Recent Updates Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • southbankmosaics 11:05 am on June 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    Towards a free, wealthy and global Scotland 

    There comes a point when an individual grows up and looks after themselves. When they realise they will need many others to survive and even alone they are in-dependence.

    Scotland will always be together, beside and joined to England. Our geography ensures this. We have shared struggles and celebrations. But for me as an Englishman (and internationalist) I want an independent nation by my side, not a subservient one.

    Back in the day when Scotland had five universities, England had two. Scotland led the enlightenment with all its faults and inspirations. Take Norway as an interesting example, so near Scotland and comparative in many ways. Their independence has allowed them to move away from a culture of marauding Vikings terrorizing neighbours, towards a more mature global influence dispensing a broad range of Nobel prizes, leading and appreciating the world’s culture and science, as well as being key sponsors of peace between Israel and Palestine.

    The problem with not being independent is that all you have left is to be parochial. When you are free you can stand out and say what you really think and feel. Imagine if the English football team was essentially chosen from just a couple of schools or a couple of universities. They would never stand a chance at the world cup. Because there is a reasonably level playing field in football, they are able to play at the top tournament (sometimes).But the politics of England is still hamstrung by this parochial lack of democracy, lack of accountability, lack of using the range of talents and obsession with bossing others about. Politically England has emasculated Scotland. If the experience of independence is bad, then Scotland can have another referendum in five or ten years and re-join the union.

    Whatever England does after Scotland has gained its freedom, Scotland should rise above the tantrums of the political goons down south. Dignity and reason will prevail over threats. Things will settle down and get solved. With a level playing field for its citizens Scotland will flourish as never before and set sail on a journey that utilizes its genius and material wealth for global progress. Come on Scotland, be brave for yourselves and us.

  • southbankmosaics 1:06 pm on November 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Compassion, Cooperation and Co-production 

    There may be large amounts of unnecessary waste in continuing with a model that pollutes our planet, produces epidemics of obesity juxtaposed to famine and hunger, manufactures inbuilt obsolescence, pours petrol on the fires of war and expends vast amounts of time on bureaucracy. It is almost as if the inefficiencies of the limited democracies we have are being reproduced in a ripple effect throughout the market.
    The ultimate free market and free competition is war. But war is over. Even in nursery and primary schools today we teach children self-restraint and about how bullying is wrong: mentally weak. With our global media streaming us the latest from the front line, we rightly ask the question – how can a tyrant (at the pinnacle of competitive and egotistical freedom) justify even one death to hang on to his power base, unless he is scared justice will catch up with him? He justifies tyranny, because he suspects he will be found guilty if tried in a court of law.
    Market competition is just war by other means, pinning down business to a system that accepts as given – industrial espionage, pornography, taxes, regulation, arms sales, authorities, foisting of products that no one needs with gloss, bright lights and psychological nudges. The real economy, where people do a job that is useful and needed – for example the hair dressers and food vendors, exist outside of the rip-off.
    Take a government commission. They put out a £20 million tender in the free market. Let’s say 100 businesses decide to bid for the work. 99 of them will fail, and the commissioners will spend 99% of their time looking through failing documents, to ascertain the sole winner. How much waste is built into the system? We need to find another way to do business. If inside my business we competed for the hammer or the screw driver we would hardly get anything done. That seems to be the business model we’re trapped in at the moment: competitive waste.
    What we do not want is a total system: for example Soviet or North Korean, because they are more inefficient than our own competitive waste. They have taken the competitive model and ossified it into a cadre of elite bureaucrats, backed up by the army, who combine to know best.
    We need to evolve our own system, which has devolved powers to a representative class, who are not able to control the complexity around them. In a simple and careful way we need to continue the journey away from dictatorship and tyranny, through elites, past mighty managers and top-down theories, and towards participatory democracy, where the quality of life is a benchmark, listening and discussing with individuals is the technique, education and compassion is our method of transferring knowledge, and engagement and production is what we share. Money is a means of exchange and not the aim itself.
    The change cannot be ushered in by violent means. Go and kick a ball in the park if you feel aggressive, or watch a film about Stone Age mammoth hunts. The needed change towards common sense: civic and business decency will evolve through discussion and cooperation. There are hundreds of thousands of alternatives; we need to learn to enjoy the plurality of views. What do you want in your street? How will you get on with your neighbours? When will we build our new bridge? Why are we evolving so quickly away from confrontation and dispute into listening to the various points and considering the evidence? Where will we place the new fountain of pleasure?
    One hopeful reminder when looking at the buildings around me is how much has already been achieved, in despite of all the time wasters, destructive agents, hangers on and greed mongers. For sure we can do much better, but we can also pat ourselves on the back – so many bridges have been built, homes constructed, temples, churches and mosques erected for an idea that there is more than the individual. Can we plan innovation? Let’s have a go, using the old competition methodology to achieve community cohesion. Here’s an example: instead of bankers’ bonuses, give one thousand million dollar prizes to those who come up with the best improvements to renewable energy sources, storage and distribution.
    Competition is great in sport, but compassion, cooperation and co-production are better for business.

  • southbankmosaics 11:41 am on May 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Towards Full Employment 

    There is so much to do. It is incredible how anyone who wants to work is not able to do so. It may partly be because too many people are on the payroll being busy doing nothing useful – such as talking down phones on nuisance or negative calls, or writing on paper which ends down in the bin within a week.

    Leaving things up to government to do something is part of the problem. We are responsible now. There is too much to do and too few of them with any power, so it is unfair to expect them to have the knowledge and understanding to:

    • Bring back pride into neighbourhoods;
    • Create public spaces which we want to show to visitors;
    • Plant trees, bushes and flowers that harmonise our estates, streets and parks with nature;
    • Support children through schools and our elders their last days;
    • Reclaim public spaces from the car;
    • Build the homes we need and community centres we dream of;
    • Research and deliver sustainable energy and trade;

    A couple of million jobs are in this brief list and will be worth investing in. Government are virtually irrelevant in this context, except as a negative force, and all prudent ways to lessen tax should now be on the table.

    There are far too many people employed in the three great fault lines of our current cultural landscape.

    1. Rent – should be replaced by services and maintenance of property and avoid overheads which include maintenance of owners on permanent leisure leave.
    2. Finance – must be tamed to promote trade and industry.
    3. Government and authorities – need transformation from self-serving cliques into renewed democratic structures, based on the principle of universal participation, where each individual has the structural opportunity of representing their community.


    A mechanism to evolve our current wasteful practise is to switch the welfare and benefits budgets out of central government and into local authorities. We can do this for a trial 2 – 5 years period in one region and see whether representatives who live among and are closer to their communities can commission construction, services and improvements, or whether like our evidently failed parliamentary system – just dole out benefits, preferring to keep citizens idle and keeping in with a system of like rentiers, financiers and authorities like themselves.

  • southbankmosaics 11:20 am on January 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: education, street art, unemployment   

    Can we encourage a creative economy? 

    Dear Fellow Citizen

    We want to set up a School of Mosaic. This School of Mosaic will have short, medium and long-term aims. If it is based temporarily or permanently in the South Bank Centre, at the geographic heart of London, then this will give such a School an impressive profile with an international reputation.

    The short-term aim will be to establish in the UK a school which operates at the highest standards and supports the recovery of one of our earliest and most brilliant art forms. With Southbank Mosaics’ unique ethos of an “open” studio, this will make top quality artisan education accessible to all.

    In the medium term we will design a degree course that links ancient mosaics to modern practices, from restoration and conservation to construction and transformation of the public realm. Public space is where we meet and we can create a sense of place, linking neighbourhoods to their roots, revealing buried history, as well as tackling the blandness of some urban scenes.

    In the longer term we are interested in two keys concepts. 1) Designing out road-works from streets (see: Forever Open Road). A programme to do this will create many jobs as well as tackling a major blight of our urban environment, opening up the possibility of turning the street into a gallery. 2) Designing out unemployment – Taking the first steps to systemising meaningful jobs for all – so that anyone and everyone can have a paid job, making their neighbourhood more attractive.

    I hope that 2013 will see us creating stepping stones towards realising these potentials.

    Yours Sincerely

    Mosaic Artisan

    You can buy the book of this name from Kindle, or as a pdf off our website for £4.99 @

  • southbankmosaics 2:17 pm on December 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Conjoined triplets: Patriarchy, Pornography and Paedophilia 

    The feeble minds that need stimulus from a picture of a bare-breasted woman, will be more likely to take sexual advantage of a young child. And to start the process of evaluation/research into this hypothesis, check out first who owns the paper? who takes the photo and who looks in pathetic longing at a pornographic image? Intuitively, this is the profile of Paedophile Man – the original patriarch. In all his post modern guises, from priapic pop star to gun-toting looney tune.

    HE IS: The man who fears woman and child, who puts her in second place, who throughout “civilised” history has used rape as a mark of conquest when over-running an enemy’s defences. This is the patriarch who defines himself by his ability to emasculate and dominate woman or child. He skulks among the caves of male psyches, finding refuge in ancient texts and with the tenets of freedom of speech.

    As women grasp at (or rediscover) the behaviours of equal status and our definition of freedom rises above abuse, the entrenched patriarchs, especially those who have floated to the surface of capitalism’s potlatch – those patriarchs will use pornography to educate teenage boys in the ways of thinking of women as one dimensional sex objects. Ignorant boys will struggle to make relationships, and if they do succeed in finding a girl, then they can look forward to a steep learning curve or bitter strife, as she civlises them. For no self-respecting girl today, sees herself as second class.

    If money as the means of exchange is used as the method (or the excuse) for enticing young women to do something they would prefer not – because the alternatives are unemployment, or so poorly paid, or lacking inspiration – then the challenge is to develop a constructive and creative economy, that meshes with desire. Great minds and powerful bodies can throw off the shackles of the porno-military economy with its destructive impulses. Brilliant strong characters can now challenge the celebrity-paedophile society with its vast unhinged individualism, which imagines it can ride roughshod over a child’s immortal innocence.

    The brotherhood of man will move forward into more dynamic relationships, of partnerships stripped of the veneer of instinctive imbecility, replaced instead with composed knowledge, humane humility, with the strength and power to bind constructive communities together, to overcome infantile competitiveness with strong bonds of friendship and co-production. We will educate our children and ourselves to have fun and an attractive future.

  • southbankmosaics 2:36 pm on November 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Wisdom through the ages 

    Perennial wisdom is a growing understanding of the unity of all.

    The truth may always be within us and we attune our senses to the prevailing winds. For example – cave men and women knew where the nut and berry trees were, and scoured the savannah for lions and tigers.

    Empires arose in the furnace of splendour and might, so the prophets balanced the fury of power, with a call for peace. If the scientific process leads us towards a much better way of life, then history is a glorious array of experiments that have given us successes and failures as evidence of our short-comings and potential.

    Modernism, communism and capitalism have taken humanity to its limits and it is right for us to pause and look over the abyss. There is no need to jump though! Yes: we have indulged our senses to their limits: gorged ourselves to obesity; smoked ourselves into smogs; drunk ourselves into stupors; lusted ourselves to pornography and paedophilia, slaughtered ourselves to genocide, plundered our abundant earth unto deserts, incinerated cities in an instant, sailed the seven seas and probed our universe with spaceships. And now we know we have choices and decisions to make about our future: survival and creativity – or destruction.

    The possibilities are myriad and temples built out of stone, with balanced materials for a greater good, will stand the test of time; while castles built out of sand will be swept away on the new wave.

    In the same way that dinosaurs jettisoned their more cumbersome and violent members and soared into the sky as birds, so too will humans transform themselves into peaceful beings conscious of their responsibilities to harmonise with nature, and capable of exploring freedom: like the birds of the air.

  • southbankmosaics 1:29 pm on November 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply  


    Please can we find a new way of talking with each other, which allows us to hold different views and remain in discussion; a discourse that steps back from insult and recrimination, allowing a strong and forceful argument, without the threat of excommunication?
    Please can we leave behind the ya-boo politics of yesteryear; the primitive practice of raising up and anointing a new leader, for the pack to gather around and start to shear and clip away, while some prepare kindling and others gather flints to either chuck or make sparks. And all for a short-lived reputation that within a few months is most likely to be an occasional footnote to a student’s essay.
    The poor need the expertise of corporations, business needs customers and trade, the powerful have a responsibility to set the standards and all of us need to take care of our planet. Change is inevitable, so discussion and narrative help us to understand the immense complexities that swirl around. Only a tyrant can rule a family, so the conclusion is NO ONE can rule a village, let along town, city, or nation. We need the opposition of engaged discussion, with an understanding of the over-arching unity of difference.
    Economic experts have a herd mentality, there are now so many of them, it was inevitable. They move in groups like a mass of wildebeest. If you look at them carefully now you will see the whites of their eyes enlarged. We should not punish them, but rather encourage them to think in a broader way about the triple bottom line: people, profits and planet. We can move away from primate economics of grab, consume and chuck away, towards future scoping and sustainability. We can replace the “growth” syndrome, with a quality standard; and always, of course, to search out well-being, how our friends, family and neighbours can enjoy themselves without harming others, and leave our world a better place for future generations.

  • southbankmosaics 5:57 am on August 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Notes on Olympic Legacies 

    The Olympics have shown what can be done when many pull together.

    On contested fields, athletes strove to their limits and reminded us that every nation on earth can come together peacefully, with each one proud of their achievement. Over time, sport will surely replace war, as our way of communion and resolving difference, through fun, rather than bloodshed.

    Superb television coverage (at least here in Britain) meant that what was a wealthy person’s games, could be enjoyed by all, and along with the junk food, these are the two key design conundrums that will need to be thought through for Rio: how can the poor be part of the festival and how can visitors be proffered decent food?

    The buildings that formed a backdrop to tussles and duels were themselves historic and modern jewels of architecture, inviting those who did not attend, to come and visit Britain in the future. Now we have evidence, for the future,, we can build enough homes for our people, in such ways that they last for hundreds of years and set the future free.

    For those who traveled from afar and experienced our functional permeability, passing through our transport nodes, they will have an impression of being on a smooth conveyor belt. We will improve our resting places with sculptured seats and fountains, so you can pause next time, and watch the flow.

    Gone is the impression that Britons are happier saying goodbye, rather than welcoming guests. Here were beaming friendly faces of our own from every continent, greeting the nations of the world to our cosmopolitan culture: the future belongs to the traveler. 

    There were tears of joy and some for loss, legends made with others eclipsed, and some relief that such a spectacle did not descend into grief. There is now a thirty year project to create the Olympic Pleasure Gardens, so we can pick up our shovels and dig out our chisels and nurture the Lea Valley into a post-industrial paradise.

  • southbankmosaics 1:59 pm on April 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Mosaic Artisans – Book to be published later this year 

    Southbank Mosaics will be publishing a book Mosaic Artisans later this year, based on the practise of Southbank Mosaics and calling for a new type of job to be created – the Street Artisan, or Mosaic Artisan whose job description is to “make the neighbourhood beautiful.”

    Concrete and the industrialisation of the public realm and building trade has brought many benefits, in particular taking our towns out of the “muddy” ages. But the blandness of public space is now overwhelming and we need to move on to another level.

    The Arts and Crafts movement of the Victorian era tackled the squalor of the British interior, we now need a similar movement to bring character and detail to the British exterior. Mosaic Artisans will be a manifesto calling for towns which feel they have a sense of history or a creative potential to design a new job, that is “inclusive” in its construction and gives each neighbourhood a distinctive character and edge. Why do most people prefer to visit Florence, rather than Valdivostok? And people visiting your town will be key to its success in the future – possibly.

    Watch this space.

  • southbankmosaics 7:32 pm on April 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Solving the Housing Crisis 

    It will only take ten years to solve the housing crisis – so let’s do it. The cost – a fraction of the money put into quantitative easing and/or money to the World Bank – and where has that all disappeared to? Here are two principles:

    1) Every new home and new building should be fitted with photovoltaic solar power , wind and geo-thermal systems, to give the owners free energy and an income each year.

    2) Each new home and building should be built to last for as long as the Norman buildings have done, thus creating a legacy, employment into the distant future and freeing new generations from having to repeat the same old tasks.

    Anyone can make things complicated, the skill is to make sense simply.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc