Now online - p parliament: Land ownership: who owns our country?
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Mon Mar 30 14:07:24 BST 2015
Land ownership: who owns our country?
Tuesday March 17th 2015, 6.30pm 8.30pm, Committee Room 15, House of Commons
Author of Who Owns Britain and Who Owns the
World Parliamentary researcher and associate
editor of the Sunday Times Rich List. Author of
21 other rich lists. Investigative reporter with
Sunday Times Insight Team on offshore tax dodges.
Publisher of the Second Domesday of the United
Kingdom. Supercomputer specialist for Computer
Weekly and wrote Trade Wars, an account of CIA spying in the UK in the 1980s.
Freelance reporter. Shortlisted for Press Gazette
New Journalist of the Year 2013 award for
investigation for Exaro News on Northern Ireland
EU funding. Shortlisted for BT Security Writer of
the year 2014 for reporting on NSA spying in the
UK. She has reported on conflict in the Western
Sahara and written for the Guardian, Mail and
other newspapers. She is the editorial director
for the publication of the Second Domesday and
has spoken on landownership in Committee Room G of the House of Lords.
Yoni Higgsmith (Labour Land Campaign)
Land reform activist and Communications Director
of Labour Land Campaign, a cross labour movement
campaign to promote land reform policy and
theory. He has produced and directed a number of
land reform films including Rachel Rose Reids
poem The Circle: An Ode to LVT, Land for
Earthsharing.org and The Taxing Question of
Land created with the Coalition of Economic
Justice (CEJ). The CEJ is an umbrella
organisation that brings together all land reform
groups in the UK. In late 2014, he became General
Secretary of Professional Land Reform Group,
promoting land reform within professional circles.
Tony Gosling (The Land is Ours)
Tony Gosling started his working life in the
aviation industry moving on to work as a
researcher and journalist at BBC Greater London
Radio and other BBC local radio stations
publishing online research on the Bilderberg
conferences at <http://www.bilderberg.org/>www.bilderberg.org in 1995.
After co-ordinating Oxfords The Land Is Ours,
land rights campaign in the 1990s including
Wandsworth (1996) and St Georges Hill (1999)
Diggers occupations, he is now a freelance
investigative radio journalist and writer based
in Bristol with a politics show archied online at
The 2015 election debate is in the gutter. Time for the Peoples Parliament
Are we really going to allow the debate in the
runup to the general election be dominated by the
bigotry of Ukip against migrants, the vile
hounding of anyone on benefits by the Tories, and
the timidity of many in the Labour leadership
about saying anything of purpose and principle?
Benefits Street is just the latest example of the
poison pouring daily out of our televisions,
radio phone-ins and papers like the Sun and Mail
poison that is dictating the electoral agenda
of the political strategists of the main parties,
and manipulating the fears and insecurity of
people in order to smokescreen the corporate kleptocracy that we inhabit.
It degrades and demeans us all if we allow this
politics to dominate and go unchallenged. Anyone
with any claim to decency has a responsibility
now to stand up against this debased politics.
One way of taking a stand is to positively
determine to engage in real politics and cut
through the crap served up to us by this coalition of the craven.
With months to go before the next election we
should be entering a period of intense debate
about the state of the country and the politics
we want. This hasnt taken off yet, and usually
the last place to look for this is in parliament
itself, with its sterile knockabout politics.
So how do we liven up the political debate in the
runup to the election, while also giving it some depth?
When I was part of the left that took control of
the Greater London Council in the 1980s, I was
worried at how lacking in radicalism the incoming
Labour group on the GLC actually was. So, in
order to generate the ideas needed to stimulate
and sustain a radical administration, we decided
to throw open the doors of County Hall to anyone
who wanted to convene a meeting to generate support for a policy or a campaign.
We turned it into a Peoples County Hall where
meeting rooms became the forums for groups across
the capital to debate and promote an idea for the
future of London. The concept really took off,
and virtually every day groups were meeting to
develop their ideas into policies. You could open
a committee room door at County Hall and bump
into a group of people arguing about anything
from bus fares policy to community arts and
policing. There were heated arguments, hilarious
moments when high-flown theoretical analysis
imploded, and also examples of magnificent creativity.
This was politics at its rumbustious, exhausting,
enjoyable and at times infuriating best.
Isnt that the sort of feverish political debate
we need to influence the period in which party manifestos are being formulated?
Just like at the GLCs County Hall, there are
meeting rooms in parliament. Lets use them and
bring some real politics to the place. Lets make
the place a Peoples Parliament.
Since I first suggested this, lots of people have
responded with proposals on what to discuss and
who to talk to. So over the next couple of months
were making a start by hosting a number of
gatherings in parliament on a wide range of issues that people have suggested.
People are posing hard case questions. After
Russell Brands proclamation of the no-vote
strategy, people want to know what sort of
democracy we need then. In the week we are about
to see the return ofbankers obscene bonuses, and
people are asking how they have got away with it
and how we can wrest control of our economy from
these tax-evading looters. As the prime minister
gives his full backing to frackingwhile homes are
still being dried out from the floods, people are
asking what will it take to wake people up again to climate change fears.
The aim is to break through the defeatism that is
overpowering even those political parties,
movements and individuals that have traditionally stood up for change.
The discussions are open to anyone. Check out the
information on the website
or on Twitter:
Come and have a say.
John McDonnell MP
Labour, Hayes and Harlington
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