Birmingham Salon

After Brexit - An Afternoon of Debate

Saturday 18th March from 1pm to 5pm
Upstairs at the Old Joint Stock, 4 Temple Row West, Birmingham B2 5NY

The EU referendum exposes the UK as a divided nation, with swathes of economically moribund territory and little sense of active parliamentary representation.  As the government leads us towards invoking Article 50 to start negotiations to leave the European Union, join us for our Saturday afternoon event – with two debates that will explore what shape our economy and democracy are in, what needs to change, and whether Brexit will help or hinder.

Tickets available here.

After Brexit – Where is the Economy Heading?

The Leave vote will involve one of the most significant institutional changes for our economy in recent times. And although negotiation terms are becoming clearer, the uncertainty remains acute.
Since the Referendum, sterling has been shaky, and Ernst and Young forecasts economic slowdown in the short term, with longer range economic health depending on overseas trade performance, which is chronically weak.
Now that May has committed the UK to leaving the Single Market, can free trade agreements elsewhere compensate? What exactly do World Trade Organization (WTO) trade terms entail? Does post-referendum stability simply belie the severity of problems ahead? After all, we have yet to leave the EU, so the impact has yet to materialise.
Pro-Leave economists argue that WTO tariffs are “relatively low and falling”. Prognoses for the Eurozone are dire in any case, and the UK has been grappling with problems such as productivity for decades.
Is Brexit simply forcing us to confront longstanding economic realities? Could it galvanise UK businesses into seizing opportunities with more dynamic parts of the world? Or is it the death knell for our way of life?

Phil Mullan
Phil Mullan combines business management with research and writing, primarily on economic matters. His next book is published at the end of March 2017: Creative destruction: How to start an economic renaissance (Policy Press). In business, he is a director of Epping Consulting, having completed eight years in senior management roles with Easynet Global Services. He was previously chief executive of Cybercafé Ltd. running the Cyberia internet cafe franchise.
Dr Huw Macartney
Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham.  Huw is a political economist whose work is broadly concerned with the politics of banking and financial services.  He is the author of European Democratic Legitimacy and the Debt Crisis, and Variegated Neoliberalism: European Financial Market Integration.

Chaired and produced by Sarah Bartlett

Recommended Readings
Huw Macartney on Trump, Brexit, the London riots, and alternative economic futures

Economic forecasts from Ernst and Young as the UK prepares to leave the EU

Social Market Foundation reviews the effects of EU membership on UK growth

Macro-economic predictions from the Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge

Phil Mullan in Spiked lays out a five-point plan for kick-starting the economy

After Brexit - Is Democracy Working?

The Brexit vote reveals a divided demos, conflicting notions of the role of parliament, calls for a further referendum, criticism of campaign content, and distrust in experts and politicians.
Some see the result and the ensuing disorientation among politicians and others who had predicted financial disaster as a sign of the revolutionary potential of people power.  Others worry about an extremist side to a demos that remains angry and disillusioned by the economic turbulence of the 2008 crash. 
The coincidental publication of books Against Elections and Against Democracy suggest a wider sense that something is amiss with democracy as we know it. Turnout in the referendum was 72% but in recent by-elections there is little sign of any general upward trend. Is disillusion with political parties a good or bad thing?
And is it right to question the checks and balances of our democratic system? How should we view the ire directed at the High Court and Supreme Court, and at expert advisers? 
Is the response to the surprising result of the referendum an indication that we need to reform our democracy, and if so, how?

Tom Pratt
Tom is a local campaigner - as well as chair of Unlock Democracy Birmingham. He is currently active in the West Midlands Politics of Networks, and stood last year as a candidate in the Sutton Coldfield Town Council elections. Unlock Democracy Birmingham has been active for 6 years. At present the group is campaigning for greater transparency around the Metro Mayor and the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Peter Kerr
Peter Kerr is a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on British party politics and democracy. He has authored several publications on developments in British politics since 1945, including the book Postwar British Politics: From Conflict to Consensus (Routledge). He is also the co-founder and editor of the journal British Politics.

Tom Slater
Tom is the Deputy Editor of spiked online, a current affairs magazine which campaigned for the immediate invoking of Article 50 following the referendum. He is also a regular contributor to the Spectator, the Telegraph and Time Out.

Chaired and produced by Rosamund Cuckston

A review of Against Democracy by Jason Brennan

Mick Hume argues for more, not less, people power in democracy

George Monbiot has a shopping list of democratic reforms

The US, France, and India are labelled flawed democracies in the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index