Sunday, 31 October 2010

New shopping centre in the City of London

On Friday after work, I stopped off at the new shopping centre that’s opened in the City; it’s called the One New Change.

It’s the first major shopping complex to open in the heart of London's financial district

I read a comment earlier this week saying it represents the ‘feminisation of the City’ as it allows City workers the chance to shop during lunch hours and after work.

The big benefit is that City workers no longer have to trek over to Oxford Street if they want to do some shopping during the week.

This is what I have to do working in the backwater that is Kennington South London. I travel through the City on my journey to and from work, but now I can stop off and do some shopping as well as see some stunning views of the St Paul's cathedral.

I've heard a few comments about whether London really needs another major shopping complex.

We've already got the Westfield centre in Shepards Bush, another Westfield opening in Stratford next year as part of the Olympic regeneration of the area, and Kings Cross has a new shopping complex opening soon as well.

To be honest there's nothing in the One New Change that you wouldn't find anywhere else.

They've got a Banana Republic which has become one of my favourite shops since it opened a store on Regent's Street, and there's also a Superdry store, which is another brand I really like.

But anyone who likes shopping for mainstream brands is going to find something they like in there.

Views of St Paul's Cathedral from inside

What is quite impressive is the number of different restaurants on one of the floors. The Guardian has reported that the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey are both opening restaurants.

It means that it's not just a shopping complex, but somewhere where you could have an evening out as well.

On the local BBC London news, they covered this story and although the complex is good news for the City, there were people interviewed who argued that more could be done for some of London's independent retailers, with more support given for existing shopping areas such as Carnaby Street.

It's a valid point; there's a certain homogenisation when it comes to shopping in this country, with the same shops all selling the same thing, but I'm sure the One New Change will prove to be a success as the City hasn't previously had a major shopping outlet like this before.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Say hello to the i paper

I picked up a copy of the new i paper yesterday.

It's the first new national newspaper to be launched in the the UK since 1986.

It's only 20p, although I got it for free through vouchers given away in Monday's Evening Standard.

The i paper's been set up by the Independent - you could call it the Independent's little brother.

First impressions - it's essentially a more in depth Metro.

In yesterday's Evening Stardard there was a mini pull introducing i to readers.

The idea behind the paper is that in our modern lives we're constantly bombarded with news and information. Whether it's from TV, the press, radio, the internet, it's overwhelming, and we don't have enough time to make sense of it all.

I've got to say I agree with this. I sometimes feel I have information overload, there's so much stuff out there that I want to know about but don't have time to take it all in.

This is the role that the i paper has according to it's own press release, in that it's there to make sense of all this news in a simple straightforward manner. In their own words they say:

"i cuts through this information overload to give you all you need. It distinguishes what matters from what doesn't and gets straight to the point."

The editor of the Independent, Simon Kelner who's also responsible for overseeing the new paper was quoted saying:

"With the launch of the i, we are creating a new type of newspaper, attractive to those who prize intelligence, conveniences and desirability"

The i paper is the paper for the internet generation. People are so busy these days, they don't have the time or patience to read about a story in any great depth.

We want the facts immediately, we want to know what's happening, why it's happening, and what it all means before quickly moving on to the next thing.

This is what i paper is trying to do. People who want some serious news, but who are struggling for time and just want the key facts of a story in simple easily understood way.

I admit myself, If I buy the Times or the Guardian on a week day, I never read it all because I haven't got the time.

On the internet people don't really read many stories. Instead they scan information hopping from one site to another looking for something that grabs their attention. I think the i is trying to capture this type of reader.

It's a brave move to launch a new national newspaper, there's no sign of newspaper sales increasing and all I ever hear are doom and gloom stories about the future of the press.

The challenge for the i will be whether it can persuade those people used to getting their news for free either in the form of the Metro or online to pay 20p for it.

I should ask myself this question. I've got vouchers from the Evening Standard which means I can get it for free for this week, but am I going to pay for it? I'll let you know.

Monday, 25 October 2010

How not to negotiate a new contract, by Wayne Rooney

It’s been over two months since the football season began, and I haven’t written a single football blog.

I think after the World Cup, I didn’t have much enthusiasm for writing any football posts.

There’s been some big football stories recently, which I haven’t commented on, but following the stuff that’s been going on with Wayne Rooney and Man Utd this last week, I knew I had write something.

Rooney might have signed a new contract, but nobody has really come out of this with their reputations enhanced.

The whole episode has left a very sour taste in the mouth.

I've excepted over the years that football has evolved from a professional sport to a multi- billion pound industry.

There's a certain cynicism you can develop towards the game when so much money is involved but even my level of cynicism didn't prepare me for what happened last week.

When I first heard that Rooney wasn't going to sign a new contract, I dismissed it as nothing. Surely it would only be a matter of time before he signed?

I was both right and wrong. After Alex Ferguson amazing press conference where he told the media Rooney wanted to leave, it really looked as if his Old Trafford career was over.

By last Friday, just when I was really coming to terms with the fact he was leaving and wondering which club he would end up at, it was suddenly announced he'd signed a new 5 year contract.

It was as if the entire football world had been taken for idiots. I didn't like it at all. If the exercise by Rooney was simply to get a pay rise, then the way he went about it was totally wrong.

It was one of those moments where I thought, I don't really like football. I don't like what this game's become. Everything about the week's events were unsavory.

On the surface it looks like a good deal for everyone, but from Wayne Rooney's point of view the whole exercise has been a PR disaster.

To rubbish your team mates and question the ambition of one of the biggest clubs in world football was a complete miscalculation.

He's now faced with the task of winning back the support and confidence of this teammates and many of the club's fans.

I actually agree with many of Rooney's concerns over the strength of Utd's squad,but much of what was said in public should have been said in private.

The next few years will be critical in the club's recent history. The old guard of Scholes, Giggs, and Neville will all be retiring and the midfield will need to be revamped.

Utd will need a new keeper as Edwin Van Der Sar will be retiring at the end of the season and they probably need a new striker as Michael Owen isn't really the player he was.

I'm sure Ferguson knows this, but it was wrong for Rooney to hold the club to ransom by looking for a pay increase, and demanding assurances that the club would remain competitive in the transfer market.

Judging on Rooney's form for England and Man Utd in the last 9 months you could argue that's it's him that should be offering assurances that he can still perform at the highest level.

I read a great piece on Rooney last week, by the former England Rugby star Brian Moore writing in the Telegraph.

He argued Rooney may be overrated, a flat track bully, as his record in World Cups and the latter stages of the Champions League hasn't been that impressive.

Perhaps he needs to pay more attention to improving and developing his own game, rather than doubling his salary and questioning his club's ambition.

I've read so much about the rights on wrongs of Rooney's actions over the last week, many against Rooney, but some in support for him.

For me, there's a way in which you conduct yourself both personally and professionally and Rooney's conduct hasn't been right.

He may have achieved his original aim, but he's got no credibility left and lost a lot of respect from people.

This week's events have reminded me that Rooney's just another one of England's star footballers whose talent I appreciate and admire, but for whom I have very little affection or respect for.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Comprehensive spending review: What does it all mean?

After months of debate and speculation we finally had the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review this week.

The size of the state is going to be reduced drastically, with public spending being slashed in order to bring down the country’s huge budget deficit.

Everyone's going to lose out in some form or another. The rich, the poor, and the ‘squeezed middle’, but who’s going to lose out the most?

I’ve been hearing so many conflicting comments and opinions that I still don’t know who or what to believe?

The main areas of argument and debate that I can see are these:

1. Who will suffer the most from the cuts?

2. With an estimated 500,000 jobs being lost in the public sector, will there be enough new jobs in private sector to counter balance these losses?

3. Finally, How fast and how deep should the spending cuts be? Will the government’s plans to reduce the deficit get the economy growing, or will it put economic recovery at risk, and send us back into recession?

I find it really hard to decide who’s right or wrong, and some days I just think these questions can’t be answered for another 3 or 4 years.

If you read the press, their views on the cuts differ according to their political leaning.

So the likes of The Telegraph reported that spending cuts would hit the middle classes hardest, but if you read the Guardian, then it’s the poor that will suffer the most.

I didn’t bother reading much of the Press last week because I wanted a more neutral independent analysis of what these cuts all mean.

Over the last year or so I’ve found that if you want that independent analysis on government spending policy, you need to listen to the findings of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The government has argued the cuts are fair, but the IFS has contradicted this claim by stating that those on the lowest incomes will suffer the most.

Nick Clegg then responded to the IFS’s findings by saying they were being unfair against the government.

Moving onto Public Sector jobs, the cuts will result in a drastic shrinking of the state. I accept that in some parts of the country the public sector has become the biggest employer and this needs to be reduced.

I am however a little sceptical on how much the private sector can grow in order to replace those jobs lost in the public sector.

Secondly, I don’t think there’s enough debate on the type of private sector jobs that will be created.

A private sector job could mean anything. It could be stacking shelves in Tescos, are we meant to believe that a redundant middle ranking civil servant in their 40s or 50s is going to be happy doing that sort of job?

If the people are going to lose their jobs in the public sector, they’ve got to be given job opportunities in the private sector that meet their core skills, experience and salary expectations.

I’m just not convinced that the employment market in this country if flexible enough to allow so many people to move successfully from the public to private sector.

My final point is the speed of the cuts. The argument from the government is that there needs to be faster deeper cuts in order to reduce the budget deficit and get the economy growing again.

The other side of the argument says the deficit needs to be cut over a longer period, with more emphasis on getting the economy growing immediately. Only with a stronger growing economy can you tackle the budget deficit.

Both arguments have their merits, but I don’t know which one is going to work.

To help me decide, I sometimes try and look at things from a personal point of view.

If I had a huge l debt problem, my main priority would be to pay that debt off as quickly as possible, rather than saving or investing.

I suppose I’m probably leaning towards the government’s policy on this one, but I do worry about future growth.

You need a crystal ball to predict these things, it’s so difficult!

It’s taken me almost 2 and half hours to think about this and try and get some thoughts down for you to read.

It’s complex stuff. I’m going to stop here for now, but sure I’ll come back and discuss this further as the affects of the cuts start to reveal themselves.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Do some voluntary work, pay less council tax?

This is the question I was asked last week.

I was on my lunch break at work down in Kennington South London, when I was approached by a girl accompanied with a photographer.

She asked if I'd have time to answer a couple of questions. It was one of those moments where I thought why not.

She asked for my thoughts on the idea of people doing some form of local voluntary work if it meant getting a reduction in their council tax bill.

A very interesting idea I thought. I said to her that for me it would depend on what type of voluntary work I'd be required to do.

The main issue I had and which I explained, is that if people do more voluntary work and are paying less in council tax, it means that local authorities are receiving less money from local tax payers.

Now here's a thought. Less money received from tax payers means local authorities might have to cut back on the services they can provide.

Would the voluntary work on offer be about people carrying out the sort of roles normally provided by a your local council?

If that's the case, then I'd be reluctant about volunteering. I like the idea of encouraging more people to get involved in helping out in their local communities, but not if it means people start taking many of the functions that a local government should be responsible for.

I think the girl I was speaking to was slightly impressed by the angle I took in answering her question. The obvious answer is to say of course, I'll do anything to pay less tax.

She told me that she was interviewing people for Lambeth Council's newspaper, Lambeth Life. Lambeth council are interested in possibly starting such a scheme.

She said my comments would be featured in the paper and I had my photo taken by the photographer.

As I headed to a local cafe to get a sandwich I thought more about her question. Perhaps this is the part of David Cameron's 'Big Society' where people are being encouraged to get more involved in running their local communities.

I'm not against the idea in principle, but with local government facing big spending cuts, and looking at further ways to save money; I'm just a little sceptical about the idea of getting volunteers to deliver services and take on roles that should be the responsibility of government.

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Chilean miners are finally rescued

I woke up this morning and turned the tv on to find that the first of the Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days had been rescued.

I don't think there's ever been a news story from Chile that's dominated the world's attention like this.

When so much of our news coverage is generally quite negative, it makes a change to have such a positive feel good news story emerge like this one.

So why has this story captured the world's imagination so much?

It's the ultimate triumph over tragedy story. It says something about the strength of the human spirit.

It's one of those stories where you feel you can learn important life lessons. Whether it's about having hope and faith in yourself or others. People coming to together and working towards a common goal.

When the story first broke, I immediately thought it would be turned into a film at some point.

I still expect this to happen, but I heard a great suggestion the other day. Rather than tell the story in a conventional two hour film, how about telling it in a 12 part drama series?

I thought this was a great idea. It would allow the story to be told in a totally different way.

They'd be more time to develop and understand the characters involved, and explore in more detail the emotions and events as they unfolded.

A series would also be better at generating the sense of the rescue evolving over a period of time, which you wouldn't get with a film.

The Story hasn't ended yet

This isn't really the end of the story, more like the beginning of the next chapter. What's going to happen to the miners in the next few weeks and months?

Celebrity status awaits them

2 months ago they were just a group of ordinary men working down a mine, now they're international celebrities, this will be such a huge adjustment for them to make.

Certainly their experience will provide them with a number commercial opportunities. I don't think there are many people who would begrudge them making some decent money out of their ordeal.

It's the accompanying celebrity status that's going to be a real shock for them to deal with. I hope they get the appropriate support and advice both for themselves and their families.

The psychological impact

The miners are going to receive a great deal of emotional and psychological support over the next 6 months.

Although many of them are in good physical health, the psychological effects may be longer lasting.

It's so difficult to even imagine what it must have been like buried underground, particularly in the first 17 days, when they didn't even know if they would ever be found.

There may be things that we never find out about as the miners may be reluctant to talk about some of the darkest emotional moments down there.

A proud moment of Chile

Chile isn't a country many people know much about, and few people ever visit. The successful rescue of the miners has put the country at the centre of the world's attention.

Chile's President was right when he explained to reporters how this story has been a great achievement for Chile.

Like many people, the few things I knew about the country related to military coups and the terrible dictatorship of General Pinochet.

But now, whenever people hear of Chile, they will think of the San Jose Mine and the rescue of the 33 miners.

They will remember the determination, spirit, and organisation of those involved in the rescue operation.

I know some people are wondering whether the world has gone overboard with this story, but I think that's unfair.

Stories like this one don't come along everyday. It's one of those rare stories where it doesn't matter who you are, or where you're from, you identify with the drama and emotions that have unfolded in the last couple of months.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Apprentice is back

It’s Wednesday night, and there’s a load of loud mouth, arrogant wannabes, shouting on your TV. What does it mean?

The Apprentice is back!

I love the Apprentice, it’s great entertainment and one of my favourite programmes, but does it really have any relevance to the world of business anymore?

Every series starts off the same, the group of contestants, bigging themselves up, talking loud but saying nothing. You take an instant dislike to them and look forward to them making idiots out of themselves.

Admittedly, as you go through the series some people start to become quite likable when you scratch beneath all the hype and bravado.

Despite the entertainment of the arguing, bickering, and board room interrogation by Sir Alan, I'm not sure it has any real lessons on the world of business.

Probably as a result of the editing, a lot of contestants come across as complete idiots. If you learn anything then it's that you don't ever want to work like these people in any business environment.

The Apprentice is suffering one of the problems that Big Brother had. They both started with a set objective, Big Brother was a social experiment, and the Apprentice was about finding the best and brightest talents to work for Sir Alan Sugar.

Things start to change for the worst when producers start picking more extreme characters to boost the entertainment value.

Last week the first contestant to get the sack was Dan Harris who must be one of the most ridiculous contestants yet, to have appeared on the show.

He seemed to spend the entire show barking out orders and intimidating his teammates whilst contributing nothing of any real value to the task.

He showed a total lack of communication and people skills, and zero emotional intelligence. How can anyone succeed in business without such skills?

Great television to watch, but are we meant to believe he or his type represent the cream of this country’s business talent.

Would many of the brightest entrepreneurs feel the need to look for some form of validation or approval on a tv show which is the impression you get from watching a lot of the contestants? Probably not is my answer.

And besides is Alan Sugar even the most exciting and innovative figure around in business. He’s hardly set the business world alight in recent years.

Despite these thoughts I still intend to watch the entire series like I always do, I know it’s going to be entertaining.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

30 Rock - My favourite TV show

This is currently my favourite programme. I've just spent the last month working my way through the first three series on DVD box set.

It’s the funniest comedy I’ve seen in years. If you haven't seen it yet you can have a look at some clips in the video below.

I'm now about to order series 4.

The creator and star of 30 Rock is the American actress and comedian Tina Fey.

I first became aware of her during the 2008 US Presidential elections. She came to the world’s attention following her painfully hilarious impersonations of Sarah Palin, the Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

You can see for yourself below.

I then remember reading a feature about her last year in the Sunday Times Culture section, which mentioned her critically acclaimed comedy 30 Rock.

At the time, my American TV show attentions were dedicated to watching The Wire. Following The Wire I moved onto Mad Men, which I’m now up to date on.

That meant I finally had time to check out 30 Rock. After catching a couple of episodes on Paramount’s Comedy Central channel I decided to buy series 1 & 2.

So what’s the show all about?

Fey plays the lead character Liz Lemon. She’s head writer on a sketch show called The Girlie Show, which is loosely based on Saturday night live.

The name comes from the fact the show’s based at the NBC studio address 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

A typical episode focuses on her attempts to control the two main stars of the show, the manic Eddie Murphy type character Tracy Jordan and the self obsessed Jenna Moroney, played by Jane Krakowski who I remember from Ally McBeal

When she’s not massaging their egos she also trying to juggle the demands of her work and personal life.

Professionally she’s trying to manage a team of wayward writers, as well as meet the demands of her boss, the corporate executive Jack Donaghy, played by Alec Baldwin.

In her personal life, she’s a single late 30 something women, struggling to find Mr Right, and a biological clock ticking louder and louder.

Many aspects of the show are autobiographical and reflect Fey’s own experience of being a head writer on Saturday Night Live.

Her original idea was to set the show on a 24 hour news channel, but after pitching the idea to tv network NBC she was encouraged to write something a little closer to home.

30 Rock is one of those typical American series, where you constantly read rave reviews about, is loved by the critics, and yet is watched by very few people.

Despite this, it’s now into its 5th Season, and you get the impression that it’s a well respected show judging by the amount of guest appearances and cameos from A list actors and celebrities.

Just off the top of my head, the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, David Schwimmer, Oprah Winfrey, Salma Hayek, Steve Martin, and Jennifer Anniston have all made an appearance. It’s really quite impressive the amount of top stars that appear on the show.

If you get the chance, I’d definitely recommend checking 30 Rock out.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Is anyone watching the Commonwealth Games?

This is the question I've been asking myself, as everytime I see any highlights on the news all I see are rows of empty seats at the venues.

The arenas where badminton and gymnastics were being held were practically empty, and on this morning's BBC breakfast news, they said there were less than 10,000 people in the main stadium for the start of the athletics.

It seems that in all the efforts Delhi has made to host the Games and get the venues finished on time, they've forgotten one crucial thing, and that's to get people to come and watch!

The Games have been a bit of a PR disaster so for the Indian organisers

Some of this is a little unfair, some media reporting particularly in the British media actively look for negative angles when it comes to the staging of major sporting events.

Remember all the scare stories that came out about South Africa and this summer's World Cup?

Despite this, India doesn't seem to be helping itself. Some of the complaints about the venues have been justified.

The organisers can count themselves unlucky with the timing of the Games, which has meant many top athletes choosing not to attend; but to have so many empty venues just seems to be making matters worse.

If the attendances continue to remain so low, you've got to wonder whether it was really worth Delhi staging the Games in the first place.

I feel sorry for the athletes, it's not very inspiring to be competing for major medals in soulless empty venues.

Are ticket prices to expensive for locals, is it simply a case of people not being interested in the sports on offer?

I was reading some comments on this subject on one of the BBC's sports blogs. You can read what some people had to say here.

There's still another week of competition to go, so there's still a chance that things might improve, but if not it's hard to see how this year's Commonwealth Games are going to be viewed as a success.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Golf shows me the life of the non sports fan.

Europe reclaimed the Ryder Cup yesterday, beating the USA in one of the most exciting finishes in recent years.

According to some golf fans, the Ryder Cup is possibly the biggest sporting event in the world after the World Cup or the Olympics.

As someone who doesn’t like golf, I find that hard to believe. Because I know the Ryder Cup is a major sporting event, I did watch a bit of the coverage on Sky Sports. I felt some sort of obligation as a sports fan to at least make an effort.

I didn’t understand what was going on, and more importantly I didn’t care. My overall indifference got me thinking:

‘Maybe this is what it feels like for people who hate sport’

I love sport. I’ve followed football, athletics, cricket, rugby, and tennis for the last 25 years. I grew up practising Karate and became a black belt. I belong to a badminton club and play every week to keep fit. Sport has been a major part of my life.

I’m always a little sceptical of other men who don’t like sport. If they’re into music instead that can sometimes make up for things, but to have no interest in any sporting activity whatsoever, I can only shake my head in confusion at that.

Obviously for all sports fans, there are those sports that hold no interest or appeal.

For me you can list golf and formula one under that heading, but golf’s started to appeal to me in the sense that it takes me into the world of the non sporting person.

This morning on BBC breakfast there was a live interview with Europe’s winning captain, Colin Montgomerie. Having no interest in what he had to say, I switched over to ITV, only to find he was also being interviewed on that channel.

Feeling annoyed I thought ‘who cares about all of this? I’m not interested’

I then realised that this is what your non sports fan has to go through all the time. That feeling of annoyance when a sporting event dominates the day’s news coverage.

The half hearted attempts to try and follow the sporting event in question, only to realise you don’t understand what’s going on, and can’t see what all the fuss is about.

This is what it’s like for sports hating people when the World Cup is on, the Olympics or an Ashes series. Now I understand their pain.

Watching golf occasionally, has always given me the chance to remind myself why I don’t like the sport. But now it allows me to briefly enter an unfamiliar world.

When I think of all the amazing sporting achievements I’ve seen, the emotional highs and lows that following sport has generated, it’s hard to understand that feeling of indifference that people who don’t like sport regularly have.

Thank you golf for allowing me to understand.

Monday, 4 October 2010

A benefits revolution

Following George Osborne’s speech today at the Conservative Party Conference, it looks like the country's about to experience a benefits revolution.

This may come as a huge shock to the likes of Graham Clark from Grimsby who I read about in yesterday’s Sunday Times.

When explaining one of the reasons why he’s spent 19 years claiming state benefits instead of getting a job, he said:

‘I don’t know if I’m being a snob but I believe that you have the right at the very least to say you like your job. It’s not just about putting food on the table of clothes on your back, it’s about being able to grow experientially’…… ‘It’s important that employers take into account a person’s holistic needs’

I loved this quote, it made my Sunday afternoon. It made me laugh so much I felt I had to share it with people.

If you wanted an example of why this country needs reform of its benefits system then that quote tells you everything you need to know.

We’re used to hearing stories like that of Graham Clark, but there are also thousands of middle class, middle income families who have also grown dependent on benefits, and are in for a big wake up call.

I actually back much of what George Osborne said today. I agree with preventing people from claiming more in benefits than the national average salary. I also agree there are too many middle income and above average earners claiming things like child benefit.

According to the Sunday Times 14 billion pounds of benefits go to these middle and upper income households, people who I don’t really need it.

What’s going on, we’ve got a Conservative dominated government hitting the middle classes and helping the less well off, I’m all confused. Why aren’t they being the ‘nasty party’ like they’re supposed to be’

Of course, I understand there’s going to be losers, such as the single parent earning family where the parent has a salary of over 45,000 a year.

They’re going to lose out in child benefit, but for me £45,000 is still an exceptionally good salary way above the national average.

So some kids might have to give up clarinet lessons or whatever after school activity it is they do, but they’ll still be able to cope. These people aren’t being pushed below the poverty line!

The glaring anomaly that’s been pointed out is that two parents earning just under 45,000, but taking home a joint salary of over £80,000 will still receive benefits. I admit this makes no sense, but overall I still agree with what the government is doing.

A lot of the old certainties of what the welfare state can and should provide for are having to be reconsidered.

We’ve reached a stage where people from various backgrounds and incomes have just become used to and even spoilt by the benefits culture in this country.

I’m not laying any blame on such people, for generations there’s been an expectation that the government will provide a salary top up, particularly if you’ve paid your national insurance contributions.

This will still be the case for many, but there’s now a growing number of people where the justification for such benefits no longer appear to exist.

Even if the budget deficit is halved or completely reduced in the next 5 years or so, it still looks as if we all need to start adopting a different mindset to our benefits system.