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POLITICS in PUBS Newcastle

Do you know your left from your right; your City Region from your City Deal; your EU from your EEC? Do you want to know more about local, national, European and world politics, from theory and ideology to practice and influence? Do you want to hear from those you vote for about what you're voting for? And do you want it all in a friendly, relaxed place with plenty of people to discuss and disagree with? Then Politics in Pubs is for you.

You are warmly invited to join us at The Telegraph, Orchard Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 3NY (behind the Central Station), for the next meeting of POLITICS in PUBS Newcastle on:

Tuesday 19th September 2023 at 7:00pm
Can we trust the news media?
Introduction by Phil Miles
Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

A 2023 Statista survey found that just 33% of British adults trust news media most of the time. In the US it was a similarly woeful story (32%).

What is going on?

Is it simply an issue of media bias, or is it worse than that? Might some news outlets even have made the ominous transition from misinformation (getting it wrong by accident) to disinformation (getting it wrong on purpose)?

To what extent has political activism infiltrated our newsrooms?
Who fact checks the fact checkers?
And if modern journalism really has gone awry, how do we get it back on track?

Join us at Politics in Pubs at the Telegraph Pub on Tuesday 19th September and have your say.

Location Map

Tuesday 15th August 2023 at 7:00pm
The Right To Die: The Ultimate Civil Right?
Introduction by Kevin Yuill
Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

In May 2021, Baroness Meacher introduced to the House of Lords a Private Member's bill intended to legalise assisted dying as a choice for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in their final months of life. The bill required two independent doctors and a High Court judge to be satisfied that the individual making a request is over 18, terminally ill with six months or less to live and fully mentally competent before they would be granted life-ending medication that could be taken at a time and place of their choosing.

Despite such legislation being defeated every time it has arisen in Parliament, it is likely to be introduced again in the future.  Moreover, a bill is currently being considered in both the Irish and Scottish Parliaments. If the UK were to pass such a law, it would be joining a clutch of US and Australian states, Canada, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain and New Zealand in allowing assisted death. Many see this as the 'ultimate civil right'.

Others, including Professor Kevin Yuill, maintain that the focus, especially for medical professionals, should always be to preserve life, which is sacred. They question why there's now a greater acceptance of assisted suicide in liberal societies who tend to view the death penalty as wrong and otherwise defend the sanctity of life.

So, does assisted suicide relieve suffering and give people ultimate control over their own life and death? Or is the acceptance of the premeditated killing of a human being by the state always wrong?

Tuesday 11th July 2023 at 7:00pm
Risking it all: the freedom to gamble
Introduction by Jon Bryan
Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

Jon Bryan tweets and writes about gambling and poker at @JonBryanPoker. He will provide an introduction to the discussion based on his Letter on Liberty which is available to read/download here: Risking it all: the freedom to gamble.

Click here for notes from meeting

Tuesday 6th June 2023 at 7:00pm
From Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to 15-minute cities -
A war on the car?

Introduction by Dave O'Toole
Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

All of a sudden, and as if from nowhere, anti-car measures are springing up all over the UK. Almost three years ago Greater Manchester Council created the world's largest Clean Air Zone at 500 sq miles. It takes in large swathes of rural areas. Since then, almost 100 councils are planning or have implemented similar schemes. Whether they are LEZs, ULEZs, CAZs, LTNs, 20-minute cities, 15-minute neighbourhoods or ZEZs, they all charge or fine drivers. In addition, the Welsh Government has plans to implement a blank 20 mph speed limit. Most of the schemes are justified on the basis that they are being implemented to combat air pollution. Yet, despite this, all of the schemes have vocal opposition. Locally, in Jesmond, there are regular protests by residents.

So, are these measures making our neighbourhoods and cities safer and less polluted? Or are they an undemocratic imposition on residents? Where do these schemes come from and why the sudden attack on car driving? Newcastle Politics in Pubs will do a deep dive into these questions with an introduction from Dave O'Toole.

Click here for notes from meeting

Dave O'Toole is a former IT systems analyst and FE college lecturer and now retired from UCU where he worked as an organiser. He has worked extensively with The Great Debate a community organisation that has organised over 160 events on a wide range of subjects in Newcastle since 1998. Dave has a keen interest in the politics of the environmental movement and writes on the politics of climate alarmism. He blogs at Dave O'Toole and you can follow him on Twitter @DavidJOToole

Tuesday 9th May 2023 at 7:00pm
Is the Monarchy Becoming Too Political?
Introduction by Paula Lightfoot
Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

"I'm not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. The idea somehow that I'm going to go on in exactly the same way, is complete nonsense."

Interviewed on his 70th birthday in 2018, Prince Charles emphatically rejected the suggestion that he would continue to 'meddle' in politics if he succeeded to the throne. Now crowned King of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth, is Charles III keeping that promise?

And if not, does it matter? If we care about free speech, shouldn't everyone have the right to air their opinion? Or does a monarch who is not politically neutral pose a threat to democracy?

Will speaking out on social and cultural issues help the Royal Family to remain relevant to a new generation? Or, given the increasingly polarised nature of society, could this undermine their stated goal of acting as a focus for national identity, unity and pride?

Whether you are a staunch royalist, ardent republican or somewhere in between, come along and join our discussion over a drink - we would love to hear your views.

Tuesday 14th March 2023
Following the Politics, Not the Science
The first Newcastle POLITICS in PUBS meeting
Introduction by Martin Evison
Chair: Caspar Hewett, Director, The Great Debate

In March 2020, the arrival of Covid in Britain was accompanied by the birth of a new government mantra: 'follow the science'. The phrase was used to justify why the UK pivoted abruptly from existing pandemic guidelines, underpinned by scientific and ethical principles, to unprecedented 'lockdowns' - involving travel bans, stay at home orders, mandatory business closures, and vindictive suppression of scepticism and rational and viable alternative strategies.

What caused the UK to become a 'lockdown autocracy' with one of the worst pandemic outcomes in the world - and were we really following the science? Our guest speaker, Martin Evison, will present his own conclusions on whether it was politics, rather than science, which allowed human rights law and the ethics and principles of evidence-based public health to be disregarded by those in charge of the UK Government's response to Covid. Introduction and group discussion - free speech allowed!

If you find this interesting, consider joining The Great Debate facebook group or visit The Great Debate facebook page.
Follow us on Twitter: @greatdebateuk

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© C J M Hewett, 2023