Brockley Festival of Ideas 2016: Session 4

Building a New Economy

Chaired by Clare Cowen

Bruce Mauleverer QC – The International Law Association

Aeron Davis – Professor of Political Communication, Goldsmiths

Helen Mercer – Lecturer in Economics

Oliver Lewis – Campaigner

Full audio recording (1h 12m).

See below for start times of sections.


Clare Cowen



International Law and Enforcement of Human Rights.

Bruce Mauleverer QC (Read by Bob Barrett)


Mauleverer v2 b&w 300pixIn the absence of an effective supranational force for the enforcement of international law, enforcement of human rights locally can help not only to avoid conflicts (such as those in Syria, the Ukraine and  Colombia) but also to make the resolution of such conflicts easier and more likely.

Bruce practised at the bar for 30 years and is a Member and Patron of the International Law Association.

Read a transcript here.

Bring Back British Rail

Oliver Lewis


Lewis v2 b&w 300pixPrivatising the railways was supposed to save the government money and
make the railways more efficient. In fact, what happened was that
British Rail became a herd of over a hundred milk-cows for private
profiteers, milking customers and taxpayers alike. When an industry is
an obvious and natural monopoly, doomed to heavy dependence upon the
public purse, it is irrational and unjust to add private profit to the
massive and necessary expenses involved. The railway must work for
everybody: British Rail must be brought back!

Oliver is spokesman for the ‘Bring Back British Rail’ lobbying group, and Chair of St John’s Society.


What Has the Financial System Ever Done For Us?

Aeron Davis


Davis v2 b&w 300pixFinancial services make most of their profit through speculation, driving up asset prices – housing is a good example. This is parasitic on the real economy. Through taxation, regulation and law, we should make speculation less profitable, and productive investment more profitable.

Aeron is professor of Political Communication at Goldsmiths. To get the real economy working again for ordinary people, he believes the City needs to be properly exposed and confronted.

View the Powerpoint presentation here.

Read a transcript here.



The Private Finance Initiative: How to End the Rip-Off

Helen Mercer


Mercer v2 b&w 300pixDuring the 1990’s, the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) enlisted the private sector to provide the finance for new public infrastructure. PFI contracts also saw the privatisation of support services such as maintenance and cleaning. PFIs provide guaranteed value and returns to private equity firms, banks and investment funds. Ultimately such returns may end up in tax havens. Helen explains the process by which profits are siphoned off from public services into private profits via ‘Special Purpose Vehicles’ (SPVs). She proposes to end this scam by nationalising the SPVs.

Helen is an associate senior lecturer in economics, a member of People vs Barts PFI, and a founder member of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign.

View the Powerpoint presentation here.


Questions and Discussion



Festival Closing Remarks

STARTS AT 01:04:12


Links to other Pages:

Session 1: Participation and Democracy
Session 2: A Fairer World
Session 3: An Inclusive Society

Picture Gallery

Festival homepage