The following report by Alistair McConnachie appeared in the October 2010 issue of Prosperity.
This year saw the most-ever attendees at our usual venue, Barnes Close, from late Friday afternoon 29th October to Sunday lunchtime on the 31st.
The evening began after dinner when Organiser, Alistair McConnachie, welcomed everyone and noted that the degree of interest in this year’s Conference had been unprecedented. People were talking about these alternatives, including even the Governor of the Bank of England, who had made a very timely speech on the subject. He also spoke about our sponsors, The James Gibb Stuart Trust. Alexandra Hardie, the Trust’s Treasurer, then spoke about the financial oversight and regulations within which the Trust operates.
Simon Dixon, Money Reform Activist and Entrepreneur based in the City of London, spoke of his unique work which leads him to meet hundreds of young, aspiring City and bank workers each year. He is presently involved in the initial stages of helping to set up a new bank which would operate upon the basis of our reforms. This is an exciting development which would act as a flagship to guide the system towards a new way of doing things. Check him out at www.SimonDixon.org
The Conference was pleased to welcome our furthest travelled attendees, Bill and Anne Still from Virginia. Bill, the producer of the ground-breaking Money Masters video – which has brought so many new people into the movement – and recently, The Secret of Oz, spoke of his enthusiasm for the future after meeting many new and young faces in his journey to Britain: “Now, more than ever before, I’m convinced that our reforms are inevitable – and in the relatively near future. The truth of the manipulation of our money supply can no longer be hidden. These fresh young faces will supply sufficient youthful energy to finally break humanity free of the enslaving shackles of the debt money system.” www.SecretofOz.com
Alistair then described our Theme for the Conference – the proposed Bank of England (Creation of Currency) Bill.
“It’s taken 316 years to produce this document, which when passed, will finally establish the Bank of England on the footing it should have been established upon, all those, 316 years ago. And how timely! When massive spending cuts are impacting millions of people, the ideas outlined here have never been more relevant. George Osbourne, the Chancellor, was reported in the newspapers last week saying there was no “Plan B”. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our “Plan B”. It is the first fully worked out, debt-free proposal in proper legislative language ever written in the history of the UK. 316 years later we finally have the blueprint for the Bank of England, upon which it should have been constructed from the very start…The policy contained in this document is worth something like £200billion per year in savings to the taxpayer, as well as £200million per daysaved on interest payments. It is worth, to the average 20 year old today, something in the region of £480,000 savings in the course of his or her life! It can also be adopted by any political viewpoint because Money Reform is not a party political viewpoint any more than 2+2= 4 is a party political viewpoint. They are both merely mathematical and accounting facts!”
Canon Peter Challen began by emphasising the “mindshift” necessary and the philosophical and spiritual nature of our wider “search for human integrity as Impudent Urchins before imperial powers.” He noted and summarised also “the surge of the past year” in activity, initiatives and interest related to our concerns.
Bob Welham gave a guided tour of how the present banking system works, for the benefit of beginners and old-hands alike, which set up our understanding for the rest of the day.
As he says to those who don’t believe that digital credit is real money, they should be aware that it is regarded by the economy as, “actually better than cash! You can’t hire a car at an airport without a credit card!”
Tony Miller and Donald Martin reported on their exciting “Mission Iceland” which saw them, earlier this year, campaigning for Money Reform in Iceland, including being granted an hour-long meeting with the President of Iceland.
Jón Larusson, Detective Inspector at the Financial Fraud Unit of the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police, spoke on the Icelandic financial crisis, including the activities of the IMF, politicians and Icelandic people. There is a growing awareness among the island’s population, especially after Iceland was absurdly condemned as a “terrorist” state, that something is terribly wrong with the present banking system. There is good potential for the message to catch-on in Iceland because of its unique size and social circumstances.
After lunch, it was time to present the second annual James Gibb Stuart Trust Award for Services to Monetary Education which went to Sister Dorothy Peart (also see Prosperity, July 2000), for her work with church and community groups, and tireless pamphleteering on this matter, for over 15 years.
Ben Dyson, Director of Positive Money began the first of its 4 presentations, outlining its activities and achievements so far. He led the audience through the initial creation of the proposed Bank of England (Creation of Currency) Bill, under the “Call4Reform” brand, to the new “Positive Money” brand, which is aimed at spreading much more awareness of the problem.
The aim is to build a demand for change, constituency by constituency. While this concept has been mooted in the past, it is clear that Positive Money has the people, the skills and the technology and is making this happen right now.
In a very short time it has already had considerable success in working with various Think Tanks, notable academics and MPs – as well as building an email database which is set to reach into the tens of thousands.
He pointed out that the Positive Money idea and its campaigning concepts can also be transplanted to any country in the world.
Ben Curtis of Positive Money developed the grassroots campaigning theme further and showed how it is using technology and internet “social media” to build its message at the grassroots, including the creation of an online “Hub” – a concept based on President Obama’s winning strategy. There are plenty of opportunities for Reformers to work with this campaign, including blogging and graphic design. Please get in touch if you can help.
Parmjit Bains, who heads up Positive Money’s Student Campaign gave an outline of the history of student activism before explaining how this audience – who will become the future leaders of society – is open to the Money Reform message. Positive Money is aiming to set up groups at every college and university throughout the UK and already has been able to develop contacts in 10 universities. An example of its amazing activism is that its “Student Conference” in London on the 13-14th November was already sold out at 130 people! This was new territory for the movement since reaching these people and these numbers had never been possible before. The student audience has massive potential and Positive Money is placing itself perfectly to develop this hitherto unexplored and uncultivated field.
To round out the Positive Money presentations, Richard Kite, the organisation’s accounts overseer, gave a description of its financial needs and accountability.
Just before break, Mike Black distributed a handout from the organisation “CR£DIT: The Call for a Royal Commission into the Economic System” which had recently succeeded in getting a letter in The Times backed by 20 notable signatories. www.CreditUK.org.uk
In the final presentation of the afternoon, Ben Dyson explained, via an impressive PowerPoint, just how the banking system really works. This description is built upon his in-depth research this year, and it was also to be presented at the forthcoming Student Conference.
After dinner, Josh Ryan-Collins of the New Economics Foundation spoke on the concept of a monetary system which would aid the transition to a low-carbon economy. This involved the development of local currencies. In that regard, he raised the example of work in Brixton and Lambeth which involves 180 businesses, 7 issuing points and 2 exchange centres. www.BrixtonPound.org as well as open source complimentary currency software www.project.cyclos.org
The evening ended with Frances Hutchinson introducing a viewing of Linda Scotson’s play “A Matter of Interest”, on DVD.
The morning began with Frances Hutchinson describing the lessons to be learned from EM Forster’s prescient book, The Machine Stops, which could be considered similar to Brave New World, and 1984.
Bob Welham and Ben Curtis addressed the first part of “Issues from the Trenches: Popular Arguments against Money Reform on the Internet”, where they explained some of the challenges they face when making the case for our Reform on the front-line of Internet Discussion Forums.
This was followed by “Issues from the Trenches 2: Popular Arguments against Money Reform on the Doorstep” where
Anne Belsey, Leader of the Money Reform Party, recounted, often amusingly, her experience standing as a candidate at the 2010 General Election.
As she said, “In truth, I found no real objection. What I found was bafflement, incomprehension and misunderstanding. Getting large numbers of people to understand that the money that they have in a bank account is somebody’s debt – whether their own, their children’s, a friend’s, their firm’s, their football club’s or the Government’s – is the crucial message we have to get across.” www.MoneyReformParty.org.uk
Ben Dyson reported on his attendance and speech at the 6th Annual American Monetary Institute Conference on 30th Sept-3rd Oct 2010. He said that when he had finished telling his audience of the advances in campaigning for Reform in the UK, “you could feel the huge energy in the room!”
He was particularly impressed by the presentation of Prof. Kaoru Yamaguchi. The AMI is at www.Monetary.org
Just as Saturday had begun with Peter Challen so he ended it with a short summary of the past 48 hours.
“We are”, he said, “still the Impudent Urchins, even better informed by the rich contributions of the weekend.” He noted that several of the presentations reminded him of his years of being a Parish Priest concerned with the whole community, and “easing through prejudices to a mutually attentive dialogue.”
In the closing comments, Alistair stated that a concrete aim for next year will be to attract as many new and younger students as possible – at least 10% of the audience.