Topic for the next meeting (and after)

We thought that we would try to devote the next meeting to a topical subject. Have you got any suggestions? We will not decide until nearer the date.

We also need to think about topics for meetings after that. Some of FR the attendees aired ideas in the Swan after the last meeting and here is a summary of what I think was suggested:

  1. Why should the majority of people suffer because of stupid things done to the economy over which they had no control?
  2. How much are positions of influence dominated by pupils from independent schools? Does it matter? and what can we do about it?
  3. What would be the effect on our culture if contact was made with an extraterrestrial?
  4. Are genetically modified crops intrinsically bad?
  5. Is our obsession with technology undesirable?
  6. On the one hand there are not enough jobs, on the other jobs are being lost to automation. Where is the joined up thinking? What is leisure for anyway?
  7. The “left” tends to be divided because it sees many paths to making the world a better place, but disagrees about what they are. The “right” is united in following the single path of keeping power in the hands of the rich, for the benefit of the rich. What is the way forward? (Or is this an over-simplification?)
  8. To invite Matthew O’Callaghan, prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate to answer questions.

What do you think? Please let us know via the comments box below or send an email on the contact page [click here].

Are you particularly interested in discussing any of these topics? or do you think some of them would be inappropriate or boring? Do you have any other suggestions?

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4 Responses to Topic for the next meeting (and after)

  1. Charles Walker says:

    I see a parallel here between number 7 and the article just posted by Geoff Gay. Why the left tends to be more divided in the UK, the US and much of the rest of the world (albeit in the US all under the same party banner) is an interesting question. I think the answer may rest on the fact that the left consists of more distinct ideologies and groupings, whereas the Conservatives have always been a pragmatic party, a party of power. Some would cite the rise of UKIP as a counter example, but this only highlights that Europe is the only issue that the Tories have ever disagreed on.
    Of course, it may just be that the population has always been broadly conservative. New Labour only ever gained the support of the middle class by stealing conservative stances on many issues, to the extent that in 2001 the Tories had to stand on a rabidly anti-immigration platform to remain distinctive.
    On number 2, this only highlights how much better a private education is than a state one in this country, a situation which should be the object of national shame. Our focus should be on improving the state education system. In particular, since the end of the tripartite system we have been failing the brightest students from poorer backgrounds. I don’t support a return to the 11-plus but more must be done to identify and support these students within the current system. Only then might they be able to achieve their potential in terms of GCSE and A-level results and compete for places in our top universities and top jobs.
    My suggestions would be the successful revival of the monarchy (or not), civil service reform and whether state subsidisation of charitable giving can be justified.

  2. Charles Walker says:

    Returning to the education debate, I found this quite interesting: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/05/education-–-labour’s-next-clause-4

  3. I propose that the topical topic for the meeting for the coming Friday 22nd should be the Greek election results. There are connections to Item 7 above and, as Charles points out, to Geoff’s article. The austerity measures hit the poor but are the better-off to continue not paying their taxes?
    Please leave a comment to agree with proposal or propose an alternative.
    When is the deadline for deciding on the topic? Who is going to introduce the discussion? and how long will they need?

  4. Geoff gay says:

    I think we should have a meetings on:

    • Europe
    • Care for the Elderly ( see Jackie Ashley in 2/7 Guardian )
    • A bona-fide scientific topic e.g. The Standard Model of Particle Physics
    • My hobby-horse of explaining why we will not be visited by ET ( although we may or may not make contact in the forseeable future )
    • Global Warming and weather

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