They fought for a better life – Review by Stephen Jeffery

How to make a million jobs – A charter for social enterprise

A Review

I met Colin at The Cottage Cafe, Pitfield Street, Shoreditch in London. This cafe is a fine example of what enterprise can do , it is a vibrant trendy cafe plus it has select second hand furniture and other goods for sale . Just down the road there is a social impact hub which hosts several charities  and is next door to London Youth a third sector representative body for young people’s centres in London.

This area of London is very close to my heart. A 100 years ago in a street just a few minutes walk away my Great Grandfather lived with his parents and seven brothers and sisters in a small terraced house. He was a lowed skilled worker and he lived in a world where there was no welfare state and he regularly faced worklessness and underemployment in the London of the 1900s. In September 1914, At 23 he volunteered for the Royal Fusiliers, he was wounded twice he survived Gallipoli, The Somme and was taken Prisoner at Cambria. On his return he worked hard and improved his skills and therefore his prospects. He and his children became successful and made positive social impact by starting businesses and employing local people.

Colin’s book shows that despite numerous systems, complex bureaucracies and billions of pounds it is people who make a difference and it is enterprise, focus and social impact that should be the real aims so that we can ensure real tangible prosperity. Colin is right, challenging and beating worklessness is the main objective now. Worklessness is a perennial weed it grips and restricts everything that it touches. It ties down our prospects for growth and freedom and it has an even more terrible impact on something more important …democracy. If people have no stake in society, democracy erodes away and is usurped by the ideologies of fear. My great Grandfather and 10,000’s of other Londoners have fought , died, protested and survived for a better life and worklessness is our collective challenge.

An excellent read and full of sound ideas for a positive way forward  I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has a passion for dealing with the world as it is and championing locally generated solutions to worklessness.


Stephen Jeffery
Chief Executive

London Learning Consortium
Portland House
Stag Place