The late Alan Clawley, chairman for many years, was trained as an architect. He lived in Birmingham UK for several decades where his work has involved providing technical support to a wide variety of community projects. He was an active member of the Green Party and the founder and secretary of Friends of the Central Library, a group which ran a high profile campaign to save Madin’s Birmingham City Library from demolition.
Andrew Lydon, vice-chairman, was initially involved in the Labour Party, where he developed his interest in decentralisation and economic development in drafting parts of their Birmingham Council manifesto. Since 1992, when he left Labour, he has been involved in the politics of the regions as a spokesman for the West Midlands New Economics Group and later for Birmingham NHS Concern. Andrew also runs the Prosperity and Inflation campaign for Localise West Midlands.
Ann Wackett worked with homelessness and advice services in London during the 1980’s. She worked in the Policy Unit in Birmingham City Council’s Urban Renewal Division’s Policy Unit (1990-2001), and in the Corporate Strategy Team at the West Midlands Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands (2001-2002) contributing to the Agency’s Corporate Plan. From 2004 she worked in Birmingham City Council’s Corporate Strategy Team where she led on the development of the Council’s Community Cohesion Strategy Implementation Plan (2008) and wrote the Council Leader’s Policy Statement and Implementation Plan (2012). Ann’s interests are in regeneration, tackling local and global inequality, and building genuine empowerment and capacity within cohesive neighbourhoods.
Ann is an unrepentant eclectic. She has a BA hons in Philosophy with Literature from Sussex University (1978), where Marxism was academically mainstream. She served as Chair and Secretary of her local Labour Party Ward in the 1990’s through years of activity and party suspension. In 2015 she completed a Graduate Certificate in integrative Psychotherapy. Amongst current projects, Ann teaches English as a foreign language to refugees and is a School Governor. She believes that there are no firebreaks between the political, economic and social, the global and the local, nor between the public and the interpersonal.
Barbara Panvel trained as teacher; worked in social priority schools in Birmingham. Researched potential of nonlethal weapons and strategies at Bradford’s School of Peace Studies. Politically eclectic, currently member of Labour Party, supports the Greens, Mebyon Kernow and the National Health Action Party. Runs websites, including one on defence issues, the economy, environmental innovation, food system, Indian affairs, Birmingham affairs, political corruption, West Midlands SME manufacturers, co-operative affairs, chemicals/pharmaceuticals and this blog. Contributes to LWM and Commercial Boat Operators websites.
Christine Parkinson is a scientist who has more recently been involved in regeneration projects for the marginalised in Birmingham’s inner city. She has written a book to be published in Autumn 2016. This book “Three Generations Left?” outlines how so-called progress has combined with other factors, such as free trade, a market economy, population increase and the development of a super-rich owning most of the wealth of the planet, to bring about a situation in which our planet is at risk from destruction due to global warming and climate change.
Jeremy Heighway currently lives in Leipzig, was an active participant at the degrowth conference in 2014, and took part in the basic income GAP sessions. He also wrote a stirring paper on infrastructures for a parallel GAP. In his day job, Jeremy mostly does translations from German to English in the field of renewable energy.
John Nightingale studied economics and theology at university and, to his surprise, found God-talk more comprehensible than the monetary system. Though he passed the exams he never really felt at ease with economics until he read “Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered” by EF Schumacher when he was working on church and community projects in Nigeria.
Latterly he has been heavily involved in the Jubilee Debt Campaign whose object is the cancellation of the unjust and unpayable debts of poor countries and a change in the system that gives rise to them. Most recently he has come to realise the destructive way that debt and human-made climate change interact with one another. Our pattern of economic activity needs to change if we are to help billions escape poverty and stop trashing the earth, our common home.
Hazel Clawley joined the Green Party in 1985, attracted by its opposition to nuclear weapons and also by its policy of a basic income for all citizens, an idea considered then to be wild and wacky, but quite recently discussed as eminently sensible by people from across the political spectrum. Since then she has campaigned within the Green Party for a new kind of economics based on a steady-state economy which recognises limits to growth (at least of the economic kind) on a fragile planet. People’s basic needs must be met wherever they live in the world (Green policies known as ‘Contraction and Convergence’ helped her here), but the human need for growth and progress can be met in other ways than the blind alley of amassing ever more stuff: growth in knowledge, in creativity, in ways of working together.
Margaret Okole studied Russian and taught English in Austria and Nigeria in the 1980s. In the 1990s and 2000s she was assistant editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies (Oxford University) and continues to work as a freelance editor, mainly on issues connected with human migration. Realising the link between forced migration and climate change, she joined the Green Party in 2008. Since then she has been trying to educate herself on economic matters, which prove to be more interesting than she ever imagined.