The "narrow-mindedness of our biases and preconceptions"

Coming up to 10 weeks of lockdown the politics felt visceral; waves of upset over how the Dominic Cummings lockdown travel story was being imagined, spun, told and judged. Late on Bank Holiday Monday I phoned up a certain mediator friend to have a go at her for not upholding the values of mediation on Facebook in relation to Dominic Cummings; and in so doing I undermined my own “moral high ground” & lost touch with my ideals regarding what I aspire to be modelling.

In the end I was thanked for my initially "frustrating" intervention -a familiar pattern to this "agent provocateur" character I represent to many; as does Dominic Cummings.

For my money, Dominic Cummings provided the best drama of the week; I watched for over an hour, with what's called baited breath, (not to be mistaken for a Covid-19 symptom). I watched to see where he'd put a foot wrong in terms of PR, and from my perspective he did that when he used the hyperbole word "millions", leaking in that moment his frustrations; he could no longer be as measured as the rest of the testimony/performance.

Whilst typing this a ping on my phone brings headline news that Durham Police have said of so-called #BarnardCastleGate; it "might have been a minor breach of lockdown rules".

For light relief I tweeted that the following film was not made during lockdown; just to get that straight.

Much of the time it is hard to set aside the narrow-mindedness of our biases and preconceptions, particularly in relation to Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. What's the best we can do? To stay in touch with what values are driving us? Fairness? Accountability? 
Maria alighted on publishing the Nolan Principles of Public Life in her Centre For Peaceful Solutions blog post. Comments on her blog and the Pandemic Era blog here below please.

For What Do You Care?

The fly on the wall at Number 10

When the risk of a half-million Britons dead

Tipped the scales against herd-immunity strategy

What would it tell me for what you care?

The vampirical bat virus out of hell, or Wuhan

That has now made a meal out of us

And charged not a tithe but ninety percent

Of capacity on a public service bus

For those bereft of transport, what vehicles do you lend?

Thus assigning tens of thousands more to die 

not for the country/land but for what?

Do you care? Will you share 


The Myths of The Undeserving Poor and The Evil Tory

Letter to my (former) biographer; sacked without furlough from that position on after the start of the #PandemicEra in 2020:

13th May 2020

Dear Chris

What’s optimal for our developing our political perspective is talking in your kitchen IMHO so how about a conversation sometime to unfold what the different political approaches are, rather than just Facebook?

I’ll put forward that a major shortcoming of the Tories is they believe in what the Local Treasure of St Leonards & food bank co-ordinator,Natalie Williams, has written about in her book “The Myth Of The Undeserving Poor - A Christian Response to poverty in Britain today”

The mirror shortcoming of Labour I provisionally label “The Myth of The Evil Tory; our compassion doesn’t extend to hearing any one of them; we have our ‘enemy image’ to maintain”

There is a secondary problem in trying to change the government by backing the left. NB - an outdated paradigm the left-right one needing to be superseded by the interconnectedness perspective that I believe is the only way to turn around ecological doomsdays on the horizon.

The “baggage” that comes with the left these days doesn’t cut it on the estates; the example I give being this tweet from  @LonsdaleKeith replying to @Keir_Starmer: "Thank goodness you lot didn't win in December. We'd have no PPE, no Nightingale hospitals but, diversity managers on every ward." )

I really don’t want you (& all those you symbolise to me) to put great effort into Tory-hating and achieve so little in electoral terms all over again!
There is a way that saves more lives by practising what is so poorly labelled #NVC - nonviolent communication. With roots including the Indian Cultural Inheritance exemplified by Gandhi of ahimsa (non-harm) and the masterly recognition and development of the emotional intelligence of “needs consciousness”, please don’t mistake nonviolence for “being nice”. (On request I’ll send you the link to 180(?) ways to protest nonviolently). So, now we’ve established that nonviolent communication (often called “compassionate communication” or similar) is not the “nice”, in the pejorative sense of that word, thing you imagine it to be, please invest an hour at least in finding what has been one of the two most valuable discoveries of my life. As I continue to attempt to channel Marshall Rosenberg (who founded I gain in confidence to truly hold anyone (& especially myself on the political stageto account. What opens up, especially once others come on board, is the transformative possibilities of creating solutions where there were apparently incompatible agendas:
P.S. I’m working on bringing into being a book called “The Myth of The Evil Tory”.Chapter 1 has this provisional title!: How the BBC ran with the Hastings Labour Candidate’s misrepresentation of what the Conservative Candidate had said on disability and the minimum wage.

Here’s the playlist of 5th December 2019 Hustings onwards


Gaps in provision of KinderPolitics costs more lives than lack of PPE equipment

At different stages of the unfolding of the coronavirus response in the UK, as presumably across the world, what suggestions and questions are received as helpful and timely is contentious. Each contention demonstrates to me, as a mediator most-inspired by the life and legacy of Marshall Rosenberg, how under-developed is our collective capacity to "move forward more together". To take to heart "We're All In This Together" means different things to different people. To me it means choosing dialogue rather than the "3Ds of Distancing" - debate, demand and/or demeaning "the other".

Choosing debate, demand and demeaning over dialogue can cost many lives. I offer three examples from a month of the UK experience and leave others to calculate the number of lives that would have been saved if the dialogues had respectively
1) brought lockdown forward by three days?
2) provided clear learning about how to clean and reuse PPE safely?
3) empathised with (and opened up behaviour change in) those deemed dangerously non-compliant with "lockdown UK"?
1) You may well have missed the 16th March interview on LBC by Nick Ferrari of "Pause the System" protest spokesperson, Kelly Waters, which I contrast with Nick Ferrari's 16th April interview entitled: "Captain Tom Moore, 99, raises over £14m for NHS". I leave you to watch the films to determine which interview contained the phrase "you are beyond naive" and which began "It's an absolute privilege to speak with you". What Kelly Waters from "Pause the System" was proposing, against opposition/(hostility?) from the interviewer, was that the UK enter lockdown including the closing of schools"

I wish we each acknowledged the privilege conferred on us when anyone wants to communicate with us. Isn't it wonderful to have the amazing capacity, via the internet, to hear so many expressions of others' needs/values? Many expressions of need might be tragic in the sense that they are unlikely to be met on account of how they are received; perhaps nowhere experienced more than by what pleas we hear conveyed by twitter and met by something other than love and kindness.

When presented with a wish for co-operation in problem-solving the challenge of how to close the schools whilst ensuring childcare provision for key workers, Nick Ferrari declined the implicit invitation that could have saved many lives. So too did Keir Starmer on Twitter apparently do little to help illuminate and support the (politically-risky but life-saving?) options around reuse of personal protection equipment (PPE). Appending the link to this Guardian article, the 11th April 9.04am tweet from Keir Starmer began "It is quite frankly insulting to imply frontline staff are wasting PPE". Having expressed what might be called "Righteous Indignation", the rest of the tweet could be seen as a call for empathetic understanding and taking of responsibility, or it could, for example, be taken as accusatory and blaming, untrusting and unconstructive power play:
"There are horrific stories of NHS staff and care workers not having the equipment they need to keep them safe. The Government must act to ensure supplies are delivered.." Responses to this tweet typified for me "adversarial/polarising politics". I caught myself smiling less than kindly at the first response I saw, with it's (back-handed compliment(?) to the new Labour Party leader): "At last you've found your backbone". From the government, @Helen_Whately replied: "repeating a false accusation doesn’t help anybody and it’s surely not your style. If you want nhs and care staff to have the PPE they need - as I do - surely you’d back people using the right PPE for the tasks they are doing." You might see that as a reasonable response, and so, if I share my judgment of Ms Whately's tweet as "Adversarial Score -High", what do you make of my judgment?. Of course there were twitter responses to Keir Starmer that were perhaps even less about building a shared understanding and joint plan of action; from @LonsdaleKeith replying to @Keir_Starmer: "Thank goodness you lot didn't win in December. We'd have no PPE, no Nightingale hospitals but, diversity managers on every ward." Would you agree with my judgment that @LonsdaleKeith's tweet here was "Adversarial Score -High"?

That we judge the actions of others is in our nature, what we do with those judgments a crucial choice. I asked my political secretary, as I ask you, to watch this film of an NHS worker clearly upset, and list the unmet needs that are being expressed:

"In no order. It’s amazing what a short speech can offer in terms of needs: Appreciation; Fairness; Compassion; Caring; Community; Consideration; Inclusion; Mattering; Respect; Safety; Shared reality; Support; To be known; To be understood; Ease; Order; Peace; Nourishment."
I am heartened by what I perceived the impact to be of this NHS worker expressing their needs without targeting an individual, seeking to prick the collective conscience into meeting her unmet needs. What response might meet the requested caring and sharing? Perhaps the doorstep sharing (alongside decontamination kit) of whatever surplus food one has? That behaviour I have heard of in New Zealand in the midst of this broadcast promoting befriending etc

Meanwhile, sharing another YouTube film from an NHS worker, the commentary I offer is of my sadness at the expression of needs/values in ways that are unlikely to get them met:
Rather than caring for the quality of connection and the realistic ways in which behaviour is changed, the above film marks for me an impoverished culture of "shaming". Many of us grew up with "shaming" used as a technique to seek compliance with the behaviour sought from us by other family members -and may experience this still? Whilst conscience is a key energy to action, shaming is to me energy put into what Marshall Rosenberg seemed keen to call the "Domination Culture". I ask Maria Arpa of the Centre for Peaceful Solutions, who brought Marshall Rosenberg to an international conference to work between concentration camp victims in the former Yugoslavia and their captors, to share her understanding of what "Domination Culture" looks like, pre-"Pandemic Era" and in the midst of the Coronavirus "management"?

Drawing out descriptions from others of the seismic shifts we have experienced in just weeks, I now share the description of a zoom conference with strangers I attended last night:
"The Coronavirus has fundamentally reshaped our world, in ways that are still unclear. Along with immense suffering and fear, there are many silver linings: a shared awareness of our vulnerability, a shift toward collective solidarity, and a shift in our economic priorities. However, dark clouds also loom on the horizon: Fascist leaders are using this emergency moment to tighten their grip, while the apparatus of a totalitarian state is becoming normalised."

What paradigm shift are you feeding in the Pandemic Era? What Ethics? What Economics? What Politics? Together we might (in a series of co-written blog posts and replies) develop #PandemicEraEthics* [link] and from there draw out #PandemicEraEconomics and "PandemicEraPolitics"? If we take the first letter of each of these three branches of this new discipline - E for Ethics, E for Economics and P for Politics - amidst the #PPE crisis - we can be developing an antidote #EEP? Will the development of #KinderPolitics and #PandemicEra #EthicsEconomicsPolitics attract anything like the £21million to date that Captain Tom's walking for the NHS has attracted?

*34 Questions drawn out (from @OpenDemocracy) about Pandemic Era Ethics

Please subscribe to the (provisionally weekly) blog posts on the development of #PandemicEra #EthicsEconomicsPolitics by this #IndependentCandidate and colleagues, allies and adversaries. Email notifications of new posts are activated via an interface on the bottom left of this blog.
(If accessing this on a smart phone you'll need to use "desktop view" to see that side panel of options from which the "Follow by email" box is towards the bottom.)

Sally Ann Hart (Hastings & Rye MP) Easter Day & Easter Monday PPE (Personal Protection Equipment -not Philosophy Politics and Economics -which was what Boris Johnson & I understood by PPE at Oxford!)

Dear Sally-Ann

As your running colleague in the last general election, standing up for common sense when you were being misheard and misrepresented*, you are the most influential person to whom I can send this tweet:
which says:

Out of the 750,000 #NHSVolunteerResponders in this #Coronavirusuk situation, do we yet have an #ArmyOfPPECleaners-for if #Nurses & #Doctors #refusetreatment on account of #PPE #Shortage it’s surely at least 60% (guestimate) on account of non #reusing? 

Please act on it with all the responsibility you can muster and hold,

With the kindness you kindly acknowledged at the electoral count,



Dear Paul, 
I remember well – and thank you for contacting me. 
I am aware that much PPE can be reused including eye protection, scrubs and N95 respirators. Healthcare professionals are taught how to clean these properly using well established hygienic measures. 
I am also aware that we are going to needs countless supplies of PPE and if we can successfully decontaminate PPE for healthcare workers on the frontline, it might help with ongoing supply issues, should this become a burning problem. 
I will pass on your suggestions to the Health and Social Care department.  
I hope you had a happy Easter despite the circumstances we all find ourselves in. 
Kind regards, 


I need to see your Immunity Papers, please

I put it to a neighbour passing my locked (waist-high) front gate that the community institute three kinds of armbands according to our coronavirus status. Further dialogue with friends on the ethics of this brought me to only advocating one kind of armband; the reassuring kind, if it can be believed. I suggest that all those with the coronavirus antibodies make green armbands and wear them in order to give reassurance and to say that you are happy for other members of the community to ask for your immunity papers if they are to engage in further business/closeness with you. The test result documentation I guess you'll have uploaded online? Thus, in this imagined near future, you can call out perhaps a web address or social media account details by which the other, standing a few metres away, can check your papers -perhaps with reference to a government website- before allowing you or your paper copy of the (presumed) immunity papers closer.

Personally, I can’t wait to meet a green armband wearer who is available to do residential care work, which consumes 70 hours a week in #DadAndSonIsolation. There’s plenty of space in this house with small front and back gardens and to have someone else sharing the burden; someone who didn’t need telling every day that there is a pandemic (being responded to by) reshaping society the world over, would free me up not only to blog with my chosen co-writers -today Maria Arpa of the Centre for Peaceful Solutions- but also to co-host teleconferences on ways of building social capital freeing up communities from so much dependence on however the monetary economies end up being reshaped.

I introduce Maria as a colleague for over 15 years. Maria Arpa and I both adopt a Marshall-Rosenberg inspired approach to our mediation work; running The Centre for Peaceful Solutions (charity) and Mediation Support Ltd respectively. We have written one key article -now a blogpost- together, which was submitted over the weekend before the 2019 General Election to the Hastings Independent Press. The piece published in the Hastings Independent instead, entitled “Disability And The Minimum Wage” was a transcript of the response of all four of us Parliamentary Candidates to a digging up of a Facebook “like” by the Conservative Candidate two years previously; which became the controversy of the whole election in Hastings and Rye, with ongoing resentment and misunderstanding present. I wish I knew how to get the blogpost (rejected for publication in the Hastings Independent more widely read and reflected upon): “ I’ve got your Baçk, Sally Ann and Peter”, Maria Arpa has agreed to write another two blog pieces with me here, unfolding what I’m hashtagging as #PandemicEraEthics. So, Immunity papers, Maria?


The Cruel Sea, The Cruel C

They say it’s going to be this generation’s Blitz
And it’s sure to be a direct hit on some survivors of the last one
Like a spiky floating mine that will tear breath to bits
There’s a new big C which we face together or lonesome
And a world war film to watch in which the enemy is not called Fritz 

The Cruel Sea, The Cruel C
Where’s the ‘I’ in this storm?;
Waving or drowning in the swell?
Will the torpedo or the depth charge
Lead us into hell?
And will we bury our humanity all at sea
Or uncover it whilst downing planes
And breathing deeper together one day;
Having learnt from the Cruel C how to be well?


Paul Crosland, The Independent Candidate, Hastings & Rye Constituency, General Election 2019, 12th December

If you haven't got the leaflet -supposedly delivered to all 56,400 postal addresses in the constituency, these two links are to the pdf version of the leaflet: 
PutACrossForCrosland -12th December 2019 General Election

The election result will be put on Wikipedia here ; please donate to Wikipedia as well. 

Getting over the Ego Barrier Reef RE The Independent Candidate

“Is Paul Crosland an ego-maniac, a narcissist, an eccentric or what? Is he mad, bad or just sad? Are these the lenses you look through? How do any of us know what is in the heart of another; which of the universal needs that drive us all has come to the fore uniquely in the person in question? Recognising that we are all wounded*, what is the wound that is playing out in the political sphere and how do I react to that?” (Imaginary Interlocutor)

I believe I can help you navigate these possibilities, as someone contacted me via Twitter after the Thursday 5th December Hustings putting it to me that I am “a compassionate man making an (unnecessary) political gesture”; that communication and my reply are here.

If you have a view to which you'd like an answer please email me - -and I'll probably put a link to our getting closer to mutual understanding here.

One other issue may be to whom I am accountable as I'm not (yet) part of a political party. That's a question I'll gladly engage with. (#IamAccountable) The way I received apparently harsh criticism at a Nonviolent Communication workshop actually so impressed a woman there who had just come into an inheritance that she became my benefactor, putting £15,000 into my Community Development work in Hastings and St Leonards 2011-2015, with a monthly report back from me.

I'll close this piece for now with two approximate quotes (from memory) from two of my mentors:
“Once you've sorted out your mental health, the next most important question seems to be 'How much of the burden of humanity am I willing to shoulder?”
“Don't wait until your motives are pure to get on and do things for the benefit of (self and) others.”
And from me:
Love yourself enough to stand up for what you believe in, at (almost) any cost, especially if that is the philosophy “I don't know best, we know better”.

*This YouTube film refers to the wound and -once opened in YouTube has this link beneath it.


I ve got your back Sally Ann and Peter

“I’ve got your back, Sally-Ann and Peter”

by Paul Crosland (2019 Independent Candidate)

Out of the boisterous air of the Hastings Independent hosted hustings of 5th December, the soundbite that became viral and led both local news stories and the BBC’s “Victoria Derbyshire” discussion programme by 10am the following morning was “Some people with learning difficulties don’t understand about money”. This sentence could be parodied in so many ways, but “I stood for Generosity” and to me that stand involves making the effort to mediate mutual comprehension rather than conjure up an “enemy image” of a Conservative and treat her words as confirmation that the Tories stand for demeaning, patronising and "othering" the disadvantaged.

For me, “Community Development”, the cause that led me to stand as an Independent with an intention of going on to found a new “Sharing & Care4Caring” political party/politics, only takes place when we hear each other to their satisfaction and having clarified what needs we are each trying to serve, see what alliances we can make to #MoveForwardMoreTogether.

In this spirit, in 2011, I formed the St Leonards Sharing Consortium with the Centre for Peaceful Solutions as a key partner. It’s founder, Maria Arpa, now the Executive Director of the International Centre For NonViolent Communication (, came to St Leonards to lead a weekend’s training, about which the chair of the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust (as was) said the following:
“I’m breath-taken and inspired about the last two days; it’s been quite changing for me. I’d recommend this training across the voluntary and corporate sectors; across every walk of life this could add value”.

As creator of the Dialogue Road Map (DRM), Maria explained to me: "Magnified by [some of] the media, as a society we've reached a point where it's all too easy to judge what someone's saying to suit our own story. A healthier society would be one in which we take the time to unpack and understand the meaning and intention behind what's being said. When we choose dialogue over debate, with goodwill and co-operation, the apparently difficult choices we face will become less conflicted. My friend, Paul Crosland, has come out of this situation more determined than ever to stand for the values/practices of Mutual Understanding, Self Responsibility and Action Planning/(Non-blaming) Review which, in my experience, lie at the heart of effective action in the wake of hearing what we don’t like to hear."

600 words as the length allotted for this piece doesn’t allow space to unpack the issues of what “public good” is being blocked by “minimum wage” policies, as opposed, for example, to the “Basic Income” scheme I was trying to convey during the cut and thrust of those hustings. Ironically I was also trying to get out the message I put out at the Rye Hustings of job-share opportunities that cover us having an off-day in terms of our mental health. This policy I call “I’ve got your back”. Just as, in running a Restorative Justice project in HMP Bristol I was 100% on the offender’s side, 100% on the victim’s side and 100% on the community’s side without breaking the rules of maths, so too am I equally on the side of Peter Chowney and Sally-Ann Hart getting a fair hearing when challenging a value held dear by a majority. Here the “golden cow” was the minimum wage. Just to give a flavour of another unorthodox view on this matter, my (election-time) wingman, Tony May, never wants to work for the minimum wage because, amongst other things, that amounts to his being labeled “a minimum person”; he’d rather work for free as the “Clean-Up Man” and retain his dignity.

I close with a refrain from one of Maria Arpa and my highest mentors, now departed, Marshall Rosenberg:
“Words are windows or they’re walls;
They sentence us or set us free,
When I speak or when I hear,
Let the love-light shine through me.”