at their jobs to lose their livelihoods 

Feel for Alex Salmond and his “He’s wealthy man” but not relishing the thought of £100-250,000 legal fees to defend your reputation and everything he’s worked for? Sure, I can. 

He is innocent until proven guilty but the handling for all concerned, The SNP, Alex Salmond and the people supporting the crowd funder have been poor.

And I don't mean the people supporting it in a

"Don't tell me what to do with my money" kind of way...

But in a

"If he's such a great man and you had so much money to donate... why not cover the less controversial campaign fund crowd funder that didn't meet it's £5,000 target for GE2017"

Kind of way

"Why didn't people vote to return him to Westminster in 2017?"

How many more shocks like that are to come for the SNP? 

"No one saw it coming" Alex Salmond about the 2017 election result, HEY I DID! YOU JUST DIDN'T LISTEN. AT ALL!

"GE2022 SNP - 6 seats... No one saw it coming" President Sturgeon (Or whoever replaces her after all the non-infighting.

Most definately not saying that's what WILL happen but, if not handled well in the next few weeks, it may well be a very real possibility.

Can't see my 15 or 17 Year old voting Conservative or Labour given the decisions they took that meant they grew up under their "Austerity" and "Credit Crunch"

I wonder what they'll make of The SNP and the continually excuse of "It's Westminster's fault" as valid as that may well be... their view might be

"Well why have a Scottish Parliament if you can argue your way into significance... isn't debating what you do for a living?"

Core Values
So why write this if I'm no longer supportive of this party? Well like it or not... that goes for me and the Cybernats who have told me what they think of these observations... I live in Scotland.

You'll also find my core values on my website.

I might not be a fan of the SNP or living in their Scotland, but if I can "Do a 5 min favour" "Show my Friednship First" and "Collaborate" (Even with people I'm not too keen on and/or when my voice is not heard) then I will.

The SNP 2014-2018 highlights that scaling isn't easy and that if the culture and/or trust goes... You're gonna have problems.

John Swinney and/or Jamie Hepburn (Or whoever is in charge of Edu and reskilling the workforce), happy to chat about my own experiences transitioning from call centres and sales to Community Management.

Friday, 31 August 2018

SNP: From Proponent to Detractor... And Education

In the week that
  • Alex Salmond demonstrated that the SNP is built on his ego
  • I heard of Facebook's latest Edu Beta initiative
  • The CBI encouraged Nicola Sturgeon to focus on upskilling the workforce
This post is written using the discourse that our politicians have created by not curbing the comments of their supporters and neglecting to put more focus on Digital Citizenship in education

(Kids I would not read this one... it contains the kind of language that politicians and their supporters use on social media).

In my using core values to identify a brand voice post I highlighted how, when and why I might go from proponent to detractor and, ironically enough, was written because the then SNP Education Secretary asked me to pitch in... I'd think twice about responding to such a request today!


To any rational person with an interest in Scottish Education or Politics I'd recommend that you take a look at Adam Grants Ted Talk" and how "Disagreeable Givers" are the most undervalued in any organisations

And/or Jay Baer's "Hug Your Haters" and how the 5% who care enough to come back to you could be what the other 95% are thinking but don't care enough to say anything at all. The silent majority will just quietly return to their old voting habits...And the 'unprecedented record swings' will be a shock to everyone on the day.

My experiences have been horrendous ones! I went into one job at entry level and worked my way up to a wage that was in the top 7% of the UK population... then things went a little pear shaped. As some have put it, it's like the plot of a horrible film.

But everywhere I look, in UK Further Education, Scotland and our young people, many are about to experience similar situations as changes in the world of work will affect them. I have done what I can to make people aware of this (As limited as the attempts have been - with £0, no voice and a 5 year old laptop).

I would HATE for anyone else to go through this, but all of the people above - FE, 4% of the workforce are work at call centres and young people who are already marginalised will be even more so. It's a lonely - and depressing - journey.

Homeless and SNP Detractor

Let me get this in before the President Sturgeon and Comrade Salmond's cybernat supporters do:

I am a worthless piece of shit... I know this already. 

Angry? I sure am angry... About as angry as a President who wakes up in the morning and logs onto Twitter! Or need a more #IndyRef example? Rage? It's well beyond rage!



For proponents of the #YouMatter movement, try telling yourself you have anything of value to offer when you move one box at a time via First Bus because:
  • You can't afford a van because Tony Blair & Gordon Brown wreck the economy, Cameron wipes out any good work from Every Child Matters for his 'Big Society,' then Vince Cable and the Government's NRAM repossess your house.

    The shame, embarrassment and feeling of worthlessness and failure   being one of the "Young Aspirational Families" that David Cameron was an advocate of... to presenting yourself as homeless, isn't an enjoyable one.
  • The credit rating you get as a result of Vince's decisions to help the banks that made money from these toxic mortgages and THEN made money by betting that people would not be able to keep up their payments, what the fuck were you thinking Vince and NRAM?!
For proponents of the SNP, of which I was an ardent supporter in 2014 & 2015, the Cybernats who disagree with my experiences and how I internalise them... they are my experiences and you can go fuck yourself right off and/or follow the lead of those great political 'leaders' of our day, Trump & Salmond, and go grab a woman by the pussy and they crowd fund a sexual harassment case if you disagree with my experiences.

Oh what's that? Oh you've already supported the sexual harassment crowd fund of a rather wealthy individual? Good for you! Come on #IndyRef2! You can do it... go piss everyone that disagrees with you off and see if that helps bring #The45 up to the required level.

Clearly the SNP should have introduced early assessments years ago as you're all shit at maths! you're English and critical thinking isn't so great either ;)

Not only have I accurately predicted every election since 2015... But I've tried to tell people at The SNP (And other parties) what I saw before, during and after their grand plans and how they were headed for trouble... but have been astutely ignored.

Whether in education with projects like Gazelle, FELTAG, implementing ideas from the Scottish Learning Festival or in the world of politics, my insights have been accurate.

Politics Vs Tech Companies
For a very long time I've felt that tech companies would do more in education than the political classes ever would.

We saw this with Pokemon Go and how it did more in 24 hours to get people up and about then anything that the politicians did in years. IMHO we also see this with Microsoft in Scottish Education too.


People celebrated when social media affected change with far off places like the Arab Spring... But we all seem less impressed with what it's done closer to home with the division that it's created with the divisive campaigns of Trump, Brexit and the Scottish Independence Referendum.

The first of these was the Scottish Independence referendum and IMHO the leadership needed from the SNP the weekend after Sept 2014 was, as it has been for the last 11 years... Missing.

When I first joined Social Media it was a productive and collaborative space. But it would appear that the takers/fakers did what they did best -> They took advantage of the collaborative space and made it work for them... we only need look at egomaniacs like Trump and Salmond with his £100,000 crowd fund to see this.

In 1997 Murdoch reported that "It's the Sun whot won it"
In 2017 Trumps campaign team said they would not have won if it wasn't for facebook

Idiots* like Alex Chalk and FELTAG's Matt Hancock say that "Tech Companies need to do more" and today's papers include the rise of politicans getting abuse on social media... but, as I continually ask, what do they do to temper their own supporters?

Meanwhile members of their party go about (For what appears to be to create EVEN MORE division for the purpose of power and personal gain) saying that people in Burkas look like letterboxes, I think there's far more of an argument for politicians to do more to curb their supporters behaviour.

*If David Cameron can call his Education Secretary a lunatic then I assume it's OK to call the FELTAG architect an idiot - was 50% of all FE College courses online by 2017? On track for all course material to be online by 2020? What's that? No? Oh it all 'Evolved' did it? Cool! Great work! Apologies, you're as much of a genius as Cameron says that his Education Secretary was!

No Voice
There have been two articles that have had a HUGE impression on me over the last few years

Lost in the Ghetto"One of the terrible fates that can befall a human being is to be born intelligent or sensitive in an English slum. It is like a long, slow, exquisite torture devised by a sadistic deity from whose malevolent clutches escape is almost impossible"

Collaborate Vs Collaborate “When you obsess about the customer, you end up defeating your competition as a byproduct,” said K.R. Sridhar, the founder of Bloom Energy, a fuel-cell company. “When you are just obsessed about the competition, you end up killing yourself” as a byproduct — “because you are not focused on the customer.”

The weekend following the #IndyRef result I tried desperately to tell people at the SNP that they needed to "Chase the #NewPower Storm" of #The45/The45Plus, they didn't do this... and are paying the price today with the trolls call themselves SNP/Independence supporters.

One irony is that I would not be surprised if the very people who probably denounced Trump and his "grab them by the pussy" comments have funded Salmonds crowd funder... go figure!

In 2015 the then Education Secretary asked me to pitch in with her Education Consultation... I did this, then got zero support and the arrogant woman could not even bring herself to thank the people that I got involved with the initiative... If there's one thing that winds me up it's people's time and efforts not being acknowledged!

Also in 2015 I wrote to my elected representative on a personal issue and, despite following up on some 10 occasions, got NO REPLY AT ALL, that is of course not until the 2017 "Begging Letter Phase" of the political calendar comes round and a case worker emails to say they

"Feel my comments on social media are unfair" but they could not (and can not!) produce a reply to my query. THEY dropped the ball on a serious issue, one where intervention *Just might* have helped... And I'm the one being unfair? Get to FUCK Margaret Ferrier and your case workers!

If you were to take a look at Margaret Ferrier's Twitter feed or 2017 campaign material SNP, Tories and Labour are mentioned WAY MORE than the word "constituent" (Again the data doesn't lie... Wasn't one bit surprised when she lost her seat, I articulated what clearly others felt about the representation, compare that with the offer of help in March 2015).

I voted for the SNP in 2014 & 2015, spoilt my paper in 2016 and voted Labour in 2017.


2017 despite doing what I can to nudge the needle forward in Scottish education with things that I feel are important (And which are in line with the 'Fine Speeches' at their fancy ass conferences) under trying circumstances, you get no assistance and nothing but snark from your elected representatives CASE WORKERS... And that MSP is responsible for the nations Mental Health agenda... For fuck's sake! No wonder politicians get trolled online when they are this incompetent!!

At all stages I have tried to make people aware of what I've seen and experienced.

SNP and Education
I have three kids in the education system. Two of these kids are coming to the end of their education and not only do they have a dim view of their experiences, but:

1) "All the good teachers leave" is one observation, and according to them
2) EVEN THEIR OWN TEACHERS have said "We are not preparing you for the future of work"

For the majority of their time in education this has been an SNP administration.

(Note to the idiot at Education Scotland who sent me a response to correspondence to John Swinney, My kids are in education now, today... not in 2030! #ScotlandIsNow #ScotlandCan #GoDo and all that shit! Go fucking fix this stuff today, now, not tomorrow and not in 10 years time)

Alex Salmond & Crowd Funding
Just how ridiculous is education policy Vs what our politicans do?

I've written a number of times on this blog about the prevalence of Twitter in Scottish/UK and US politics Vs how underused it is in education.

But Nicola's former Mentor-Turned-Stay-Away-From-Eck's Crowd Funder takes this to another level entirely!

When on the New Enterprise Allowance the advice from People's Plus (A Nottingham based company... #GoDo!) about if you had a bad credit rating:

"Do something about it" No shit Sherlock... and how do you propose you that? Silence. What great advice... If you're coming all the from Nottingham I wish you'd sent Robin Hood instead of the Sheriffs round!

When I struggled to raise finance I told my Work Coach, I might try a crowd funder... the response?

"What's crowd funding?"

I'm guessing she know what it is, and how effective it can be.

But a word of warning... as Nicola's calls to support a rape crisis crowd fund, if you lack the popularity, or the celeb status of Alex Salmond and/or what Lewis Termin and Malcolm Gladwell find in the "Cultural Advantage" of the Middle Classes don't fall into the trap that I did!!

Invisible Children, SnapChat, Podemos & New Power
The book New Power has helped me SO MUCH to see how, why and where I went wrong and hope that this might help others who believe that they can be marginalised and follow the examples of the college drop outs who create the next big thing that is portrayed in the media.

There is a certain DNA to the Tech and EdTech companies that become successful and, if others try to follow their example without some of those ingredients... they will fail!

New Power highlights this very well, something that the Alex Salmond  crowd funder exemplifies.
  • The Invisible Children example = they needed the "look at me, looks at me" celebs who like the sound of their own voice to get involved before the TV networks picked the story up.
  • SnapChat = College drop outs and founders who have a spat and fall out (Waves to Nicola and Alex), they dropped out of PRIVILEGED colleges! I'm sure that the connections that Mum and Dad had or connection at college and/or their fraternity would have seen them succeed at no matter what they did!
  • Pablo Iglesias & Podemos = Became a leading political party in Spain in record time, putting social media - and participatory politics - to good use, but Pablo also saw the value that the same main stream media that Cybernats hate today, was necessary.
Btw if (And I doubt it is the case - as Alex Salmond came to the defense of Bath based Wings Over Scotland - all the way from England???!!) the SNP did want to address the issue of their 'Cybernat' problem, New Power details how to go about doing this.

The Well & Facebook
In 2015 I read Kate Hefner's book about Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant's early online community called "The Well," and a comment that Howard Reingold (Michelle Cordy's "That's how it works, Michelle" mentor from the ISTE 2016 closing keynote) made.

I noticed from Facebook's Edu beta announcement that my assessment was not wrong... and what did I do with this information when I discovered it?

Why I shared it with my Scottish Edu contacts and political ones way back in 2015... Just ask the head of the SNP at Westminster Ian Blackford.... Don't blame me! I voted Yes, and I tried to share what I'd discovered as I tried to make the transition from sales to community management.

I also told you when, where, how and why I became less and less supportive of the SNP... you arrogant pricks.

Lost in the Ghetto... Alone, but there are lots of us
I would encourage ANY leader to read the following articles
If the last article is correct and a record like this along with the hubris, arrogance and divisions of the SNP continue in this way it will be worse than losing power, it just might be a return to the same levels of representation as the 1970s.

If Ms Sturgeon is reading this I doubt if she will recall but we met at the 1997 Count when I canvassed for Jim Byrn, wasn't a great night was it... what was it 6 seats?

The fact that the cultural conditions existed for a few weeks in 2014 that could have brought about the kind of unheard of positive changes, but were squandered is a disgrace.

Whatever is in store for the Rah! Rah! Rah! Independence! Independence! Independence! Brigade it is extremely unlikely that this culture will return - not impossible, but will take the kind of hustle that anyone you try to talk to about this will scratch their heads and say "I don't get it."

This takes use back to the topic at the start of this post and the reason tech companies will do more than politicans can be found in Peter Thiel's advice.
Political Genius?
There is a scenario where Alex Salmond's crowdfunder is a stroke of genius, but I made the mistake of thinking that events leading up to Aug/Sept 2014 were intentional but now know that it was a happy accident for the SNP... but just in case:

If taking lessons from Trump and Boris and is looking for ways to create a crisis to further polarize and divide the country and/or following Steve Jobs example with “Let’s Be Pirates” against his own organization to create and reset the culture to affect change, then his crowd funder could be a political master stroke… this might prove beneficial to SNP MPs, but creating even more divisions and a political landscape more like today's US politics in Scotland to add to the already deeply concerning ‘Cybernat’ problem would do nothing for the plebs.

How big is the cybernat problem? People paying £100,000+ for a crowd funder to someone who no doubt is making above the national average to cover fees against sexual harassment? I’d say that’s a pretty big problem to address!

But who cares, as long as more of the people with your colour of shiny badge makes it back into their cushy jobs at Holyrood and Westminster, fuck the plebs and jams, right?

That has most certainly been the case in my experience.