In a previous blog posting based upon the thoughts of Dr Iona Heath, the destruction of the bond between society and their trusted medical advisors, and mentors was explained. An objective of the Thatcher government was to undermine the influence of ethical professionals and deliver the public into the hands of commercial 'service providers'. I saw these tactics at reasonably close quarters. My lawyer uncle created and took the Copyright Act throught the House of Lords and into statute in 1988. He set up the Institute of Intellectual Property at UCL with some government support. I believe it was Steven Norris who worked in Mrs Thatcher's Department of Trade and Industry, who told him that if he wanted any further funding, then he needed to bring big business, such as pharmaceutical industry representatives on to his board. A fierce defendent of academic independence, my uncle eventually brokered a deal in which industry would have a seperate board that would never be allowed to interfere with the ethical standards and objectivity of the academic, professional board.
Never before has this country's leadership been in more desperate need of independent, ethical advice. In the words of Donella Meadows: "The power of big industry calls for the power of big government to hold it in check."
Yet this country's rotten leadership seems deaf, blind and stupid. Or at least that's the charitable assessment. Are they deliberately nasty in their intentions, delivering the people of this nation into the hands of the Conservative Party's multi-national, big-business funders in a way that Thatcher could only have dreamed of while those professionals who remain true to their ethical core values are not listened to, and can only stand on the side and wring their hands in despair? Why has government completely failed to achieve the massive drive for energy efficiency and renewable energy that is needed and is easily achievable, yet committed taxpayers to supporting increasingly filthy and destructive multi-national energy producing companies for generations to come? In America there is an unprecedented revolutionary fervour against the Fracking industry and the Tar Sands industry which it is alleged (see my twitter retweets) is systematically destroying America's fresh water reserves in persuit of money and if unconstrained is likely to utterly destroy the planet with its CO2 emissions. Yet this country has announced a deal that ensures £10 billion pounds of OUR money from 2018 to 2038 is going to pay for imports from America of this filthy product of the Fossil Fools, rather than going into insulating our homes so we remain warm and comfortable without destroying the planet. Cameron announced that he "warmly welcomes this commercial deal." Hence my assessment of his motives at the opening of this paragraph.
Meanwhile, the beleagured citizens of this country feel they have little option but to "leave it to the grown-ups". But to quote a senior civil servant who has to remain anonymous "there are no grown-ups in government. They are like ferrets in a sack."
Everyone wants to feel safe, nurtured and looked-after. I believe that the citizens of this country are being cheated by a government that uses PR style communications to disguise its true intentions. I believe this is creating a sense of despair in the public who just don't know who to trust. This is the point at which ethical professionals must become strong and active and vocal, so that when people are concerned about the motives of what they see as a self-interested government, they can find a balanced view of what is in the best long term public interest from ethical, independent, objective and trusted professional advisors.
What this country needs now is New Professionalism.
See attached pdf written by Melanie Thompson, followed by a paper by Bill Bordass with a classic Bordass presentation that he delivered to the World Sustainable Building Conference in Helsinki, October 2011. I suggest an excellent student study would be to carry out a building user study of RIBA award-winning buildings to see if a pattern emerges (see the example shown in the Bordass keynote slides presentation).