A Better, Fairer, More Inclusive Democracy


“What would it involve? And How Can We Get It?”

Thursday 19 May at 7.00pm

Priory Rooms, Bull Street (off Corporation Street) Birmingham B4 6AF

  • Nan Sloane, Director of the Centre for Women and Democracy.
  • Tom Pratt, Chairman of Unlock Democracy.
  • Tony Wright, former MP and Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee.
  • Chair: Andrew Coulson, Birmingham Fabian Society.
Followed by:
  • Workshops and discussion– with reports to feed into a Fabian Society research project on Democratic Reform

Joint meeting with Birmingham Fabian Society and Unlock Democracy Birmingham invite you to presentations and discussion on building ‘A Better, Fairer, More Inclusive Democracy’.

Nan will put the issues in context, and show why we cannot go on as we are. Our system of democracy is producing parliaments which do not properly represent gender, race, political parties, or age – and we still depend on a House of Lords which is not elected at all.

Tom will summarise some of the conclusions of a joint Unlock Democracy/ West Midlands Politics of Networks workshop in November last year, which produced a series of practical recommendations. He will also look at the local context – for example there is no sign of imagination in the electoral system being proposed for the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Tony will put the discussions in a wider context, but also try and turn them into practical politics in the situation in which we in the UK find ourselves now.

Entrance free to members of Birmingham Fabian Society or Unlock Democracy Birmingham – for others donations to defray costs will be extremely welcome.

December Event: “High speed rail – a cheaper and more popular alternative to HS2… and how to pay for it at no cost to the taxpayer”

Register here: http://fabianhsuk.eventbrite.co.uk

Saturday 5 December 2.30-4.45pm with social afterwards

Priory Rooms, Bull Street (off Corporation Street) Birmingham B4 6AF http://www.theprioryrooms.co.uk/page/location

Organised by the Birmingham Fabian Society
2:30pm: High Speed UK: Introducing the Midlands Ring by Colin Elliff, High Speed UK

3:30pm: Property plus Rail: How Hong Kong develops and pays for railways… a blueprint for the UK? Andrew Purves, author and businessman

approx. 5:10pm-late: Social: The Woodman pub, New Canal Street, Birmingham, B5 5LG

The first talk covers an alternative plan to HS2. Colin Elliff and Quentin Macdonald have developed ‘High Speed UK’, a plan for UK railways that will be cheaper to build, will benefit far more people, and will be less damaging to the environment . It is based around an M1-aligned high speed line from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, with a trans-Pennine spur linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. All major communities of the West and East Midlands will benefit from High Speed UK services, with a new ‘Midlands Ring’ created that will transform connectivity across the region. Colin Elliff is an experienced railway civil engineer, having worked in the industry for more than 30 years on all aspects of railway civil engineering including multi-disciplinary projects.

The second talk covers how to pay for rail infrastructure, using the experience of Hong Kong. The speaker Andrew Purves grew up in Hong Kong, attended school in Edinburgh, and University in London. He runs a furniture business in London, and tutors Economics at the School of Economic Science in his spare time. He recently wrote a book on the Hong Kong Economic Miracle: No Debt, High Growth, Low Tax, which includes a chapter on Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway, which has been built at no cost to the taxpayer, and generates a £1bn annual profit, paying annual dividends to the Hong Kong Government. In his talk, he will describe the background to this remarkable story, and discuss more efficient ways to deliver transport infrastructure

* * * * * * * * *

Fabian Society meetings are open to anyone who shares the objectives of the Labour movement for a more fair and equal society. Membership of Birmingham Fabian Society costs £15 per year. Non­members attending on a one­off basis are invited to make a small contribution to defray the costs of room hire and other expenses.

For more information contact Andrew Coulson, Chair Birmingham Fabian Society
phone: 0121 475 4615 email: Andrew@CoulsonBirmingham.co.uk

* * * * * * * * *

Rethink HS2 Resources
Media Briefing: http://tinyurl.com/rethinkhs2mediabriefing
Leaflet: http://tinyurl.com/rethinkhs2leaflet
Website: http://rethink-hs2.uk/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rethinkhs2

High Speed UK Website: http://highspeeduk.co.uk