We're holding our first Table meeting to discuss Britain, politics, and the future. It will be Upstairs at The Green Man pub, 36 Riding House Street, London, W1W 7EP, 6.00pm for 6.30pm on Thursday, 6 November 2014. Everyone welcome. If you get there early I might even buy you a drink. Might.
They do food there or we could all go grab a pizza or something afterwards.
First, could you click on this link to indicate whether or not you can make it? No binding commitment, but it would help me to estimate numbers and gather emails.
What's the context?
Scotland just went through at least 2 years of intensive thinking, debate and discussion about what kind of country they wanted. It was a conversation that almost the whole population was involved in. The turnout at the referendum was 84.5%. No General Election in Britain (since 1918 when most adults got the vote) has ever achieved that level.
Since the No vote in Scotland
- the Government is exploring restricting votes on laws that affect only England to English MPs.
- Ed Miliband is pushing for a constitutional convention to look at how Britain is governed.
- if the Conservatives win the next election, they've promised a referendum on our membership of the EU.
In other words, significant constitutional change is afoot, possibly the most important constitutional change for a century. We should be part of this. We need to engage with what this country is and could be. We should show the same care and consideration to our future as Scotland showed to theirs.
'Table' is just a start. No commitment to anything more than just sitting down and talking.
How will it work?
Absolutely no idea. I'm happy to bring some questions and ideas to a first meeting, but I hope you'll have better ideas and will be prepared to share them.
Only a couple of rules:
- let's try to keep things open and positive; let's not get stuck in pessimism or negativity or always seeing the problems with ideas.
- the people who turn up are the right people; let's not waste time worrying about who didn't show.
- if we want to talk about something, let's talk about it, rather than wait for someone else to raise it.
- We don't need to be perfect; we just need to talk. Let's allow good ideas to stay good ideas. Let's not get bogged down in the detail yet.
- let's be imaginative, let's dream a little bit, let's remember that things can and do change and people make things change.
What sort of ideas?
I think we should try both to be practical and to take leaps of faith. The politics we have at the moment seem very narrow; our thinking should occupy a broader landscape.
Some people will be interested in economics; others in digital futures; some know a lot about the environment; some are experts in transport issues; some want to talk about the constitution; others will have ideas about reforming our legal system. This is all good. I want to find out things from you. We should all become a little bit more expert in stuff. And I'm as self-deprecating as the next person, but I'm also up for taking ourselves a bit seriously.
I really want us to come up with some new ideas.
I've been trying to gather together some interesting articles and ideas. It's been getting too big for this page so I've put them on a new page here. I will try to update that regularly. If you find anything you think is worth our collective attention, email me and I'll add it.
Of course, there's no need whatever to look at anything before the meeting. It's just if you are interested. Please also feel free just to turn up.
So are you in?
Thanks for reading this far - and if you didn't follow the link at the top of the page, could you just do this? It'll take a minute of your time. Just so I have a vague sense of numbers.
See you there!