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Cambridge Fabian Society

Events Guide | Lent 2013 A pluralist and forward-looking forum for all Thinkers, Leaders, and Pioneers

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We aim to be a pluralist forum for ‘progressive’ debate on the ideas and policies that shape society in the UK and globally, and on issues of political, social and cultural significance.

Dear Members and Friends,

Amber Reeves founded Cambridge Fabian Society in 1905

Here you will find details of the four main events that the Cambridge Fabians are organising for the university’s Lent term. I suppose the central theme is to consider and debate the case for change in the way our society, politics and ideology work. Harry Shutt will argue that capitalism is not only dead but profoundly damaging; Bob Hepple will examine how far Britain has achieved equality for all our citizens; Neal Lawson will make the case for a cooperative effort to define the good society; and Rob Gifford will describe the outstanding alternative to western capitalism and democracy, China. A theme then. But these are four distinct voices and their talks will spark off the kinds of wide and provocative debates amongst us that the Fabians


in Cambridge are devoted to. All the sessions will give loads of time for such debates and we will experiment to make them more involving. In the spirit of co-operation we are also combining with other organisations to broaden the debates. We also have plans for social events and for a regular monthly discussion group, probably on political economy. More of that later. Please can you assist us, first by coming along to the events that interest you. Secondly, by letting friends and associates know of the events, on Facebook, by tweeting and by good old fashioned word of mouth. Thanks. President, Charlie Bell

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Rob Gifford 7 FEBRUARY – ROB GIFFORD: “Everyday China”.

At the Pavilion Room, Hughes Hall, from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. We are familiar with the current discourse of China as a global superpower and its hostility to western ideas of democracy and human rights. But what is it like actually to live and work in modern China? Rob Gifford will talk about the lived experience of people in this vast nation, their living standards, culture and aspirations and governance at local and national level with all its contradictions and tensions. Rob Gifford is China Editor of The Economist. He first set foot in China as a language student in 1987, and after working for the BBC, served as a correspondent in Beijing and then Shanghai for the American broadcaster NPR. 3

Harry Shutt 12 FEBRUARY – HARRY SHUTT: “Ideas for a Post Capitalist Future” With Cambridge Marxist discussion group at Keynes Hall, King’s College, 7.00 to 9.15 pm. What distinguishes Harry Shutt as an economist is not simply that he predicted the 2007 financial crisis, but that he doesn’t think the economy needs to be rebalanced or better regulated. He believes the economic crisis is a sign that a move to ‘post-capitalism’ is urgent and essential, for the UK and the world, and that an enduring return to growth is neither desirable nor possible. Harry Shutt is a freelance economist, consultant and author of numerous books on the world economy. His latest book, Beyond the Profits System, was published in 2011.

Bob Hepple 28 FEBRUARY– BOB HEPPLE: “The Coalition Government and Equality”,

With Anglia Ruskin’s Grad Soc at the East Road site (Room LAB214 in the Lord Ashcroft building) from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. Bob Hepple is Britain’s outstanding expert and campaigner for equality. He led the Independent Review, Equality: A New Framework , on the fragmented and inadequate patchwork of anti-discrimination laws in 2000 which led ultimately to the Single Equality Act 2010. The Act provided a single, consolidated source of discrimination law, covering age, disability, gender, ethnic and national origin, religion or belief and other types of unlawful discrimination. He will evaluate the progress made under the Act and review the impact on equality of the coalition government’s policies. Professor Sir Bob Hepple is Emeritus Master of Clare College, chair of the Equal Rights Trust, lead author of the Independent Review and author of the subsequent review, Equality: The New Legal Framework in 2011 which examined the accomplishments and shortcomings of the Equality Act.


Neal Lawson 14 MARCH – NEAL LAWSON: “The Politics of a Good Society”. With Trinity Political Society, in Old Combination Room, Trinity College, 7.30 to 9.30 pm.

Isn’t it about time that we – in our political parties and civil society organisations – worked together to frame the idea of the good society in contrast to the coalition government’s vision of a nation of driven workers? Why do we seem incapable of our full and rich development as social human beings? What are the political barriers to a good life? And how do we think and organise across the progressive party divide and within civil society to make a good society not just desirable but feasible? Neal Lawson is chair of Compass, the campaign for a more equal, democratic and sustainable society and author of the book, All Consuming. Neal is a former adviser to Gordon Brown and researcher at the TGWU and sold his business to work fulltime as a political reformer.

Henry Tam MARCH– HARRY TAM: “LEFT WITH A HARD CHOICE: democracy vs plutocracy” Date and venue to be confirmed. For much of the 20th century, the left took up the challenge and redistributed power to reduce the imbalance that had so often given rise to oppressive structures and practices. But since the late 1970s, plutocracy has become hegemonic in its dominance. Must democracy concede to plutocracy? Or can progressive changes be achieved through the development of a more radical, communitarian democracy? The key, as Henry Tam will explain, is to draw from the evidence of successful participatory engagement and build a reform movement with citizens to secure better outcomes for everyone, and not just the wealthy few. Henry Tam is the Director, Forum for Youth Participation & Democracy (Cambridge University); and Visiting Professor, Birkbeck (London University)

2013 Cambridge Fabian SocietyŠ

Cambridge Fabians Spring 2013 Programme  

Cambridge Fabians Spring 2013 Programme

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