Highlights of the conference

Blog post by Dave King

The overarching highlight of the conference was the general atmosphere of positivity and energy, reflected in lots of brief conversations and the overall buzz. This really makes me feel like it was worth the hard work over the last 9 months. I have no doubt that a major source of that atmosphere springs directly from the positivity of the Lucas Plan itself, and of the attitude of the trade unionists that created it.

Obviously, for me a major highlight was the honour of making the presentation to them. Honoured is an over-used word, but I was really moved by having Phil, John, Mick and Ron at the conference, the presence in spirit of Mike Cooley, Brian Salisbury and Bob Dodd and the opportunity for us to show them how we felt.

I could have chosen many more highlights, but I decided to limit myself to 3, so I’ve picked the workshop on automation. I’ve been trying for a number of years to get trade unionists and others together to address this issue, and it’s been very hard work. Although there were clear differences of opinion in the workshop it was a great discussion, and almost everyone expressed their willingness to take the conversation forward. One particular idea is a ‘workers inquiry’ on the subject; I’ve had a questionnaire drafted for couple of years but have lacked the time and trade union contacts to take that forward. Now I certainly feel like I have some of the latter and hopefully we can build on the networks that we started to create yesterday.

Please use the comment button to contribute your thoughts and highlights on the conference and on the way forward. We hope that the video and audio recordings from the conference will be on this website in the near future.

Dave King

15 comments on “Highlights of the conference

  1. What went well?

    The conference went well. There was a lot interest in and a lot of willingness to share positive thoughts about the ‘politics’ of the ‘Lucas Plan’ in all its aspects. It was wonderful having some of the Lucas guys there in the flesh – it grounded the whole event. Being able to see even a small section of Steve Sprung’s film was wonderful – it’s going to be very rich and thought-provoking in its content.

    What could have been different/better?

    The venue location (central Birmingham – near the train station) was good but a bigger venue would have been better – things were a little cramped both inside the meeting rooms and in the area outside the meeting rooms. Much more attention needs to be given to accessibility issues – for example, the gangways between chairs were difficult for able-bodied people to negotiate let alone for wheelchair users and people with guide-dogs (we need to get this right in future otherwise we’re going to exclude people from the event).

    What initiatives would you like to see going forward from the conference?

    One of the absolutely defining elements of the ‘Lucas Plan’, which ultimately provided its richness, was the thinking that was gathered from ‘the shop floor’ (many people have referred to this ‘bottom-up’ process). We need to engage people from the ‘bottom’ of society in any future thinking relating to ‘socially useful production’ or indeed any aspect of human liberation. We need to draw on the knowledge and thinking of ‘shop floor workers’ and other people who have traditionally been denied access to the workplace (for example, disabled people, young people). These people’s knowledge and wisdom was gained, primarily, in the community and in the workplace and not through the higher education system. The thinking of people from this ‘bottom end’ of society needs to dominate policy making in order to provide a rational and human dimension as we try to make progress in the future.

  2. Hello Friends

    To me, he news coming through of Fidel Castro`s passing followed by the minute` silence

    couldn’t have been a more fitting and synchronistic setting for Saturdays Birmingham Lucas Plan 40th Anniversary at Digbeth High St.

    I realised it had taken me [only!] 56 years to find the appropriate time to

    start the description of how my 5 year indentured Lucas Aerospace apprenticeship had morphed into the opportunity in the early 60s, to become a 21 yr old “mature student.” – ffor me coincidentally with the start of his regime.


    phil [newton ]

  3. Hello everyone,
    Congratulations to Dave and team on a wonderful event – not even the nearly two hour delay on the train back to Nottingham could dull the flame completely!

    The Socially Useful Production workshop was the highlight for me – and the emergent interest in linkages with the commons movement clearly ripe for follow up.

    This conference on Platform Co-ops at Goldsmiths early next year may be of interest – as might this one on refounding the co-op movement – It would be good to meet up/ compare notes with other participants.

    Have just ordered a copy of Sheila Rowbottom’s book..

    Looking forward to the next event.

    Ian [Hewitt ..formally CAITS]

  4. Pingback: LabourNet Germany » 40 Jahre Lucas Aerospace: Wie die britische Gewerkschaftsbewegung (einst?) eine globale Perspektive aufzeigte

  5. It’s actually a multitude of factors including gravity flux, milankovitch cycles which is always changing , man made climate change, topography change, current sun cycle, tidal effects, To claim the above listed topics do not affect weather is a bit

  6. 43 tears ago I was working as a Quantity Surveyor for Milton Keynes Development Corporation. It was a seed bed for new ideas in housing, engineering, environment social development and transport innovation. We all know what happened when Maggie Thatcher came into power. The specialist teams were gradually made redundant and dispersed into the free-market economy.

    Yesterday, talking with my wife and son Dr. Andrew Thompson, ( a member of the Unite Union), the Lucas Plan came into our conversation. I am a member of the Green Party, so I am delighted that 40 years on young and old still have the same aspirations for this country. My main regret is that so little attention was paid to the 2016 conference by our media. It was only our memories that caused me to go on line and type in ‘ The Lucas Plan’. I had not heard about this conference at all. We need a vehicle to bring to the attention of the British public what really is possible if we put our minds to the aims expressed at the conference.

  7. I am so glad that this plan has re-emerged at a time when it is ever more important for looking at ways in which we can move forward as a healthy and more equal society, using skills to make things which enhance lives and does not destroy them.
    My late husband, Mark Hill did a placement with The Lucas Plan as part of his Aberdeen Social Work course (!) I have never forgotten what he told me, and was pleased to join a Green Party/Labour trip to Barrow to hear what stage things were at, and renew the energy.

    Please don’t stop this work!

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