18 Nov

‘Make America Great Again’ – why are liberals losing the war of soundbites?

Steven Poole’s recent Guardian article, ‘Make America Great Again’ – why are liberals losing the war of soundbites? is a timely look at some of the big debates that we think need to be happening in green and environmental circles, if we are to halt the seemingly inexorable rise of the Right and its increasingly overt authoritarian, prejudicial and climate change denying platform. We live in scary times, and as Poole’s article notes, it is probably naive for us to believe we can ‘frame’ our way into the sustainable future we want to inhabit. However, we think that its likely to be equally naive for us to assume that bad framing has played no part in the slow collapse (with a few notable and important exceptions) of leftist politics in the Global North. With that in mind, we welcome Poole’s article, which provides a good overview of some of the most important contributions to this debate.

Available to read at: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/13/make-america-great-again-why-are-liberals-losing-the-war-of-soundbites

06 Jul

Matt Wootton, lost at sea in the Pacific

It breaks my heart to have to tell you that Matt is missing, presumed-dead. Matt was on board a yacht that vanished in a storm, a month ago: www.stuff.co.nz/national/8884399/Search-for-missing-yacht-Nina-called-off

See also the following BBC story…For a succinct reminder of Matt’s brilliance as a reframer, and of his influence in this capacity in the past ten years or so in the history of the Green Party, the account offered in this video here is useful: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-23139631

Matt and I had plans to turn ‘Green Words Workshop’ into a consultancy. Tragically, that is now unlikely to happen. What I DO plan to do – though I may need help to complete the project – is to finish the book that Matt and I were working on on green reframing and values. The working title is THE VALUES REVOLUTION.

This site for now stands as a reminder of Matt’s legacy in this area. I hope that in future we can celebrate his brilliance and his incredible achievements in his 35 years with the book just mentioned, and much more besides.

Watch this space.


16 Apr

The true story of a marketing campaign that sparked a revolution: what we can learn from Chile’s struggle for democracy and the new movie about it: “No”

It was fortunate that a Chilean friend last week asked me to go see the new film “No” starring Gael García Bernal (who played “Che” Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries).

View trailer here

“No” dramatically tells the story of the national referendum that took place in Chile in 1988. A bizarre proposition by Western standards, the question boiled down to whether to continue with dictatorship: “yes” or “no”. To me the film itself is extremely well done in a way that makes its subject completely relevant today: its authentic details do not detract from a fast-moving storyline; the characters and language are realistic and believable, the dilemmas understandable and well-illustrated, the drama never under or overplayed. Excitingly, some real historical figures play cameos of their younger selves, as the film blends historical campaign footage with fiction (for this reason the whole movie was shot with late 80s TV news cameras). Partly because of the presence of historical figures in an advisory capacity, the movie’s faithfulness to real dramas is extremely impressive.

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14 Mar

How to talk about our Moral/Political Opponents

It’s a tricky business talking about political enemies, and indeed simply addressing most political issues, which are saturated with questions of who’s wrong/who’s right/what’s wrong/what’s right. In order to ensure we are championing our values, and not those of our opponents, it’s necessary to keep in mind at all times what our values are, and how their variations function. I’ve already made an everyday-language reinterpretation of George Lakoff’s Strict and Nurturant values, which I repost directly below. But below them I have extrapolated some new personal characteristics of their opposites, to make it clearer what us progressives need to do, and what to not do. Here are the positive statements of the two moral systems:

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29 Dec

Book review: “The Little Blue Book” by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling

I’ve been at sea for a while, literally; on a sailboat in the islands of the South Pacific. It was a strange contrast to be under the tropical sun reading George Lakoff’s latest book, co-authored with a student of his, Elisabeth Wehling. But although the context is almost exclusively US, the lessons of George Lakoff’s work are universal and, in my view, essential reading for any wishing to change the world for the better. I’m speaking of Lakoff’s work in general. This new book, unfortunately, as the review here shows, is somewhat of an exception.

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