Rishi Sunak’s incredibly strong reasons why you want to go back to the office


26th March 2021

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RISHI here, the Robin to Boris’s Batman. And I’m battling on behalf of you, the workers desperate to go back to the office. Here’s why: 

You need that company culture

How can you be part of a company’s rich, thriving culture, like a yoghurt forgotten in a bag, when you’re only Zooming in? You need to be there, boots on the ground, to see your boss leaving at 3.30pm every Friday, or to sign that leaving card for Sienna who got made redundant and had her tasks given to you for no extra money. There’s no substitute.

You could quit

Man Takes Away Toy From Pet Dog For Bedtime, Other Dog Immediately Brings It Back




If you get used to the relative comfort of working from home without a three-hour commute costing £180 per week, you might lose your taste for the office grind altogether. Before you know it you’ll be quitting your job for something more fulfilling, and who’s going to pay the train company for your rip-off season ticket then?

You need to riff

God, I miss the riffing. You know? The business riffing that makes the office environment so thrilling? When two people pass in a corridor, suddenly feel that chemistry and start riffing, and within minutes they’ve come up with a bold new B2B marketing concept? You don’t know that? I pity you. 

You need to team-build

A good team is like a family, only better because it’s more economically productive. Admit it, your life has been empty since you stopped hearing about Marie’s husband’s back problems, Sarah’s dachshund’s ear infection, why Rob can’t make the tea and the refund Kev’s struggling to get from eBay. That’s where success is built. 

You need to support Conservative donors who own London office buildings

And just as important as your immediate team is the wider team; the team of developers, landlords and extortionate coffee chains who work invisibly to make your office possible. Never asking for thanks or acknowledgement, just your rent and the daily £4.85 for your venti latte. You need to show them you care. And stop them hassling me on the phone daily.

Obsession with work? Not I

Work: A History of How We Spend Our Time
James Suzman
Bloomsbury, £12.99, pp464

The epigraph for anthropologist James Suzman’s magisterial examination of the role work plays in our lives is aptly taken from Larkin’s poem Toads – “why should I let the toad work/ Squat on my life?” Suzman reassesses everyday labour not as a necessity performed to earn money, but as something that dominates and even destroys our lives. He contrasts our stress with the happier lives of tribesmen and our pre-technological ancestors and asks, provocatively, whether the current pandemic might have the unexpected upside of allowing us to change our destructive obsession with work.

from the Grauniad.

Hah! only the so-called ‘professional’ class (actually, overseers, gatekeepers, soft police, middlemen, scammers, rentiers and pompous priests) have this obsession; the ruling classes and the serfs do not. The true middle class definitional obsession: that their work is meaningful.

UBERIFICATION … NHS mental health therapists pressurised to exaggerate success rates, expert claims | The Independent

‘Actual human experience was secondary to creating data that would shore up the evidence base for the model to guarantee further investment,’ says one
— Read on www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-therapists-patients-manipulate-data-b1908629.html

How to blame other people for f**king up at work

ARE you always getting things wrong at work but don’t fancy being unemployed? Read our guide to shifting the blame.

Economist Brian Easton says trying to organise the electricity system around a competition model based on financial markets does not make sense | interest.co.nz


Economist Brian Easton says trying to organise the electricity system around a competition model based on financial markets does not make sense
— Read on www.interest.co.nz/opinion/111881/economist-brian-easton-says-trying-organise-electricity-system-around-competition

Politics: the scum on the waters of change


Thoreau on the Long Cycles of Social Change and the Importance of Not Mistaking Politics for Progress

“One of Thoreau’s most countercultural yet incisive points is that true social reform has little to do with politics, for genuine cultural change operates on cycles far longer and more invisible than the perpetual churning of immediacies with which the political state and the political conscience are occupied. Rather than dueling with petty surface facts, as politics is apt to, the true revolutionary and reformer dwells in humanity’s largest truths, aiming to transfigure the deepest strata of reality.”

State Charges 77-Year-Old for ‘Practicing Engineering Without a License’

A retired North Carolina engineer volunteered his professional opinion during a lawsuit, now the state says he’s in trouble for practicing engineering without a license.
— Read on www.vice.com/en/article/n7bdn8/state-charges-77-year-old-for-practicing-engineering-without-a-license

1984 is finally here.

Message found in a bottle of snake oil, in the Sargasso sea…

A friend of mine said, in a lovely,erudite presentation to some very smart folk:

“a weakness of my current thinking is a lack of explicitly encompassing the group, the social.”

Totally agree, we all lack this.

Re-examine page 49 of ‘Navigating Complexity: the essential guide to complexity theory in business and management’, written by myself.

Then think about that botanical nostrum – Early Years textbooks teach that there are three kinds of play in young humans and many mammals: 

  • individual play
  • parallel play
  • social play

Know that this is botany – classifying plants by the shape of their leaves. We observe the spots of a leopard, but what is the mechanism that creates them?

What are the primitives, the atomic irreducible processes that underly the phenomena?

We do not have a language to describe phenomena in groups. I  suspect they are incommensurable, like weather prediction after Lorenz.

We do not have a language to describe phenomena in groups.

This has hamstrung playwork, education, professional football, orchestral performance, NASA budgetary oversight inquiries, Air Accident Investigation, Corporate Fraud Investigation, etcetera etcetera.

There are clues in the Miles Davis approach to group play.

There are clues in Taoism, and Zen.

But as Sapir, Whof and Wittgenstein, and probably Gibson (JJ not W) would tell you, language shapes thought and we do not have the language. 

Try explaining how to put oil into a car without using any car-related, or engine-related words. Go on, try it. Write it down, now go through it and strike out any car-related and engine-related words that crept in. We don’t have a big enough RAM, our short-term memory, to hold even one sentence of the resulting tedious arm-waving stuttering verbiage.

Why doesn’t the world move when I shake my head?


M’learned friend also said:

“This has many implications, but that main one is that we should judge education by the value created for stakeholders (laudate Tom) – this is fittingly complex and circular. 


Very pleased that you rate teecha Tom.

Not stakeholders, feck stakeholders. Leave that to the Tory Goovey Gradgrindians.

I  think you might mean participants? If so then I‘ll semi-agree.

How would you judge a Beth Chatto garden? Answer that and you’ll know how to judge education .


Read Seedstock by Frank Herbert… full text here… https://momentoftime.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/seed-stock-frank-herbert/

I  cannot link to that story without rereading it, and when I  reread it, I  cannot help but be moved to tears.


Koan for you: “how can we value things without judging them?” asked the abbot.

Answers on a postcard to my fastness by Ruabon mountain, please, or via ‘e-mail’.


“It was a failure to think critically…”

“Let us pray, now, for science,” intoned a New York Times columnist back at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. The title of his article laid down the foundational faith of Trump-era liberalism: “Coronavirus is What You Get When You Ignore Science.”

“Ten months later, at the end of a scary article about the history of “gain of function” research and its possible role in the still ongoing Covid pandemic, Nicholson Baker wrote as follows: “This may be the great scientific meta-experiment of the 21st century. Could a world full of scientists do all kinds of reckless recombinant things with viral diseases for many years and successfully avoid a serious outbreak? The hypothesis was that, yes, it was doable. The risk was worth taking. There would be no pandemic.”

“Except there was. If it does indeed turn out that the lab-leak hypothesis is the right explanation for how it began — that the common people of the world have been forced into a real-life lab experiment, at tremendous cost — there is a moral earthquake on the way.

“Because if the hypothesis is right, it will soon start to dawn on people that our mistake was not insufficient reverence for scientists, or inadequate respect for expertise, or not enough censorship on Facebook. It was a failure to think critically about all of the above, to understand that there is no such thing as absolute expertise. Think of all the disasters of recent years: economic neoliberalism, destructive trade policies, the Iraq War, the housing bubble, banks that are “too big to fail,” mortgage-backed securities, the Hillary Clinton campaign of 2016 — all of these disasters brought to you by the total, self-assured unanimity of the highly educated people who are supposed to know what they’re doing, plus the total complacency of the highly educated people who are supposed to be supervising them.”

Let’s make a distinction between:

1. ‘ignoring science’, which implies believing in something other than science, and,

2. ‘believing in science’, and

3. ‘not believing in things at all’.

By which I mean, not believing anything anyone says until you have thought about it. Which implies understanding how science works, which implies possessing the skill of ‘thinking critically’ about something.


People don’t like doing it.

It’s easier to believe, because then you don’t have to think.

Until something bad happens. Like Covid.

So if Covid escaped from a lab, who can we trust?

Answer, don’t trust anyone, gather information and think.

Thinking is underrated. ‘They’ don’t want you to do it, which is OK, but only if ‘they’ are doing the thinking for you.

Turns out they were lazy, and didn’t think.

And millions died.

Dr. Ian Malcolm :

“Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Jurassic Park (1993) – Jeff Goldblum as Malcolm – IMDb

Like him, i don’t care if you think it’s biscuit tin art, this is the best most human response to Covid

These pictures, by a man from Bradford who deliberately failed all his other classes in order to get into the art class, are sublime.


Intersectional Torturers – Caitlin Johnstone


Brilliant writing. Read to the end. Brilliant sociopath riff.

No, I am not woke. My pronouns are fee, fi and fo and not fum.


They need more training (lessons will be learned)

I used to think that. I used to think that training was good. Then I started to have doubts and then I found finite and Infinite Games by James Cause. “Education is what’s left over after training” I think he said. And “All training is about the past, education is about the future” and i realised that training want the answer.

American cops don’t kneel on black necks for nine minutes because they haven’t been properly trained. They do it because they have an attitude towards other human beings. Also, driving around dressed like SWAT-style Starwars stormtroopers might have a negative affect on community-minded bonhomie.

Somebody, some CEO, think it was Jack Welch, CEO of General Electrics, I think said “Hire for attitude; all the rest can be learned on the job.” Notice he said learned.

Learning on the job, very effective. But, unlike training, which these days is mostly Gradgrindian instruction anyway, you can’t control what they learn on the job. You can’t control what people learn, full stop.

Maybe they’ll learn to accept bribes, you know, free doughnuts and coffee, and maybe later, brown envelopes.

You need to police them.

See what i did there? Policing the police. Quis custodiet custodiens? Who watches the watchmen?

In this case the answer is quite simple, managers. Managers exist to manage their workforce. When they’re not asleep after free doughnuts.

Haven’t seen any managers in the dock alongside George Floyd’s state-sponsored murderer.

What I’m saying is, too many cops have the wrong attitude and you can’t change attitudes with fecking Powerpoint slides.

Maybe you need to manage what they learn.

Because lessons won’t be learnt. Mainly because that sentence parses out as “the results of a training event will permanently change behaviour in the targeted cohort”

What are these lessons? Who is learning them?

I memorised the 8 times table and the King’s of Queens of England. I learned my lessons. They taught me to hate history, a parade of robbing scumbags, or so it seemed to me at the time. Quite like that Lucy Worseley on the telly don’t dress-up, mind. Posh people on the BBC, it’s like the 1950s again. Is rickets back yet? Dolly blue?

Yes, lessons will be learned. They need more training.

Kill me now.

No not you officer, it’s just a figure of speech, please don’t.