It’s fashionable at the moment to lambast the internet as a some sort of cyber-sewers, awash with nefarious activity from marauding trolls to sinister misinformation and propaganda campaigns by shadowy state actors. To add some balance, I have drawn together ten articles that have caught my attention recently with interesting reporting, insightful analysis and hard-hitting conclusions.
1) “Meet Britain’s Willy Wonkas: the Ideas Factory that could save UK industry” – I love stories of innovation and regeneration, which is here evident in abundance.
2) “Ostersunds FK: Rise of Swedish club under English manager Graham Potter” – maybe one day, we will see this story turned into a Hollywood blockbuster, though sadly there is yet to be a fairy-tale ending. Nevertheless, what an achievement from this football manager and his players who have transformed their club, without spending billions or even millions!
3) “We should all be working a four-day week. Here’s why” – a simple idea that could have a significant impact: “Our social model means economic growth all too often involves concentrating wealth produced by the many into the bank accounts of the few, without improving the lives of the majority. Growth should deliver not just shared prosperity and improved public services but a better balance between work, family and leisure.”
4) “50 Things that Shaped the Modern Economy: the Welfare State” – this was part of a fascinating series of articles which explored a very interesting question. The author is a great story-teller using eye-catching anecdotes to unpack complicated issues.
5) “Schools can’t work miracles. But with a little help, parents can” – as an educator, I was intrigued by the suggestion that schools should be more involved in adult learning, tapping into the desire of parents to help their children and not be flummoxed by a 12-year-old’s mathematics homework.
6) “High Street take-over: Dumfries aims to be the first community to buy back its town centre” – as a citizen of Scotland, I am always interested in more local innovations and schemes, such as this attempt to revitalise a struggling town centre from the “Doon Toon Army”. Let’s hope that such initiatives become the norm and the Government does everything possible to address the power imbalance between the rights of residents over absentee landlords.
7) “From sea to plate: how plastic got into our fish” – absolutely shocking. Humanity is so wasteful and short-sighted that eight million tonnes of waste plastic ends up in the sea each year. Fish eat it – and then we do but we don’t even know for sure how bad it is for us. We certainly do know, however, that this plastic pollution is damaging wildlife and creating huge messes in our natural landscape, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Dump. I just wish everyone would engage with this issue and cut-off the problem at source.