Saturday 8 December 2018


First draft Sat 8th December – to catch those setting out to march, protest or discuss.
Second draft Friday 14th  - tidied up, inserted better descriptors, lost some verbiage... more to go..
Third Draft Jan - typos sorted... ?....

Happy to receive suggested edits - I enjoy collaborative writing

NOT The Councillor I am complaining about
but a classic BAD conduct

The Precious Present
I like causing serious hassle for unethical and unprincipled people. Don't you? If you do - Read on, you'll need determination and energy but you know that.  It's not easy but it’s important stuff.  I've been reminded of that in the last, exhausting, weeks.  This BLOG is about my experience and learning it's the most important I will ever write but I often think that. 

If you identify with my story and like what I'm suggesting please share it, retweet it, plagiarise it but, most of all, DO something.  It's about making the world a better place.. bit by bit... step by careful step...but only if you do DO something. I often find myself saying "GOYA" when I hear folkd complaining, "Get Off Your Arse! Go Do Something.."

One more thing, there are no arguments for, or against, #Brexit in this BLOG. Neither is it party political. It’s far, far more important than that.  It's about real change in our villages, towns, cities and our country.  So, bear with, bear with... this is about our precious present and how we build a fulfilling future.

Losing my Precious Present.
I’ve had a terrible, testing and tiring, couple of weeks culminating in me preparing a Formal Complaint against a local Councillor, this week-end.  It's meant late nights and early mornings, as well as covering the day job.  It's been an unwanted but critical extra task.  It's involved at least a dozen people so far and is set to involve more. I've been deeply hurt, personally and professionally, angry, grumpy and at worst, I feared a heart attack about what he wrote, said and did, to me and to two friends (yes, they're women) It would have been so, so much easier to leave the councillor unchallenged and do nice stuff - enjoy my precious present.  But something deep drove me on.  I've never fallen for, “You’ll not change him (yes it's a bloke). They are all the same.  You’re wasting your time. Get a life.” So, I pushed on chanting, "This too will pass" and am now reaching a place I recognise well - been here before, had the sleepless nights and now I'm due some rest.  I'm finding my way out of the tunnel, beyond the horrible, awful, draining swamp.  It's like a clearing. It's peaceful here. I’m strangely calm. I feel a stronger sense of purpose and a weird burgeoning energy.  “Why?” you mutter, and I continue…because writing this and passing on the "idea" is cathartic...

Making my complaint has meant analysing and judging how I and my fellow villagers and our Councillors are behaving.  I'd heard residents talk about it bully tactics and I sort of believed them but it was all nebulous.  But now I've witnessed it myself - the lies, duplicity, weedling and plotting.  I can't say more, you know why - "The Case is ongoing".  But the detail and content is not crucial here, you'll see why this is about process.... and there is light at the end....

Whilst compiling my Official Complaint, on the Form Provided, I’ve occasionally lifted my eyes to the TV, heard the radio from the kitchen, or responded to news alerts on my phone. Doing so, I see and hear the regional, national and global version of my little local issue.  There they are our country-folk, our international brothers and sisters and our elected representatives breaking bad and breaking good behaviour.  It's 24-7 on our Social and not so Social Media.  It’s the same damned play, on a bigger stage, with different bloomin actors!  

Recognise this?  At worst there’s tribal behaviour, bully tactics, fake claims, misrepresentation, untruths peddled as fact, deliberate avoidance tactics, shouting, tears, personal insults and blind anger.  At best, thank goodness and I do mean goodness, there’s also a calm, respectful, integrity in dialogues where listening is balanced with talking. Amongst the noise blitz from the breaking bad, we find the breaking good as we hear more objective, evidence-based arguments and, occasionally, the willingness to shift an opinion and an honesty in realising a mistake has been made, saying sorry and moving on.  We witness see this on all sides of politics and not just in my village - it's global - isn't it?

The bigger, national and global view
I'm seeing, in this bigger picture, something else. The dangerous tribal behaviour is not between the Left and the Right or the #Brexiteers and #Remainers, the Democrats and Republicans (fill in with the other tribes you know...) No the real tribes are the Reasonable Rational and the Unreasonable Irrational and these warriors do lurk within all political and activist tribes all over the world.  The important point is - the Reasonable Rational are good for us and the Unreasonable Irrational are bad for us, especially when they, as they tend to do, drift into abuse and bullying.  So, to make distinguishing between these tribes easier I’ll label the Reasonable Rational GOOD and the Unreasonable Irrational BAD.   The good are critical thinkers and moral scientists - they discuss to find ways forward for a long, long time and they resist anger.  The bad are knee-jerk, grabbers of opinions that fit their view, skewers of truth, facts and prepared to be immoral to win, at all costs.  We must applaud the Reasonable Rational, even when we disagree with what they say.

My fear, shared by my closest friends (real and virtual) is that the BAD are winning.  My darkest fear is they will win if they are not challenged. Unchallenged they destroy the balance of our lives. They mess up our villages an towns.  They are literally, destroying the planet.  So, in this BLOG and elsewhere I'm arguing, in a GOOD way, that we work to establish a more Consensual Leadership at all levels by educating ourselves to be reasonable and rational... but I digress.... follow my thinking on Consensual Leadership in the The Original BLOG or in A Calmer Education Focussed Article more to follow....

How 7 Principles of Public Life might help.
Whilst these actors were moving, strutting and shaking around our stages, locally, nationally, and internationally.. some breaking bad and others breaking good, I rediscovered a document.  I once signed it and knew it well.  Finding it again has been my handrail to sanity See Page 3 of Ethical Standards Document  It includes the statutory "Code of Conduct of people in public office".  It's a charter for the GOOD and a huge challenge for the BAD.

The 7 principles are:

·         Selflessness
·         Integrity
·         Objectivity
·         Accountability
·         Openness
·         Honesty
·         Leadership

Here's the link to our local Complaint Form" based on the 7 Principles.  The document helped me check that what I'm thinking and writing about my complaint against a set of solid criteria (I'm resisting a plug for The iAbacus here - note no link - but the Code would make an excellent template!)

You too can use the 7 Principles to complain when others are behaving badly.. They apply to anyone and everyone who works as a public office-holder, or is elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally.  There are also procedures to hold them account for their conduct through investigation and inquiry. Check your Local Authority/MP's Website to find your equivalent. 

I'm now thinking wouldn't it be great if these principles were applied to all of us who venture out into the world of public discourse? Well they can! They can be applied, easily, in our day to day interactions and certainly on and in Social Media. (I will be advising/educating my fellow braves in #WomenEd to use them, where appropriate, to strengthen their brilliant stance on on-line abuse. I've already invited the amazing "Sheffield Trees Action Group" STAG to have a peek and use it with their errant Councillors.... 

So what about our Fulfilling Future?

The priority?  This week-end and the days and weeks ahead are likely to be the most important many of us will ever spend.  How our MPs think and vote on our future is under hourly study.  Millions, of UK citizens are preparing to march again, protest, hold rallies, leaflet drop or discuss with neighbours and friends. Many are new activists and for some it will be their first political act and, yes, talking to a neighbour can be a political act. Go do it I say.  Indeed, let's all do it more but but but we are better when we do it reasonably and respectfully, in line with those 7 GOOD Principles.

Go small?  We know that in families and relationships there are women, girls, men and boys children who are suffering under Unreasonable Irrational Bullies.  They need help - the 7 principles and the notion of Consensual Leadership can provide a handrail to thinking.....

Go global? Look wider than the UK and we see see people, active politically.  Look what's happening in France this week-end!  If course it's right when people rise up to challenge their representatives' thinking rising up but we must be worried about how some of us, some of them, the BAD conduct themselves.  We the GOOD must use our precious present to achieve a fulfilling future by challenging the BAD? Why?  Because aggressive behavior is not an argument. Oppression and power are not reason. Anger, bullying, coercion is the pathetic response when the rational argument, the temper, the love, is lost.

What is point? Well, it’s deceptively simple as the very best things often are.  I’m suggesting we all keep to the Code of Conduct for Public Life.  I am challenging anyone and everyone, who had the determination to read this far, to consider making an Official Complaint against anyone in public office who breaches the Code of Conduct, as I'm doing.  

Incidentally, I decided to do so only after I'd offered to discuss a way forward with the councillor.  This was refused, with more bile, as was all future contact. That was even more unacceptable and great evidence for the complaint. 


We cannot work for a better future in our villages, towns, cities, across the UK, EU and the world, when elected officials behave badly.  In some ways mine is a pathetically small issue compared with the upper levels of Brexit and Global Warming.... but it's a small step... and I, for one, intend there to be more - my own and maybe yours? Remember,

“All that is required for evil to prevail, is for good men and women to do nothing”

Go do!

I am willing to collaborate with anyone who wants to promote these standards in a voluntary or professional capacity.  If interested contact me via

John Pearce in calmer mood

John Pearce

Further Information
The 7 principles of public life apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder, or is elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally.  They apply to the civil service, local government, the police, the courts and probation services, non-departmental public bodies, health, education, social and care services.  They have legal force to all sectors that deliver public services.

They are the foundation of the MP's Code of Conduct and can be found on the websites, or required of all County, Borough, District and Parish Councils.

For further information on the 7 principles and the work of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, visit the Committee’s website and blogsite

#MPs #BREXITDEAL #BreakingGood #JOB70 #WomenEd #HeForShe #StandardsInPublicLife
#Consensual Leadership #STAG

Sunday 18 November 2018


After reading Katherine Langrish's Brexit parody of the Jabberwock - I just had to add a few verses....

Katherine Langrish....

T’was Brexit, and the slithy Gove
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe,
All flimsy were the Faragists,
And the Rees-Moggs outgrabe.

Beware the squirming Gove, my son –
The lying tongue, the claws that catch,
Beware the frumious Boris bird –
Out for whatever it can snatch!

Who now will face it down, my son –
The Brexit-Beast with eyes of flame?
Oh who will seize a vorpal sword, 
And cleave the monstrous thing in twain?

John Pearce....

O horror that this Brexit-Beast
Has gobbleshagged with deadly strife
Beboggling the very weak and poor
Whose crosses gave it life!

“O fractious day! Call-off! Delay!”
Let’s meet to plot at Marble Arch.
“The Brexit-Beast won’t have its way
We’ll Brandish, bannering on a People’s March”.

   In uffish thought and protest we’ll stand, 
Burbling speechingly they came!
Whiffling, chanting Lammy-Chukka fans 
   Remoaners all, with eyes of flame,

Then Lucas, Khan and Cable chortling
With Soulbury, Wollaston EU-mourning
With Delia, Meden and celebs
Howling, “Where’s Jeremy Corbyn?”

One vote, then two! And through then through 
Our vorpal blades will snicker-snack.
And all at once we’ll know
The House of Common Sense is back!

T’will be brillig in the Euroglades. O joy!
When the Brexit-Beast is dead and slain.
Gallumping girls and Beamish Boys
Will be Mimsy when we sway Remain…

John Pearce (after Katherine Langrish and Lewis Carroll)

Friday 26 October 2018

Puppet off a string...

I'm three score years and ten today and going on a “Retreat”.  I'm muting most #SocialMedia by not combatting the slings and arrows of outrageous tweets, #Facebook and #Linkedin threads.  I’ve been trying to make a difference but sense it hasn’t and feel it won’t happen.  Threads have to be connected and pulled for this puppet to work.

Puppet off his strings*
I’m an optimist, or was, but the world just feels darker and nastier by the day.  It's depressing but I’m refusing to own this as if I'm suffering some kind of mental-illness.  Does this resonate for you?  Is this a #WeToo thing?  I reckon it's a deep despair about the state of things brought on by the awful selfishness of a horrible few, augmented by the apathy and silent witnessing of far too many.  I know many others feel the same, judging by my correspondence and certainly responses to our "Grumpy Old Brits #Remain" banner on the #People'sVoteMarch" last Saturday, in London.  And despair about misplaced power applies to both sides of THAT argument too!

Demonstrating with 700,000
So, what to do?  I’ll remain working, rather than hide away from what needs to be done but I'll select projects that result in action, not words.  I'll be focusing on iAbacus because, we now know, it really helps people take hold of their lives. Maybe there's a connection between the wires of the abacus and the strings on my puppet? *.  I want to write in a considered way.  We can't capture significant ideas in tweets. I must dig up my sense of humour as I go...

So, yes in retreat but regrouping.  “JOB 70”, is a new project.  It's about action to make a difference, as opposed to letting despair escape in staccato #tweets #broadcasts or bursts of anger, in response to some lunacy or another.  I'd like it be a collaborative set of practical ideas to make good developments and change....

Cover Design for "JOB 70"

 We must not be silent witnesses, we must search for consensus on good politics, good religion and good relationships.  
My slogan is Get Off Your Arse! #GOYA

Going to join me?  Us?  Or, even better, you're already kicking against the pricks?

If you want to collaborate, contribute, comment on  "JOB 70"? email me at:

* I rescued this wooden puppet from an antique shop. The string mechanism was badly designed and ineffective. I bought him for a few pounds, took him to the workshop and cut his strings intending to make a new frame... Then, looking at his doleful face I decided he's a metaphor... cut adrift, feeling helpless and sad.  I labelled him Job 70 and he's awaiting repair...  

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Consensual Leadership at #WomenEd

John Pearce - webpage:

This is my unabridged "Consensual Leadership" talk at the #WomenEd Conference in Mansfield on 28th April.
An edited version was published in the Secondary Education SecEd Magazine on 13th June

Good Morning WOMENEd

I’ve found more common sense, emotional intelligence, compassion and thoughtful debate through #WomenEd than anywhere else.  So, I believe there’s more hope in this room, than most places I frequent.  Consensual Leadership is an idea I've been mulling over for months but not dared write up.  So, I thought, where better to explore this than in a presentation to a #WomenEd event?   

·         I want to share  What depresses me  and how it led me to hope
·         Float an idea about Consensual Leadership and
·         Offer a Model to Evaluate it

What depresses me…

I’ll just list Names:  Trump, Weinstein, Mike Ashworth (Boss of Sports Direct – less than 5 miles away from here in Mansfield) and some topics:  Fake News, Sexual Abuse, Grenfell Tower, Child Safety, Gender Pay gap, Social Media corruption, Windrush….

It all seems to be about the abuse of power….. unthinking selfishness, of the both the abusers AND their silent witnesses – who mutely watched.   We can all name someone who meekly watched the abuses we now know took place.  I guess each of us harbour some shame when we didn’t speak truth to power, grass up, whistleblow, or call out, “Not in my name” on some occasion when a bully was at play….  Shame on all Silent Witnesses.

It depresses me that so many of these named people, and the others you know, practise inadequate leadership by being, variously: coercive, dominant, gun-ho, oppressive, bullying, abusive and macho.  It’s even more depressing when these “styles” are prized by some observers, speaking of: authoritarian, decisive, strong, heroic…..  Then I realised what I was REALLY angry about were the non-consensual approaches. It's not just the style that you use it's the way that you use it...

Inadequate, non-consensual leaders tend to act first and think second, if they think at all.  When things go wrong, as they often do, they talk of “unintended consequences”, to excuse their lack of thought - probably because they didn’t seek the help, or advice of others.  If they did consult it’s likely the others were too frightened to disagree.  I’ve watched that happen – jumped in myself and got the bruises – but they do heal, over time.

It’s possible to read this as a cycle of doom…  and it will be unless we act.  "All that is required for evil....."  We have to break the cycle!  So, I want to explore how Consensual Leadership might be one way of doing just that…   (and I was thinking:  Who better to understand and do this than strong women?)

So….  Consensual Leadership – what is it?

Reasonable people, in the light of the abuses above, especially in the heat of #MeToo responses, are coming to accept that the best, PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, especially but not exclusively sexual, are judged on whether they were consensual – literally judged in many cases (ref: Bill Cosby this week)

So, I began thinking privately, through the hurt of all this, and I’m now asking publicly - "Shouldn’t we apply the same standard in our WORKING RELATIONSHIPS?  Surely, they too must be consensual?"  We need to begin thinking about Consensual Leadership in order to model the kind of behaviours we want to nurture in those we lead, especially our students - the future leaders

My starter definition for Consensual Leadership:

Consensual Leadership is about encouraging acceptance and agreement before actions are taken. It is about seeking cooperative approaches and mutual understanding. It implies sympathetic and emotionally intelligent responses.  It is inclusive, enabling and empowering and encourages working together and caring interdependently. 

and yes, it's about love, or at least, unconditional regard, respect, dignity of thought.

On the way…. Can we please stop heralding INDEPENDENT LEARNING as a destination, rather than a signpost for INTERDEPENDENT learning?  Independent implies “It’s all about me” which is how the notion of, “I’m all right Jack!” is perpetuated.  Thank God Jill arrived.  Thinking "I'm independent" is how macho leadership  begins and triumphs.  By the way, I looked for a female equivalent of Macho but couldn’t find one – significant?  One Thesaurus did offer “Feminism” but that doesn't work.  No…. Interdependence is a higher level of understanding than Independence because it means, “It’s all about us” including the dependent and vulnerable. It's also a stepping stone to consensus....

And as I'm pausing (ranting?) by the wayside I’ll also plead that we end that stupid notion that only Teachers teach and only Leaders lead.  We each do both…. Now back on the track….

I believe that when we, teachers and leaders in education, demonstrate Consensual Leadership, there will be fewer Trumps, Weinsteins and Grenfells….

So, how to encourage consensual leaders?   

I have long argued that, Judging the point and nature of intervention is our key skill as teachers and leaders i.e. choosing whether to intervene, or not, and then when and how to intervene to have a desired effect… in this case to instill, sustain and develop Consensual Leadership behaviours…..

Try this....

A Model to Evaluate Consensual Leadership


(Point And Nature of Intervention Needs Intelligence) 

OK it’s an awful acronym but you’ll remember it…

The model suggests that moving our behaviours from LEFT to RIGHT on the continuum will bring about consensual relationships.  Right Hand behaviours will facilitate INTERDEPENDENCE which is about working together.  It’s not that the LEFT is wrong – it’s recognising that too many Left Hand behaviours, too often, will tend to build dependence.  “Please Miss – what do you want us to do next?”  So, we ought to get to the Right Hand behaviours ASAP if we want to build capacity, encourage sharing and teamwork, “Hey…look at this – we can do it ourselves”.

Let's explore too, how it’s possible to TELL and INSTRUCT with agreement i.e. consensually.  “Let me show you first, in order that you will better do it when you have a go…soon”.  This will sound and feel very different from dominant, non-responsive hectoring TELLS and INSTRUCTS. “Do as I say (because I say so)  (because I am your boss - I am paying you)  (because I'm bigger/stronger than you!)".  Conversely, it’s possible to DELEGATE cruelly by dumping work on colleagues. It can also be dangerous to LET GO too soon, before students, or colleagues are ready.  Consensual leadership is about tone and manner too.  It is about knowing your people and  demands emotional intelligence.

So, I'm hoping that applying The PANINI CONTINUUM model will be about making appropriate choices.  It lets us judge that point and nature of appropriate intervention... as we try to foster consensus and interdependence.  It’s about we leaders building capacity in order to set free…

So, play with PANINI!  Use it to, “Look at what you do, with a view to doing it better next time”. Use it as a bookmark, stick on your notice-board, even your bedpost…

·        Shifting he bulk of your interventions to the right AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  Go on... Hand over responsibility – dare to trust.
You could
·       REVIEW something you led recently and how you might have deployed more of the right hand approaches – sooner and with more people…
·       Challenge yourself and others, about HOW and WHY you'll PLAN to use a range of CONSENSUAL styles in a new initiative..

So…… I’ve tried to say…

The world, globally and locally, will become less depressing if we give hope to those who have been and are still being abused by some in power.

Leadership is about creating the permitting circumstances for others to grow and learn to become Interdependent

I floated the idea of Consensual Leadership and argued that if we want our young people and colleagues to understand and apply Consensual Leadership in their Personal AND Working lives… we have to model it ourselves, in our day to day behaviours.

I’d love to talk more and develop this thinking with anyone interested…

email me on  
or via the contact page on my website

By the way..... there is an interesting POSTSCRIPT on the original post here