Thursday, 27 January 2011

Evolution NOW Meets Boris Johnson!

(From left:) Mayor Of London Boris Johnson, Lem Leon & Ismael Hinds
It was a cold evening but there was a strange sense of excitement mixed with anticipation as Evolution NOW were in attendance for the Community Conversation. These conversations happen across London and tonight was the turn of Waltham Forest. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was coming to town.

Strangely, the usual media circus was not present, there was no police and even more bizarrely, no searching occurred when we entered the building. As we took our seats we began to see the room fill out with residents from all corners of the borough.

Just because the cameras weren't present, it didn't mean there wasn't going to be a show tonight. The main focus of tonight was finding solutions to the problem of serious violence within the borough.
Edward Addison, CEO of Arrowhead Consultancy
Hosted by Edward Addison, CEO of Arrowhead Consultancy, the evening began smoothly, outlining the plan for the evening. Currently at Kings college in London, Mr. Addison is engaged in research into the social impact of young black men.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson
Then Boris stood up to address us, letting us know that "all questions will be addressed" and reeling of his statistics that overall in London, the rate of crime has indeed risen in 2010 but injury rates with knives have fallen. This would be little comfort to the parents of the 14 year old boy who was stabbed to death in Leyton recently.

"It's not just about where the jobs are, it's about changing young people's mindset towards work." - Sheridan Mangal, Founder and CEO of SFM Capital Markets
Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes believes change can occur through faith directives.

Boris then went on to promote his mentoring programme in which young black boys will be mentored to make better choices in their lives. The scheme isn't solely for this demographic but it is the main focus and the people they want as mentors are young black role models. Ismael had the privilege of speaking to one of the scheme's success stories, 16yo Leon Ward.
(From left) Ismael and Leon Ward

Ismael asked him what his perception of politics was.
He replied boring, it’s not really interesting. He then went on to say that it’s as though we can’t relate. People want to see the real side of politics rather than all the backstabbing, airing of personal lives and such irrelevant fluff.

As he said those words it was as though a light bulb went off in my head, what he said made perfect sense. One of the reasons why a lot of young people are not involved with politics, is because they feel as though they can’t trust the politicians. They just don’t have a figure to relate to.

For example David Cameron stating that he was going to fight for young peoples tuition fees. When in actual fact when he came into power he increased the tuition fees limit incredibly.

So in actual fact can we EVER really trust politicians?

With that in mind, Boris ultimately did try his hardest to promote the message of economic hope - making a world where young people from all walks of life can get jobs.

The most interesting quote of the evening came from the Mayor when he was offering his opinion on possible reasons as to why serious violent crime was so high:

" There IS a failure in parenting..." - Boris Johnson.

Monday, 24 January 2011

How Can You Measure Happiness?

Genevieve Boast - Emergency Happiness

In Late November 2010, David Cameron announced that he had kick started the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to measure the nation’s psychological and environmental welfare – Also known as happiness.

A former US Senator was once quoted saying that a country’s Gross Domestic Product (a total sum of either what everyone has earnt or spent in a year: GDP for short) measure everything except that that makes life worthwhile.

Nearly three months on and we have still yet to see exactly how this coalition intend to proceed with this on paper. So it begs to ask the question: how DO you measure happiness?

Evolution NOW spoke with one of the happiest people we know, Genevieve Boast, who runs a company called Emergency Happiness. Gen was (pun intended) more than happy to help and when asked these are some of the marvellous tips she provided on how to measure your own happiness:

·   Do I wake up in the morning looking forward to the day no matter what I have to do?

·   Do I celebrate the small things in life almost as much as the big ones (i.e my train being on time on a rainy day vs. winning a new contract at work)

·   If I take joy in helping others no matter how small the gift (like a smile)

·   How often I think about the things in my life that make me happy and feel gratitude for having them

·   Whether I love myself and feel loved by others

·   How often I catch myself judging people or situations and choose consciously to stop it

·   How often I can say I am learning something new and growing into a better person

·   By how powerful and in control of my life choices I feel

·   By how connected I feel to my life and the people in it

·   By how quickly I spring back from 'challenges' and step up to try again

·   By how playful and energetic I feel

Do you think these types of questions will be included on this questionnaire when it does eventually materialize? Or do you think its one of DC’s gassed idea’s that may never come to fruition?

Either way, happiness is something everyone would like to have in their lives all the time. If you don’t think you’re getting enough, then change your way of thinking and the world will change with you.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

VAT 20% Right Way To Grow?

What is VAT?

Well VAT is simply a tax charge which is allocated for most transactions on day to day spending. For example, businesses attach VAT to the price of the product, which they are selling.
To break it down, there are three different types of VAT rates which are :

Standard rates 20 per cent
Reduced rates 5 per cent
Zero rates: 0 per cent

Standard rates:
Standard VAT rates within the UK, are rates which have been implemented among most of the goods and services that we purchase.  These are such things as bus fares, electrical goods and price of holidays.

Reduced rates:
Reduced rates, these are products or services which have been reduced –rated , because of the product itself or the circumstances of the sale. For example products which are on the January sale. Also goods being reduced because of the condition that they are in.

Zero rates:
Zero rated goods, are products which have absolutely no tax rates.
For example food, except for meals in restaurants and also children’s clothing.

Why is there an increase of tax?

Well according to the government, they think, “it is necessary to help bring down the UK’s high budget deficit”.

When the tax increased was revealed in the summer of 2010, chancellor George Osborne stated “ it would raise more than £13bn a year by the end of the parliament”.

So how is the increase of VAT going to effect us ?

Personally, even though the government are increasing VAT to bring down the UK’s high budget deficit. This poses as an extreme burden towards working class people.

This is because mostly everything which we purchase, has had a 2.5% increase. Even towards the little things such as bus fare. For example bus fare was £2 and now at the new price of £2.20. 

According to “this is money” there would be an increase towards London underground fares by 2%. Also Products like the zone 2-6 one day travel card will be permanently eliminated.

Even the labour party have accused the government of penalising low- income families. Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband has stated that it is the wrong tax at the wrong time.

As lower income households usually spend a greater portion of their income on taxed products, this is clearly obvious that they are being effected a lot more by this dramatic VAT increase!

By Ismael Hinds