The day before the G8 Summit in Scotland, 2005, Jubilee Scotland held a public debate on what the prospects were for a real resolution to the global debt crisis. I was worried that the G8 mobilisations would bypass ordinary people in Edinburgh; that people would come along to the Make Poverty History march but never have the chance to meet the amazing individuals who were gathering in Edinburgh from around the world. Unless we did something to counter this, the G8 Summit might end up being like the Edinburgh Festival – a massive activity which passes on, leaving no lasting or meaningful impression on life in Scotland’s capital.
So we set up the 2005 Debt Tribunal, and it was stunning: I mean, I knew it would work, but I didn’t expect someone to come up to me and kiss me at the end: in my book, that’s positive feedback.
It worked because we used a good mass discussion methodology (drawn from the Edinburgh Active Citizens Group), and because we had great speakers – Lidy Nacpil from the Philippines, Charity Musamba from Zambia, Rachel Ordu from Nigeria, Romulo Torres from Peru (with Gail Hurley from EURODAD translating) and Chris Gekonge from Kenya. The audience was amazing too; at the start I made a jokey reference to Daleks (Dr Who had just restarted in the UK at the time) and realised that this international setting was probably the worst possible place to make it.
The results of the discussion were put into the structured diagram or “Argument map” you can see below; please do have a look at the map and give us your comments. In less than a week, we will have our second debt tribunal, and we would like this blog to help us prepare for it.
Ben at Jubilee Scotland