On 23 June, in voting to leave the EU, the British electorate initiated a process of far-reaching, largely unpredictable change in Britain's constitutional, legal and commercial arrangements. The legislation that set up the referendum had failed to specify how its result should be handled or interpreted.
Over recent months the media has paid particular attention to the fact that disadvantaged working class white boys are five times less likely to go to university than those from the most advantaged backgrounds. However, few seem to acknowledge that that only 5 per cent of young care leavers went to university last year.
My first instinct when discovering that we will now leave the EU was dismay and shock. Next was concern: what lies ahead? Nobody can say. There are certainly lots of things to worry about. But as managing director of an executive coaching consultancy that specialises in Parental Transition coaching, my biggest concern was that the far-sighted parental rights won over the last 40 years, and which now contribute so much to workplace gender equality, might unravel.
When I speak to people who have been homeless about their experience of seeking help from their local council, they often describe feelings of utter frustration and despair. Too many people are not being served by the current legal framework which requires councils to offer accommodation to homeless households, but only in limited circumstances.
From 29 December, 'controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship' will become illegal. It does not need to be physically violent; it does not even need to be physically threatening, but it is abuse. From now, you can be tried in a criminal court and face up to five years in prison if found guilty of it.
Limiting internet use will also negatively affect young people's social lives; we live in an era where social media makes up the fabric of social interaction. That which is optional for an older generation is as natural and as necessary as a telephone for today's youth, and offers opportunities for creativity and expression that it is simply wrong to curtail.
The new century has seen two great reforms of organizational life in the UK, in the form of new Acts of Parliament that review and consolidate all the relevant existing legislation. The first was the Companies Act 2006, which followed a lengthy Company Law Review. The second was the Charities Act 2011.
No law alone can make one person change their opinion of another person, and just adding law after law to try to will not help anyone, and may actually cause harm and resentment. Instead, we need to get our hands dirty and actually step by step, person by person, create better understanding and behaviour, that could result in better attitudes if we play our cards right.
While employers can refuse the request if it is considered detrimental to business interests - for example, it may incur extra staff costs - the right to appeal is also built into the guidelines and feedback is mandatory, giving employees the opportunity to demonstrate why their request should be granted. If organised properly, flexible working hours CAN be good for business.
Although much has been achieved by the 7th legislature, the work is far from complete. Europe has yet to resume full economic growth, many banks are still ailing and millions continue to be unemployed. The results of the European elections in May will not only determine the direction the EU will take, but how it will tackle these issues.
People may be happy to be seen as a fun kind of tipsy at a party, but nobody wants to be a drunk-driver.... Playing with our own safety is something that must remain personal choice, but the second it endangers somebody else, anybody else, this is the time for the state, and society, to step in. Smoking anywhere in public must become as unacceptable as drink driving.
Any sensible adult knows that one should not smoke around children and especially when one is in an enclosed space such as a car or even in the same room; however do we really need legal legislation for this? There are a number of issues that we need clarification on, but we also must ask how the police are going to enforce this law?
Science tells us that no particular adverse weather event either can or should be put down to climate change. That is just not the way climate change works. However, science also tells us that climate change will certainly bring an increase in both the frequency and severity of adverse weather events in general.