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Blogs

Blogs posted by Co-operatives UK staff, members or supporter organisations.

 

Rebooting democracy? The case for a citizens constitutional convention.

I was part of a messy Moral Maze programme on Radio 4 this evening. The focus was whether there was a duty to vote.

My sense is yes, in the simple sense that if you vote, you are entitled to feel good about it. You are getting involved. If there was no sense that voting was right to do, then there might be no voting and if no voting, then we will have no democracy.

What Can Co-operatives Learn From The Lean Startup Model?

Bill Olivier is Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Bolton and explores what the co-operative sector could learn from the lean startup model in this blog written for Co-operatives UK.
 

Farmer co-ops – a new programme starting soon

The first co-operatives formed around food and it is a source of new co-operation today. Later this year, Co-operatives UK will be starting a new programme of support for agricultural co-ops.
There are around 222,000 farm holdings in the UK. As a nation, we eat around half of what we produce, and if crisis hit, we could produce much, but not all of what we would need to get by.

A letter from a century ago…I can hear the shells falling

I have been over with my mum and sorting out dusty boxes, one of which turns out to have been sorted well before I was born. It contains letters from a century and more ago.

Who the people are is now mostly long gone, but it was deeply moving to find one pencil-written to someone in the family from ‘Ed’ on the frontline in France in the First World War.

“I can hear Fritz’s shells falling and our own anti-aircraft guns shelling his planes. Tomorrow night we go up to the front line trenches again. May I be saved from harm.”

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill 2014-15 is currently making its way through Parliament and is due to gain Royal Assent in March 2015.  The Bill is designed to reduce the barriers that can hamper the ability of small businesses to innovate, grow and compete.

The Bill does mean change for co‑operatives registered as companies.  This post outlines the main changes and action points for such co-operatives.

My top five tips on co-operative innovation for 2015

One of the great qualities of the co-operative model is the extraordinarily flexible way in which the simple idea of ownership by those involved in the business can be brought to life. It is true that there are many levels at which you can co-operate in a business – to be owned by your customers doesn’t mean that the workplace is a participative one, just as to be owned by your workforce doesn’t mean that your services are always shaped and led by customers.

The life and hope of William Hazell, Ynysybwl, South Wales

William Hazell, who died in the year I was born, was a miner and co-operative writer and activist from South Wales. His biography has been published recently, written by Alan Burge. It is an extraordinary read, full of the hope, integrity and compassion that has sustained the co-operative sector as a social movement over a long period of time.

Russell Brand on co-ops

A Christmas gift is Russell Brand’s book, Revolution. Charismatic or controversial, comic or serious, I don’t know, but it is certainly full of passion, hope and far more humility than I would have imagined.

It is also the first bestselling book for a while to quote the seven principles of co-operative identity, and associated co-operative values, that form the Statement of Co-operative Identity of the International Co-operative Alliance.

The Christmas story is a story of struggle and hope

Christmas time can be so depressing, says our local vicar, Tim Yeager. It brings out some of the worst features of capitalism and rubs them in our faces – advertising to buy the right consumer products for the ones you love, creative financing so that lenders can make more profit, and it is an environmental disaster…more plastic, cardboard and packaging is produced, carted about and dumped into landfills, vacant lots and incinerators than at any other time of year.

The most co-operative country on earth

It is not just Father Christmas.

Finland’s Professor Salme Näsi is a fellow Board member of Co-operatives Europe. She welcomed me on my first visit to the country, earlier this month, and as she says of her countrymen, “we are the most co-operative nation on earth.”

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