Here is a report from the great MeetUp in Edinburgh on 31st August:
25 people attended the first Edinburgh MeetUp on Wednesday 31st August. Indeed, the room we had booked was pretty well packed to capacity.
People had come from as far away as Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and 3 people were from the Newcastle area.
The evening started at 6 for a 6.30pm start. Our venue was conveniently located and had a room where we could provide tea, coffee and sandwiches during this first half hour.
We then went upstairs for a talk and discussion which lasted for 1 hr 40 minutes. The talk was structured into 4 sections, and during this time there was a lot of audience participation and questions and discussions from the floor.
The talk began by explaining the genesis of the modern Money Reform movement in Britain, showing how we had got to where we were; starting with the publication of James Gibb Stuart’s The Money Bomb (1983) which advocated that there was no need for the government to borrow money from the corporate banking sector when it could create it itself; to the ground-breaking publication of Michael Rowbotham’s The Grip of Death (1998) which really fleshed out the debt-free money proposal; to James Robertson’s Creating New Money (2000) which was the first attempt to develop a clear Money Reform policy in print – to the advent today of Positive Money, the premier Money Reform campaigning organisation in the UK.
We then heard about what Money Reform is, and in that regard it is based generally around two fundamental principles:
1. That the power to create money should be taken from the banks, and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs; and that consequently
2. We, the people, should enjoy, through our national political institutions, the privilege and profit of that power.
Positive Money has a fully worked out legislative proposal which will do exactly that, and we then heard about the Bank of England (Creation of Currency) Bill – see “Solutions” section – and how it had been created by a team of experts over the course of 24 months. We also heard how the second draft had been opened to public consultation on the internet in May 2010, and how in December 2010 all the relevant comments that year were analysed by this team and integrated, where appropriate, into the third draft.
Astonishingly, we heard that Positive Money has calculated that this Bill, if enacted now, could save the average 20 year old today around half a million pounds over the course of his or her life, over the present system. This seemed to hit home with quite a few people.
The speaker then talked about what Positive Money was planning to do. He mentioned the research which would be published in association with Prof Richard Werner of the University of Southampton at a Conference on 29th September in Winchester.
Other research which was presently being conducted would be delivered towards the end of the year and would examine the 4 frequently heard objections to the proposal, including the impact of the reform upon the country’s position within the international markets – for example, the impact on exchange rates and money leaving and entering the UK.
Furthermore, Positive Money is planning a Conference in central London on Saturday 29th October, which would be its biggest one yet.
A discussion was then held on how the group could move forward with these ideas. There was support for the idea of a large conference to be held next year on this subject, in Edinburgh.
The meeting closed at 8.30pm and 11 people retired to a local hotel bar just round the corner.
English trouble makers – our supporters Gillian and Ralph – in Edinburgh on the day of the MeetUp (next to the Scott Monument – commemorating Sir Walter Scott) 🙂
Make a Date
Subject to confirmation, the next Edinburgh MeetUp will be on Wednesday 2nd of November and will feature Ben Dyson in person. There will be the second Glasgow MeetUp the evening before, which will also feature Ben. The venues and times to be confirmed.
So, watch this space and if you have not done so already, then please stay informed by adding your name and your postcode to the email contact list at the top right of the page. If we have your postcode we can let you know about meetups in your local area.
Here are some ways you can go about arranging a Meetup:
1. You could simply meet up in a bar and mingle. It’s free, and cheerful, but the downside is you can’t have any kind of presentation or speech, and some bars might be too noisy for some people. Some bars have areas which they can cordon off, for a specific group, if asked in advance.
2. Some bars have meeting rooms which are above the bar and which are quieter. These can sometimes be free in the expectation that you are bringing business to the bar, or there can be a small charge for them.
3. If you can find a suitable venue, then you can have a more structured meeting, with a talk and discussion.
Hotels often have such meeting rooms and can charge anything from £60 upwards for an evening. They will usually provide flipcharts etc, and tea and biscuits, at an additional cost per person.
You’ll want to mention the cost to the attendees so you can ensure it is covered by the time the meeting ends. Make it clear where the donations box is! You might also be able to sell copies of Positive Money’s DVD “all about the money”, or various Money Reform related material.
4. Alternatively, a venue which is not a hotel or pub may allow you to provide your own refreshments. That’s been the case in the last 2 MeetUps in Scotland. In that case, we’ve found that providing tea, coffee, and orange juice beforehand can be quite sociable. Good buffet sandwich platters can be purchased from supermarkets, and you can get paper plates and napkins from Poundland! It is good to have someone to concentrate on providing refreshments, while someone else meets and greets.
If the venue is close to a suitable bar, then, after the meeting, those who are able, can move to it for further socialising.
It is also good to think about future activity – planning a local conference in association with other interested groups for example, or a MeetUp in a bigger venue.
Planning for numbers: So far we’ve found that you can usually expect double the number of people who have registered on the Meetup.com website to attend.
Consider these options, and if you want to go ahead with a MeetUp in your town then please get in touch. We can do all the advertising by alerting all our signed-up supporters in your area. In some cases we might also be able to provide a speaker.