Author Archives: simon

Labour Higher Education Policy or Cynical Vote Grab?

So, Labour is planning to reduce fees for University students from £9000 to £6000. Well let’s ask a question and toss a coin. Is Labour’s announcement a sensible approach to the funding of Higher Education? Or is it just a … Continue reading

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Better Boards: Chairman’s role involves ‘personal discomfort’

This appeared in the Financial Times on 27th June 2013 There are times when those of us who live non-executive lives wonder whether we really make any difference at all. Business failures are a non-executive’s worst nightmare, and avoiding them … Continue reading

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Dame Clara Furse has been in banking one way or another all her working life. She was the first woman to run the stock exchange. She ran one of the other Exchanges before that. She was an MD at UBS, … Continue reading

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I had an interesting challenge the other day

I had an interesting challenge the other day. I was asked to speak to 350 people in the construction trade. They were mostly men and by the time I spoke they were all still standing up after two previous speeches. … Continue reading

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Thomas the Tank Engine and treading on eggs shells

I read something today, which sparked some reflections on an issue that comes up constantly when our company astar-fanshawe ( is working with organisations.  It is that there is a great deal of unease and uncertainty about language in relation … Continue reading

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Gaydar is Bad for Your Health

I met someone the other day. Well I say I met him. I didn’t meet him in any accepted human sense of the word. I “met” him online. On Gaydar. We “chatted”. No we didn’t. We typed. We had no … Continue reading

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Parody of Democracy

The Guardian, Wednesday March 5 2008 For very good reason, there is much soul searching and hand-wringing about local councils and councillors. The recent Councillors Commission was debated at a Local Government Association conference last week. And on Friday, London … Continue reading

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Isra – a thoroughly modern muslim

This is a conversation I have had in two halves with a young Muslim woman. The first half was at a conference in front of an audience of youth workers. The second was on the phone last week. Like most … Continue reading

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Leicester – city of no surprises

I went to a vegetarian restaurant the other day. (Bear with me on this.) The food was terrific. But more than that, Halli Restaurant somehow summed up the idea of a plural city, a symbol of a very modern take … Continue reading

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So the Bishop gets of for actually hurting somebody’s life and the three foul mouthed, aggressive Muslims go to gaol despite the fact that they just shouted nasty things and offended everyone. Shouldn’t the bishop go to prison and the … Continue reading

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