Something's happening. But our political elite haven't quite grasped it yet. The SNP surge, the rise of UKIP and the Greens, calls for devolution for English cities and a luvvie-wuvvie-lution from Russell Brand have left the established Westminster parties confused. How can they respond to such diverse social critiques? It's difficult to fight off attacks from all angles...
The Special Relationship moves beyond its status as one of London's most extraordinary literary events to become a force for change in the lives of some of the city's most vulnerable people. All proceeds raised next Tuesday evening at The Book Club in Shoreditch will be given to a ground-breaking new charitable organisation.
Remember the next time you walk past a person sitting in a shop doorway that he or she isn't sitting there in the wind and rain as a lifestyle choice. They are there because something went wrong in their life and they are struggling to deal with it. They are someone's son, daughter, mother, brother or father. They could be yours!
Nigel is a veteran and pioneer of social enterprise and social finance; in fact, he was working in these spaces well before they even had names. He is the Chairman of The Big Issue, a social enterprise founded in 1991 enabling homeless individuals in the UK to earn a living, and the CEO of Big Issue Invest, a social investment business founded in 2005 that provides finance to social enterprises.
The UK is on the brink of a sea change. When it comes to starting a business, technology has levelled the playing field, opening up new opportunities for young people to drive change. More than half of those in the UK aged 18-25 want to set up their own business and almost one in six are now in the process of doing so, compared with less than one in ten only a year ago.
My starting point as Chief Executive was what if this could be a place where the pleasures and needs of one group may facilitate the dreams of others? And that this should be at the forefront of all our organisational decisions, from the training we offer to the members that join, the networks they bring with them, the cultural programming we create and the suppliers we choose to work with.
Last week I was invited to give evidence to the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) for its enquiry on citizens and public services. This is an important enquiry and has the opportunity to address some fundamental questions about the nature of our public services, and the Government's 'reform' and public expenditure programmes.