Fifty Shades of Gay (iO Tillet Wright TEDTalk)

Sure, who has 18 minutes in their day to watch a TED Talk?

Let me use my first post of this new project to encourage you to find the time.  This is a seminal piece of public speaking, which will leave you inspired.

The artist iO Tillet Wright makes a pitch perfect address to her audience about topics such as prejudice, human rights, sexuality, and the pursuit of human well being.

Her platform, for me, hammers home possibly the one affirming life statement I have always felt is a good enough one to use each and every day: “do unto others as you would have done unto yourself”.

I’ve written in the past about “international development” issues, the subtler aspects of which I will continue to pay attention to and try to understand (for this is, after all, what I am paid to do) however, in my view, this TED Talk presents such a compelling narrative about who we are, and how we behave, that it should be obligatory viewing for any development-ista, or those interested in the finer subtleties of the development themes of our time: inequality, social justice, gender equity, political freedom, and ultimately, global citizenship in all its potential glory.

When I read, yesterday, Labour’s latest declaration around the future UK international development “agenda” they would promote, I was left agreeing with the initial deluge of online Guardian readers who trashed the sentiments contained within Ivan Lewis’ “social contract with no borders” sentiment.

It seems to me, as with other departmental policies and positioning that, on the issue of international development, there is very little to distinguish Labour’s freshly shuffled pack of prioritised “themes” from what the Conservatives themselves have been dispensing these past few years.

The inevitability of the political points scoring – and the haranguing between two parties ultimately “disagreeing to agree” on how the UK offers a relevant intervention on the global stage, in terms of addressing poverty alleviation – is the equivalent of experiencing some wearisome ache, sapping the spirit and dulling the appetite to do anything about it.

I have no gripes with politicians per se.  “Rather them than me”, and all that.  They are merely the pawns in a contorted and self destructive chess game, undermined from the start for a whole host of reasons.  They have scripts to follow, and faces to save.

iO Tillet Wright’s Self Evident Truths campaign ( is all about faces, too.  It is about using photography to be able to “stare into the eyes” of the very people of whom we might be discrimmating.

It is simple, powerful, and human.

How the Ivan Lewis’ of the world genuinely engage and connect, with those people with whom they are paid to engage and connect, needs reinventing.  Somehow, there must be a new modus operandi for the public sector, and a new set of faces and perspectives represented in politics…

What would get the UK voter endorphins sparked to life, and switched on to the issues of the day?

You tell me.  I am all ears.

All I know, is that if iO Tillet Wright’s name was on a ballot paper, it would take me a lot less than 18 minutes to give her my vote.

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