mnmlist: Andrew Harrop joins us at our 2012 AGM


We had the pleasure of welcoming Andrew Harrop to address the society after our 2012 AGM. The AGM was well attended, and we welcomed lots of new faces to the room and the Executive committee. Full details of the new Exec and the minutes from the meeting will be distributed to members soon, as well as updated on the website.

Andrew Harrop joined us for the AGM and afterwards gave an insightful talk on the future of public services, highlighting several areas of current and recent research being undertaken by the Fabian society on the issue.

Thanks again to Andrew for coming up to speak to us, to the new members who joined and as always, to all our members for supporting the society. Welcome also to Kevin Quigley our new chair, and the new Executive, who shall be planning our next meeting shortly. On behalf of the society as a whole, thanks again to Arun Chopra for being the driving force behind the establishment of our local society, and for chairing it through our first successful year.

The event was live-tweeted from @NottsFabians (do follow us!) using the hashtag #nfpublicservices. In case you missed the event, here is the transcript of the live twitter feed, complete with spelling errors. You may also be interested in following @andrew_harrop and the national society  @thefabians


Twitter transcript from Andrew Harrop’s talk on The Future of Public Services

NB – the transcript reads with the latest tweet at the top; so best to read from the bottom up.. 

@andrew_harrop thanks again for coming Andrew. Fascinating talk. Follow us and more importantly- join, for more! #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 22:15:04 +0000 2012
RT @andrew_harrop: Goodness I’d not been tweetscribed so avidly until tonight at @NottsFabians. Click to follow the whole debate on futu … Wed Oct 17 22:14:24 +0000 2012
Thank you all for coming! Great turnout- lots of new faces. Do come again. Huge thanks to @andrew_harrop ! (Who says also join @thefabians ) Wed Oct 17 19:54:09 +0000 2012
Local chat about politics is always a good thing Wed Oct 17 19:53:17 +0000 2012
Could we set up our own policy groups to work on a particular local policy issue? A report, research etc? Wed Oct 17 19:53:04 +0000 2012
Issues in your local communities; don’t leave it to councils etc. Wed Oct 17 19:52:35 +0000 2012
The point of local societies?Don’t just talk but write as well (blog!).And talk local as well as national. That’s where you are unique. Wed Oct 17 19:52:13 +0000 2012
(I may have lost track between those last 2 tweets – apols, Editor..) Wed Oct 17 19:51:21 +0000 2012
Groups but reverse the power to give democratic power over it? Wed Oct 17 19:50:59 +0000 2012
Andy Burnham is v interested in thinking about the boundaries between the NHS and local govt. Could we use the structures of commissioning Wed Oct 17 19:50:43 +0000 2012
A 15min visit to check you are still alive each morning, is not good enough. The elderley poor need public money spending on them. Wed Oct 17 19:50:00 +0000 2012
The big issue Harrop wants sorted? Elderly care, which he claims is a disgrace. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:49:27 +0000 2012
What if Blair had listened to wha Will Hutton was telling him, is one thing Ed Mil is wondering. Wed Oct 17 19:48:55 +0000 2012
Trouble is the super-rich was allowed to rise exponentially.Those now around Ed Mil, are now quite active on this idea of countering neo-lib Wed Oct 17 19:48:20 +0000 2012
Harrop responds: there is some validity in the neo-lib argument. New Lab creamed the top off a neo-lib economy and invested it in society. Wed Oct 17 19:47:21 +0000 2012
What is the point of local societies? Wed Oct 17 19:46:42 +0000 2012
There is an international neo-lib conspiracy going on- would the change of a govt really change that? (These are audience Qs..) Wed Oct 17 19:46:33 +0000 2012
Is there 1 policy which is currently unpopular that up you could wave a wand and make popular-what would it be? Wed Oct 17 19:45:53 +0000 2012
5mins left. Wed Oct 17 19:44:46 +0000 2012
The language of politics needs to change – canvassing can put potential voters off, as well as it being about policy differences. Wed Oct 17 19:44:41 +0000 2012
Re non-voting. In latest Fabian mag, there is a special on why people say they don’t vote. Wed Oct 17 19:43:31 +0000 2012
Harrop can’t see a near future in which we can avoid pain in public spending; even with tax rises. Wed Oct 17 19:43:05 +0000 2012
It may not bring in enough revenue to transform our public services,but may stop the Osborne mix of 20% tax rises,80% cuts to services. Wed Oct 17 19:42:32 +0000 2012
There is definitely scope to tax the rich more; for instance Land Value. Reform pension tax relief-most goes to rich people. Wed Oct 17 19:41:33 +0000 2012
There are examples in which you can keep older people out of hospitals with different interventions, says Harrop. Wed Oct 17 19:40:54 +0000 2012
Andrew responds: this comes back to providing services not money, and also coordination of services. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:40:16 +0000 2012
The best way is not to close down the most expensive parts of the public services – it is not working. Wed Oct 17 19:38:31 +0000 2012
Q: re health. Stark difference between the NHS under the coalition and before. 24 mental health beds have been cut from prev 64 beds in QMC. Wed Oct 17 19:37:59 +0000 2012
Another Q: we need to have good behaviour at the top,in order for it to filter down.Should we be taxing rich more?Why is this not on agenda? Wed Oct 17 19:36:37 +0000 2012
Another Q: as soon as you say ‘how do we reduce demand’ for services, there is a fear that things will be taken away? Wed Oct 17 19:35:42 +0000 2012
Q: 2 out of 3 people in the E Midlands who could vote; didn’t.How do we get those voters back.Do we need something radical to get them back? Wed Oct 17 19:34:32 +0000 2012
So, there is some role for marketisation of public services, as much as that is not popular on the Left, #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:33:19 +0000 2012
Most people (according to recent Fabian research) want ‘mainly public sector provision, but not exclusively’. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:32:03 +0000 2012
However – individuals *do* say they like choice,voice,control over services. The public’s view is not No marketisation,but not the only way Wed Oct 17 19:31:04 +0000 2012
Re: the moral limits to markets Q. People’s attitudes to private providers- they are one of the least popular ways of driving improvements. Wed Oct 17 19:30:08 +0000 2012
Fabians are looking at military spending in a commission at the moment, so there will be research to add to that particular topic soon. Wed Oct 17 19:29:28 +0000 2012
Older people are understated at the moment, though that is not a popular thing to say, acknowledges Harrop. Wed Oct 17 19:28:58 +0000 2012
As we live longer, we pay more in, as well as taking more out. Wed Oct 17 19:28:26 +0000 2012
Andrew Harrop: you can have it both ways with insurance. The NHS is a good example of this. No earmarked ‘tax’ for it, but benefits all Wed Oct 17 19:27:47 +0000 2012
Questioner notes that the young are getting a very raw deal currently. Not sure that an insurance based system is necessarily helpful. Wed Oct 17 19:27:04 +0000 2012
Also; re insurance. Would it really reinforce solidarity? Questioner thinks not. Thinks it could cause generational conflict. Wed Oct 17 19:26:16 +0000 2012
3rd Q. What about the politics of national identity? How does Britain see itself in the world? Nuclear weapons savings, for instance? Wed Oct 17 19:25:20 +0000 2012
Another Q: re Sandel’s book. There is an imperative for the state to deal with, for eg, prisoners. This cannot be for profit.How to reverse? Wed Oct 17 19:24:22 +0000 2012
Where is the accountability for these external organisations. Where is the democracy in a private firm who has been contacted to? Wed Oct 17 19:23:08 +0000 2012
Questioner concerned about delivery & accountability of public services. A lot of services seem to be delegated out-eg prisons/health.. Wed Oct 17 19:22:09 +0000 2012
Now- Q&A… #nfpublicservices any Q’s twitter? Let us know.. Wed Oct 17 19:21:04 +0000 2012
Also; “Letting go” by John Wilson. A radical view on total autonomy of public services. May be quite radical for Fabians,but provocative. Wed Oct 17 19:20:01 +0000 2012
Fabian publication “The shape of things to come” is a good publication on this topic. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:19:00 +0000 2012
We have tried top down control, and marketisation. How do we have increased peer-to-peer reform? There is a fertile debate on this issue. Wed Oct 17 19:18:03 +0000 2012
Or is that just a one-off gain? How should public services be structured – more local autonomy? #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:15:49 +0000 2012
How can we reduce the costs of public services without reducing the quality? By services working together? efficiency thru coordination Wed Oct 17 19:14:55 +0000 2012
The Fabian research shows the value of collective services is far greater than just providing cash in hand. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:13:27 +0000 2012
There is a debate over whether to provide benefits in cash terms, or through provision of collective services. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:12:50 +0000 2012
Also, seeing the state as a national insurance system- builds solidarity but has been undermined #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:11:30 +0000 2012
Other areas of spending are investment in the future (schools, infrastructure, house building) – in hard times ppl get very short-termist Wed Oct 17 19:09:21 +0000 2012
There is a national Fabian paper being researched on this subject currently #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:07:18 +0000 2012
The Left has not won an argument on an increase in taxes, however. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:04:38 +0000 2012
Public services are contact-heavy and reliant on people; the human interaction. Teaching, health services, etc. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:03:32 +0000 2012
There is a keen Labour party debate on how to improve child/early stages spending. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:02:11 +0000 2012
This raises Qs how we pay for this. Harrop believes we would need to gradually (emphasises gradual) increases in taxes. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 19:00:36 +0000 2012
Looking longer term, how will public services change over the next 30, 40..years? We have an ageing population; more health & social care. Wed Oct 17 18:59:43 +0000 2012
However, there are still going to be difficult choices on public spending, under a Labour government. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 18:58:40 +0000 2012
The Left can argue for more growth, and perhaps tax rises rather than spending cuts, to counter the coalition’s austerity path. Wed Oct 17 18:57:57 +0000 2012
There is no sign of this ending in the short term. Osborne’s short period of pain, is not looking so short. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 18:56:09 +0000 2012
Public Services have been hit harder than Social Security in the coalitions spending cuts. #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 18:55:15 +0000 2012
The Fabian research showed there is no public attitude for a radical move to the right, or the left for that matter #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 18:54:39 +0000 2012
How does the Left counter this public perception? #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 18:53:45 +0000 2012
Not all good news. Anti state attitudes in the area of welfare. Perception of scrounging brought up in the Fabian research. Wed Oct 17 18:53:21 +0000 2012
Answer according to Fabian research: No. ‘No Right Turn’ #nfpublicservices Wed Oct 17 18:52:36 +0000 2012
Harrop talking about the huge ramifications of a Romney win in the US next month.Are there any signs of small statism creeping in to the UK? Wed Oct 17 18:52:02 +0000 2012
Andrew Harrop now speaking #nfpublicservices at @NottsFabians congratulating us on being a year old. Wed Oct 17 18:50:09 +0000 2012