The Gladstone Club is a forum which welcomes all those who wish to engage in political discussion and question the ideas and policies of the day. We are radical in the sense that we wish to penetrate the ‘roots’ of issues without the ties of party loyalty and political correctness. Members are drawn from across the political spectrum and are of all ages.

Recent events...

3rd September 2018


Property owning democracy RIP?

Speaker: Richard Bacon MP
Venue: National Liberal Club
Time: 7pm
Details: The government’s green paper on social housing announced Tuesday is a U-turn in Tory party aspirations. Does it spell the end of the democratisation of property?
Will generation rent stay dependent for good?
How did the housing market get so unaffordable?
If housing is a market then the prices signal what people can afford. Lenders continue to hand out mortgages measured on ability to pay so has a decade of low interest rates created the high prices?
By the same logic once two incomes became the norm for middle class families did their buying power price out lower earners?
Foreign investors, land bankers and buy-to-letters get blamed but if the rents justify the investments who is paying them?
Is there a flaw in the market and a liberal market correction or is state subsidy now the only solution to our housing crisis?

Housing ministers are shortlived – we have had 7 in 10 years – but no one has done more in parliament than Richard Bacon MP on housing. Richard is a great advocate for policy doing more to address family and community needs. He is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Self-Build, Custom and Community Housebuilding and Place-Making, is Ambassador for Right to Build task Force, and steered through Parliament a Private Member’s Bill which created the legal foundations of the Right to Build which aims to increase the availability of decent affordable homes for people in housing need. “We have no say - what gets built, where it gets built, what it looks like and who gets a chance to live there. Demand is unable to drive volume in the way that is does in nearly every other successful market. We build some of the most poorly performing, most expensive and smallest homes in Europe. Let’s do things differently."

9th July 2018


Change the World: Step 1

Speaker: Henry Leveson-Gower
Venue: National Liberal Club
Time: 7pm
Details: If you want a better system start by changing how the mandarins are educated.

That is why it is necessary to challenge the culture of orthodoxy in the faculties of economics.
The exciting thing is that Henry Leveson-Gower founder of the movement Promoting Economic Pluralism understands how to effect such a change at the level of Culture and the goal of his movement is to reinvigorate the discipline and bring economics back into the service of society.

Economics has fully recovered from its moment of self enquiry.
Who can forget the Queen’s simple question in 2008 “Why did nobody see it coming?”
Opening a new faculty at the London School of Economics she asked if these things were so big how come nobody noticed them? The write-down of 25% of the world economy followed, nationalisation of banks and the invention of Quantitative Easing. In fact a few people did but the sort of economics they studied was fringe and an Economics Professor who espoused it would not get a decent job. It is not a conspiracy more like priesthood but nothing has changed.

If a reminder were needed we still have with us the inflated public debt, near-zero interest rates and the squeeze on lending. The anniversary of 10 years after the crash provides an opportunity for reflection, have we learnt from mistakes? Is it possible to create a fairer, more sustainable and resilient economic system?

30th April 2018


Divided - Why We're living in an Age of Walls

Speaker: Tim Marshall
Venue: National Liberal Club
Time: 7pm
Details: The word Truth may have fallen out of use … but how do we decide what is the right thing to do if we do not know what to believe? Do we even need to? Do we do least harm when we do nothing?
What is your take on Syria? It depends what happened, who did it and who knew.
We don’t trust governments - not since Iraq and WMDs. How credible is intelligence we don’t get to see? Can we believe a Prime Minister? Is ‘highly likely’ beyond reasonable doubt? Do we rely on mainstream media? If not who? Buzzfeed? Al Jezeera? Russia Today? Facebook?
Is it nationalism and xenophobia that divide us? Is the nation state the problem or the least worst available answer to cross-state evils of ethnic cleansing, jihad and trafficking. Are the choices Rwanda 1994 or Kosovo 1999. Do evils triumph if the good stand by?
If we want Justice first we need Truth.
Tim Marshall is the best-selling author of Prisoners of Geography and veteran foreign affairs editor for Sky News. In his 30 years as a foreign correspondent he covered 40 countries, 12 wars and 3 US elections. He reported from the front line in Kosovo, Afghanistan, the Arab Spring and the First Gulf War so he has first hand experience of the recent history of the doctrine of liberal intervention.

18th December 2017


Hope for Housing

Speaker: Stephen Hill, Chair, UK Cohousing Network and Trustee of National Community Land Trust Network
Venue: National Liberal Club
Time: 7pm
Details: House prices have become the biggest hot potato in domestic policy. Since the young posted their protest in May politicians suddenly felt an icy chill from the very near future if they do nothing about rent and homes for young people. It is an uncomfortable truth that as one generation sees their property prices rise the effect is that their children struggle to pay the rent.
Average house prices are now 9.5x the average salary and in many areas of London they are well over 20x the average salary.
Moreover big developers monopolise the housing market and there seems little local residents can do to compete.
However there is a ray of hope from a growing community-led housing movement which seeks to provide an alternative model to fixing the broken housing market by giving back control to communities and local residents. The idea is simple: to help people and communities build their own homes with the needs of the community in mind and with prices that are truly affordable. This may be a community for students, or families, or communal housing for the elderly. There are different models of funding this including holding the land in trust, long term leases of land or developments which houses sold at market price subsidise the houses which are let at affordable rents. The Housing Minister Alok Shama MP affirmed his support for the movement by launching a £240 million Community Housing Fund, the first of its kind, over the next four years, providing £60 million of funding a year to support the community-led housing movement. The Mayor of London also supports the movement and has developed the Homes for London Community Housing Hub to offer support to Londoners and community groups who want to build in the capital offering technical advice, access to funding and advice how to unlock land.

Stephen Hill, Chair, UK Cohousing Network and Trustee of National Community Land Trust Network will explore the land question and what reform is possible. He will explain Community Land Trusts and Co-housing and how it works. “The demand side has never had a place in housing policy making" he says. "The Community Housing Fund provides an extraordinary political opportunity to scale up our influence and change the mainstream of the politics of housing. The new network of housing hubs will provide a laboratory of information, wealth of locally gathered evidence of what is needed and what works in different places. We are the voice of the demand side."
A Peelite Coalition?
Balanced budgets, employment & growth
Barack Obama
Bigger Better Faster More - the housing market
Breakdown of the Family
Drugs, the Underclass
Electoral reform. AV Referendum
France & Britain: Our Culture
Freedom Under the Common Law
International Aid and the 2004 Tsunami
Land Values
Left/Right Politics
Lords Reform
Money as Debt
People Power Across the Arab World
Political Correctness
Public Revenue & Taxation
Renegade Economics
Talking to Terrorists
The 2010’s a mid-term review: Sir Anthony Seldon
The Battle of the Economists
Too many laws
Vince Cable & the Economic Crisis
Words Words Words
National Liberal Club
Tim Farron Speech at Gladstone Club Transcript
Gladstone Club on R4

Michael Crick interviews the Gladstone Club. Click play below to listen online.

PODCAST: Liberal Democrat Voice

AV referendum debate at Gladstone Club. Listen now.


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