Monday, 21 December 2015


Every year, for several years now, at this time, I choose a single word as my theme for the coming year. I chose 'hope' for 2015. And this has guided me throughout this year, often when things seemed pretty hopeless...

This year, I have decided to choose 'Dance'. And, as usual, I have adopted this word from the 'Adopt-a-word' charity which supports children with communication difficulties. It only costs £15 per word. And with that you know that you are helping a child tackle any difficulties they have in communicating with others. (I recommend the charity to you.)

Now, you may ask: why dance

On Sunday 20 December, I listened to Broadcasting House on Radio 4 and heard the panellists reviewing the 'Strictly Come Dancing' final. Simon Jenkins said that what he liked about the programme is that it is entirely devoid of cynicism... This struck a chord with me...

And then I was reminded of an event I facilitated some years ago concerning gun crime: the aim was to open up conversations between the police, community groups, senior civil servant policy makers, young people and politicians to find new ways to prevent guns on the streets of the UK. It was a highly successful and memorable event. The second day used a process called Open Space, which allowed everyone present to add to the agenda of what needed to be discussed. Two young women (aged about 14, I recall) put forward a workshop entitled 'Dancing Against Gun Crime'. They duly ran it later in the day and it was attended by several people not least the two civil servants below whom I managed to capture on film:

I love this picture for all that it represents: a defiant and bold approach to tackle the deep cynicism of gun crime with two fairly 'straight' blokes in suits who decided to respond positively to the invitation.

So this is why I have chosen 'dance': as an antidote to all the rampant cynicism in the world. We need to defy all attempts to make this world a more cynical place by (at the very least) dancing!

All that remains is for me to send you & your families Season's Greetings, do please have a very Merry Christmas, and a fantastic and Happy New Year!

And dance!

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