Blog & News from SajeImpact - Tags: Politics

18 Weeks and Counting

18 Weeks and Counting

I will be 55 in just 18 weeks time. For me life will be able to take another step into the next season in my life.

When this happens I am hoping to make greater use of this site for my musings on life and the world around! I have one big interview in May which might put these plans back a little bit (about 4 years) but either way there will be more time for travel and writing.

Stay tuned.


Seasons in Life - The Next one for Andy and Saje Impact

There are seasons to life I believe. Well it certainly feels like that as I start September 201Changes in 2018!8.

A number of Sport Board positions come to their natural end after several years of voluntary service - The Sport & Recreation Alliance , Special Olympic and CIMSPA . I want to thank everybody who has helped and supported me during the last 8 years since leaving Parliament (losing the election!) and welcoming me into the world of sport.

It has been another fascinating learning curve working with a sector I have passion for and trying to bring a fresh perspective and influence practise and policy. I will continue to do this but in different ways over the next 'season', mainly through The Sports Think Tank and through SAJEIMPACT LTD where I have generated a series of partnerships to bring the best people I have worked with to the sector - like David Slemen Sport:80 Services Limited . As always Loughborough University Loughborough University London will play a large part of what I do.

I will announce a few new NED positions too over the coming weeks.

I have always had a passion for my home county so I will be doing more economic growth work in Leicestershire through the LLEP too

Here is to the new season. Even if that includes retiring formally from Birstall RFC!

Tags: Politics

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Merry Christmas from Saje Impact for 2016

Posted: Wed, 21 Dec 2016 16:07

Merry Christmas from Saje Impact for 2016

Merry Christmas from Saje Impact for 2016

As we wind down this week to close on Friday for the Christmas holiday we want to wish everybody we have worked with in 2016 a very Merry Christmas.

Each year at Saje Impact we wonder what the next year will bring our way – and it never disappoints. We are delighted to have welcomed new clients, new partners and lots of new friends and colleagues to the events, conferences, talks, lectures and engagement on social media! It has been a bit of a crazy year in our political circles – Brexit, Corbyn and Trump. But the sport has been fantastic with Leiecster City, the renewed England Team, an amazing Team GB performance in Rio and Birstall RFC promoted again!

We look forward to an exciting 2017 with a series of new projects including our work on #sportbrexit and the fantastic opportunity to shape the amazing stadium development at Scunthorpe.

We are available to clients throughout the Christmas period but re-open formally on the 6th January

Tags: Politics, Sajeimpact, Sport

General Election Campaign Starts - Get an Insiders View!

Posted: Tue, 06 Jan 2015 09:36

General Election Campaign Starts - Get an Insiders View!

General Election Campaign Starts - Get an Insiders View!

As the General Election Campaigns effectively kicked off yesterday it really struck me that for the first time in about 30 years I will not be contesting an election as a candidate. It is a weird and yet liberating feeling. It allows me to observe the campaigns on behalf of my clients with an insiders knowledge as an 'elder statesman' already! Of course I know who I will be voting for and that is obvious but I approach my analysis in a much more dispassionate way these days.

For avoidance of doubt I can confirm that I will not be contesting the 2015 General Election. I know I have made this clear since I lost in 2010 but I am still asked regularly enough for me to need to say it again. Or in political speak "I can foresee no circumstances under which I will be contesting the 2015 General Election."

After 2010 I realised how tiring and all consuming politics had become and at a cost to my family life. There was almost a sense of relief losing the 2010 election and I quickly enjoyed being able to run a normal life where my every decision was not subject to press misrepresentation and even my choice of holiday destination was a matter of public interest. I quickly found waking up at weekends without a series of surgeries, door knocking/canvassing sessions and public events to attend was pleasant. Although I got involved in the Leadership campaign for David Miliband I quickly started taking a sabbatical from political involvement. They decided to select the candidate to fight Loughborough in 2015 soon after the 2010 election. At the time I had no job and no idea what I would be doing by 2015.. the idea of 5 years out of work, trying to feed a family and campaigning almost full time not only didn't appeal but I couldn't see how it would be financially possible. I have talked about this often enough. These days its hard to have a proper job and get involved in politics. Quite frankly I couldn't actually afford to think about being the candidate.

So I moved on a built my next career around my passion for sport, politics and faith over here at sajeImpact Ltd. We have had an amazing journey and so many amazing and fun clients (we choose who we work with so it's my fault if it isn't fun). It means I have been an observer of politics and have found little or no time to be actively do anything useful. It has meant that like most of the population I have had little day to day direct contact with local politics and have watched from the sidelines through the media and twitter!

So once the election gun was fired yesterday I felt, as John Rentoul described in the Independent today "depressed and fascinated" in equal measures. I know the techniques and tactics and what the parties are trying to achieve and the messages they are trying to get across, but equally as a punter I am depressed by the level of engagement.

Every time I see the Commons, and the Green Benches I do have a little yearning for finding my place and voice again – just 2 rows behind the front bench and just a few places nearer to the Speaker. I did feel at home after 13 years as an MP in the Commons, and although I feel I was able to 'move-on' quickly there is little doubt that the magic of the place and the national voice I was given for that period is something I miss. In particular it is the comrades and colleagues from across the House that I miss most. But as I say above – I am not going back so I have equally enjoyed all the new friends and colleagues I have met in my new world.
But back to the main point for the blog today… why I can help clients old and new through this next period up to Election Day and beyond. I will be looking at the polls, the detailed battleground seats, who is up and who is down and the consequences of the out come on what policy will look like for the next 5 years.

I will be producing some generic blogs here at SajeImpact but I would love to share more detailed analysis with more people – so If you are interested in receiving an insiders view and some experienced advice from across the political spectrum we are here to help. I am able to announce today that we are signing up the services of a retiring Lib Dem MP for what is happening to them and from a retiring Tory MP for an insiders view of their Party without the spin.

We have some competitive pricing for our work so please do get in touch.

Andy Reed OBE

Tags: General Election, Labour, Lib Dem, MP, Tory, politics

Coming up for SajeImpact in 2015

Posted: Sun, 28 Dec 2014 16:43

Coming up for SajeImpact in 2015

Coming up in 2015

This is not quite the New Year Message I used to put out as an MP, but more of a prequel to what will be happening at SajeImpact in 2015 – or what we hope will be happening!

For those who follow the tweets, facebook or my Linkedin it can be a confusing mix of sport, faith & politics. I make no apologies for that and this is one of the reasons SajeImpact exists – to allow me to pursue those passions and to make a real impact in the world. So the things below will take a greater portion of my time next year but this does not mean everything will be dominated by these all year round, it ill just be that these are prioritised.

So we will be spending time on the Rugby World Cup, the sport and physical activity agenda, the general election – both from the sport & Physical activity agenda as well as obviously taking a great interest in the outcome of the May 7th General Election and an end to the coalition.

The Year Ahead

There will be a series of themes running throughout the year – and certainly a year that will be domintaed a little by the Rugby World Cup in September and October and a great deal of the time in the build-up to the tournament. I will be tied up in rugby legitimtaley for once- through engage2015, through sportrectweets, through SajeImpact, through G&G with our work in Rugby BC and through my voluntary role on the Area Legacy Group Board. I will be writing about the role of engage2015 for a number of articles in the coming weeks so will be posting more details here.

The General Election is of course something that will dominate our year. It is the first time in 30 years that I will not be involved in an election campaign. Instead I am handing over the reigns in Loughborough to Mathew O'Callaghan our Labour PPC. I will blog in more detail about this decision and my support for Mathew.

My increasing interest in the physical activity agenda stretches to a greater understanding of future trends and their impact on people as 'consumers and participants' and especially in the use of technology and innovation. Again, lots more will be added to the site this year as well as to our micro site

New this year will be a bit more time backing Sarah and awarness rasing for ME – and following Sarahatsaje is a must for anybody interested.

Of course we have some new clients too in 2015 – again based on much of where our priorities above take us! We will blog and update the site with more details on each of these early in the new year.

So please follow me on twitter andyjreed_obe or over at facebook or find me on Linkedin. From the website you can also link to my Tumblr or Instagram!

Tags: Faith, Physical Activity, Politics, Sajeimpact, Sport

GE Campaign Starts Officially

Posted: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:01

Although it feels as though the general election campaign has been running for months – particularly since the conference season – it legally is defined by the start of the 'Long-Campaign' for spending purposes this week on the 19th December.

Our clients will continue to get some great insight into what the polling means and what people are really thinking inside the Westminster Bubble – but there will be some other general insights and thoughts on this blog as well as via my twitter (see the feed on the side bar)

What we are watching isn't just the national opinion poll headlines we get week to week. The real battle ground is always the 100 or so marginal seats where the changes can and do take place. I know I nursed one for 13 years! The polling is generally different in these and we need to remember that when we see the headlines.

What is also different this time of course is the impact of 'Other'. In the past the BNP vote or Green was 'Other'. Now of course we have UKIP, The Greens and the SNP factor north of the Border. Even if UKIP only get the 2-4 seats I predict their effect will be felt in many more and which party they hurt most could determine the outcome.

However, whilst all this number crunching is fascinating for political geeks like me the really important thing to focus on is what that means for the type, style and political make-up of the next government. That is where the blogs will try to concentrate some addtional insight and thoughts.

If you are wanting to get some idea of how it went in 2010 I would recommend a series of books I have read written by friends and colleagues and from across the political spectrum. You can decide which is the more accurate!

Tags: GE2015, coalition, conservative, labour, lib Dem, politics

Open the Doors and They Will Come?

Posted: Sun, 02 Mar 2014 10:57

Open the Doors and They Will Come?

We have learned here at sajeImpact that too many organised activities think if they just advertise a bit more, make it a little cheaper or hold a special 'fun' session or service people will come.

Of course I am talking about our main passions/ experiences of sport, faith and politics.

Yesterday the Labour Party finally got round to 'modernising' its democracy to a one member one vote system with trade union members having to sign up individually. The idea being that Ed Miliband wants a mass membership party again. Of course I fully support this and have no problem with the ambition and the actions taken to get there. However, the main problem is not the ease of joining – but what people are being asked to join that remains the problem. The offer of going to branch meetings, selecting a candidate every few years and being asked for your money, your door knocking, telephone canvassing and leaflet delivery time is not the most appealing is it? I did all that for over 20 years. I decided after losing the last election that I needed a break and would spend time with my family, playing sport and building a new career. I thought I would drift back into more of the normal political routine after a time. But once it got to 2 years of not attending political meetings and doorstep activity I found I was using the new found freedom and time to great advantage. No longer feeling guilty for having a Saturday morning playing badminton with my son instead of being on the #labourdoorstep. Oh how I love seeing my twitter timeline full over a weekend of "great reaction on #labourdoorstep and photos of 6 people and the clip board and not missing it!

You see I am not convinced that those millions of people who do not engage in politics will suddenly join Labour just because we made it £3 instead of a full membership fee. It is a much more fundamental problem that makes our current practices unattractive. And I don't just mean fiddling around the edges to make our meetings less threatening!

The same challenges face both sport and the Church. In sport NGBs are having to react to the changing nature of society and provide their games in a different format and in completely new ways. As we all know the big growth has come from informal individualised customisable sports/ activities like cycling and running.

In the Church the Fresh Expressions movement is creating completely new ways to do church – not just fiddling around the edges with a bigger and louder worship group & trying to convince people your 1.5 hour service is now 'fun'.

I am not sure political organisations have even caught up yet with these attempts in other spheres to completely remodel what the 'customer' experience will be. Of course I hate using the term customer and consumer in these circles but I have come to appreciate that unless we think in the same terms we will never attract many new people. You see in sport, faith and politics we are not necessarily competing against each other for people's time. We are competing against all that marketing that says shopping on a Sunday or staying home and consuming games, films or eating out at a bland chain restaurant is what life is all about. We are pushed marketing messages constantly with what a good and busy life will look like. We are pushed messages about what we need to consume/ buy to have the good life. And guess what. Attending political meetings or a cold church building on a Sunday morning doesn't feature heavily in those images.

So we are going to have to change our experiences and offer dramatically to get back to any idea of a mass political movement. We may have to accept that we will never return to the mass political meetings. We live in a different era. Like many I mourn the loss of relationship and bonds built up with like minded communities and won't give up the idea that they can be rebuilt and reshaped for our modern era. But for now the Labour Party is going to have to change quickly to realise the dreams of the rhetoric from yesterday of creating a movement again. It won't just happen. If we open the doors they won't just come.

Tags: Fresh Expression, Labour, Politics, Sport

All Party Physical Activity Commission - Time for Proper Collaboration

Posted: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:46

I was pleased to be able to present oral evidence to the All Party Physical Activity Commission yesterday in Parliament. As usual I sat in the room with a variety of hats but all these lead to the same conclusion – we need to get the evidence for this inactivity epidemic understood in Westminster and for coordinated action to start right now. I have been fortunate that our work here at SajeImpact with Fleishman Hillard and our Nike account means I have been central to the establishment and running of the Commission. Although I represented the Sport and Recreation Alliance viewpoint yesterday it was good to bring in all the work we have been doing at the Sports Think Tank to look at the evidence base for many of the assertions made in the Sport and physical activity world.

I won't run through all the evidence I wanted to get across yesterday although I will be posting the notes of the main points I wanted to make.

However, there are a few key ideas and messages which I now feel will concentrate my campaigning work over the coming years.

There is now enough evidence to make the case. We really don't need lots more – we just need people to understand the size and scale of the problem and be willing to expend some political capital getting seriously involved. This is not as easy as it sounds. Evan as a champion for sport and physical activity in my 13 years as an MP I also had a marginal constituency with 70,000 voters to look after as well as hundreds of other serious major issues to tackle including global poverty & a war in Iraq for example. It is hard for sport and PA campaigners to understand why politicians don't talk about inactivity every day sometimes. This is why!

Our sport, recreation and physical activity landscape is not totally joined up and speaking with one voice. Indeed I have found it intresting wathcing the various groups and bodies at the evidence sessions wanting to promote their particular veiwpoints and solutions. We ask politicians to get out of their silos and then come and present silo solutions – magic bullet programmes and single sector solutions. I tried hard to make the point yesterday that none of us have THE solutions. There has been 50 years of creating an environment of inactivity. The factors have been wide and varied that have led to these changes and not all are government policy led. Societal changes like technology and social media are outside of the day to day control of politicians. Quite rightly some organisations get very excited by what they are doing especailly when it has some success. And yes we should learn from that but not expect everything to be instantly scaleable or the 'answer' to this epidemic. The solution lies in lots of marginal gains and turning the direction of travel for society.

So although I was there 'representing' some of the sector around sport, recreation dance and movement I made it clear we don't have the answers for everybody and neither do any of the other players. Our population of 65 million needs segmenting into a wide variety of markets. Even if we doubled our playing numbers from 8-9 million to say 20 million it still leaves some 45 million people not doing sport and recreation regularly yet they still need to be 'moving' for 150 mins a week. For my part I feel the need to continue to campaign for our collective sport, recreation, dance, physical activity sector to mature into a proper alliance of common interest and to reduce and remove the turf wars I watch on a daily basis. That's what has been so liberating about getting behind the Designed to Move banner – the authors want it to be picked up and used and not all credit to flow back to them. This is so refreshing.

That is where my energy will now be put. Rationalising and pointing out the need for greater collaborative leadership in the sector and the ending of duplication and the 'sharp elbows'. I see it daily and feel the need to start saying openly what we all know to be true. After watching Life of Brian again with the family again during half term I thought of the sports landscape when the factionalism of the Judean Popular Front v Peoples' Front of Judea etc was hilariously portrayed. All too familiar in my sport, political and church life. Splitters!

Tags: Andy Reed, Physical Activity, School Sport, politics, sport

Party Conference Season

Posted: Sun, 23 Sep 2012 18:51

Regular readers (as far back as my days as an MP) will know I have never been the biggest fan of the Party Political Conference season. Indeed I used to avoid attending as many conferences as possible and find something more valuable and practical to do with my time. There were many more of my friends who felt the same way but often felt compelled to attend the conferences for their party out of duty. To be honest there were an equal amount who loved the buzz of conference and would never miss it.

However, now I am attending to meet and greet MPs, councillors and activists to judge the mood of the Parties and their supporters around sport policy. The 2012 Olympic games gives plenty of opportunity to raise the issues surrounding sport beyond the handful of usual suspects who understand the valuable contribution it makes to society.

That is the optimist in me speaking. In reality I fear the Games and the golden glow are fast disappearing in political circles. It is easy to bask in the glory of Gold medals and to congratulate our UK Sport funded winners. But not many politicians want to spend much time trying to understand grass roots clubs, how school sport works or which NGBs will be funded in the RIO cycle of elite sports.

So our job over the next three weeks will be to identify the small number of those who get it and want to work hard to keep sport at the forefront and to make the case so easy to back for those who don't want to dive in too deeply but generally get the idea that a proper sports policy is a good thing.

I will blog here and over at the Sport & Recteation Allaince about our success or otherwise. As I say I am an optimist. But my reflections will be an honest assessment.

Right ... Off to find the most interesting fringe meetings at Lib Dem conference to hear and speak about sport.

Tags: Olympics, politics, sport policy

Political Stock in Freefall

Posted: Sun, 20 May 2012 19:30

One of the areas we still enjoy commenting upon here at sajeImpact is the latest political trends. What we hope yo bring is a unique blend of understanding how the politics of Westminster and Whitehall really work - but not relying on a cosyness to the centre to make the right judgements.

It is obvious from my background that Labour and co-operative politics are in my soul and DNA. Again harking back to my "Don't think of an Elephant" book I know my 'Frames' as described by Lakoff are to see the world from a social justice perspective on the left. However, I also hope we bring the deep understanding about relationship and the wide number of political friends I have made over the years on all sides of the political and religious specturm.

This is why I have been commenting a great deal on the fall in stock of the Prime Minister and the Tories. Like many political commentators I have known for years that Cameron has been despised an dislijed by most of his backbenchers. The feeling was mutual up to 2010 and perhaps shows why he was so ruthless at letting so many of the old guard go at that election by forcing them to step down or retire. We saw that battle played out again in the 1922 Committee elections last week.

But Cameron was tolerated. He was tolerated by these backbenchers because they had been out of power for a decade and he was the first sign of hope that they might have found a winner.

But as you can see from my blogs in 2008-2010 I was not convinced at his winning credentials. It was given that he was certainly more liked than Gordon Brown. And despite my own admiration for Gordon I knew only too well that being better liked than Gordon was hardly a ringing endorsement.

So for a couple of years people never really warmed to him. More out of despair at Labour and slight felling the Tories weren't as toxic as they used to be the electorate were intrigued enough to have a look at him. But they were never convinced enough to trust him with Downing Street and the coalition was born.

Over the last 2 years he did manage to defy the political gravity of the austerity measures. But in the last few months his stock has fallen into freefall and people are already talking about this as a one-term government.

I know this is happening on the ground too. Suddenly serious people are starting to take an interest in the policy process in the Labour Party. It has been handed to John Cruddas MP to lead and this should certainly mean there is some fresh thinking. As many organisations plan on a 5 year strategy they increasingly want to know what Labour thinks. And they are right to be interested.

At the 2012 election the Tories had an open goal. The country had suffered a deep recession that had happened on Labour's watch. Ok it was a global recession but the electorate don't care who is to blame - its always the government! The fact that Gordon Brown turned out to be an unpopular PM should have led to a great Tory victory. But it didn't happen. The Coalition was born. This was probably the Tory high point. If you look at their polling from the mid 90s onwards the lower 30%s was common. The jump to 36% in 2010 was not enough. Nobody can now really see them jumping above 40%+ to get to the level where they could win a working majority. The fall of the Lib Dem vote will help both parties (but Labour more I suspect). The rise of UKIP could also damage the Tories in 2015.

I know some Labour colleagues are getting rather excited by double digit poll leads - but as many of us who have been around for a couple of decades know, we have been here before. And then lost.

Labour has a different set of problems which I will look into in more detail over the coming weeks. But its perceived economic, and foreign affairs record along with the Ed Miliband situation mean they probably cant win a working majority either. So we are into the possibility of coalition politics for a decade. The implications of which party the Lib Dems ( or nationalist parties) would support is therefore the big question over the next 24 months in UK politics.

Tags: Cameron, Labour, Politics, Tory

Don't Think of an Elephant

Posted: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 12:28

Don't Think of an Elephant

It is not an exciting book or title but Don't think of an Elephant is one of those books I constantly go back to. I have read the book three or four times and wish many more people in progressive politics or even progressive campaigning had read at least once.

The last couple of weeks of headlines have reinforced the need to understand how the 'Right' captures the language and our frames all too easily. The debate over welfare reform means it is impossible for the left to defend the poor because it is too late. The right and their friends in the media have stigmatised the poor (read benefit scroungers) to the extent it is impossible to have a rational debate. So you find Labour joining the Tories in denouncing the 'workshy' with the same venom. It is a depressing caricature of the millions of people that this capitalist system tosses aside and then blames for their plight.

Sadly it has been left to Bishops and friends like Tanni-Grey Thompson in the Lords to have the courage speak out.

I may find time to say a lot more about what the book can teach progressives. At the moment I use the lessons learned in our work here at SajeImpact - understanding our frames is vital. Too often 'lobbyists' try to win arguments based on a long list of facts that they are sure must win people over to their cause. Understanding frames will blow this work out of the water.

Tags: Framing, Politics, Progressives

Having to 'Fit In' - in Church and Politics

Posted: Sat, 31 Dec 2011 15:53

Having to 'Fit In' - in Church and Politics

I see from the Church Times that attendence at Christmas services was up again this year. It seems that whilst fewer people seem to be willing to attend a church for most of the year an annual outing to the local Cathdral or community church is increasingly popular (only slightly - let's not get carried away here).

I am not quite sure why this is happening. I would love to see some detailed research into what has drawn people into Church for this one-off event. I wonder if we are attracting a sort of social christianity - the one Cameron described of himself. They don't believe in God and are not that interested but that old Church building in the middle of the community is a bit of the past we don't quite want to let go of just yet? We can of course speculate and I would love to hear what you think. As I said I would love to see more detailed research.

However, what does happen of course (like at most baptism services & weddings) is that we now have a generation who have no idea what happens and how to conform to the social norms of a Church service. It is only when visitors come that you realise how many things you do - just because that's the way you are expcted to behave and speak. Sadly to us they have become normal. To outsiders they seem strange. After I have visited a Mosque of a Gudwara or Temple I have ofetn come back to Church wondering how strange some of our normal activities and sayings must seem.

It is the same in the political world. It seems we create norms and this helps us identify the newcomers until 'they learn to fit in'

What has been refeshing being outside the Westminster bubble and trying to find new ways to express what church looks like is the new perspective you can bring to accepted 'norms'.

Politics is fairly broken and doesn't really connect with 'ordinary people' and their fears and hopes. Westminster has become a place for a political class I am afraid to say. This needs a longer explanation and something I will return to.

'Church' ( I use that term for ease) has also increasingly become detached. Again I generalise greatly but I know most people will recognise the drift into the Churh of personal salvation and collective worship. Whilst generalising I also know of hundreds of great examples of where Church has become edgey and serves the needs of its community. It is those I want to learn more about. A place where the outsider doesn't have to learn a whole new social code just to fit in.

I hope to explore more of this theme in 2012. A lot of my work with Kick London will be looking at using sport to connect with people in their community and my work with the Bible Society will look internationally at China. A challenging and exciting time ahead.

Tags: Church, Politics

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