Current Affairs Discussion – Archive

December 12th 2019:
The meeting considered protest and their effectiveness in reaching their aims. There was a wide ranging discussion about various historical events and on to the present day, starting with the Barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta and later to the Peterloo, Suffragettes, Kinder Scout Mass Trespass protests and others. We also considered the effectiveness of online petitions through organisations such as 38 Degrees, Friends of the Earth….. Our eventual conclusion was that most protests do eventually become successful, but seeing the results could take years, decades, if not hundreds of years.

We also gave our personal priority suggestions for making the world a better place. Ideas covered respect for others, politeness, tolerance, not making rash judgments. Investment to improve mental health, social welfare, drug addiction & scientific research were also prioritised, as well as anger management issues and racial prejudice. Also giving people you meet a smile could improve everyone’s day!

October 10th 2019:
Gary introduced the topic and has provided a quick update about our discussion today entitled “Transport Policy”.
We had a lively discussion about transport (road, rail, air, sea) and how it is managed in the UK.  It is a huge topic which has influence on so many aspects of our daily lives. We ranged from the canals to HS2 to Heathrow.  We contrasted our experiences travelling abroad and at home. We considered transport pollution and the commitments national and local governments have to improving our environment.
As Transport is such an interesting and divergent subject that evolves all the time, we have decided to revisit the subject at a later date.

August 8th 2019: The August CADG meeting addressed the problems of climate change (CC) and the associated species extinction issue. There was a lot to consider – including why some people still do not accept it as a reality. Reasons include confusing weather with climate change, not understanding that there is no financial or career advantage for scientists to publish ‘fake research findings’, not being bothered about the loss of a tiny insect, to feeling it is a global problem and that an individual cannot make a difference. After considering such issues as how scientific knowledge develops by ‘standing on the shoulders of giants to see further (Einstein)’, and correcting results as more knowledge becomes available – and how the whole cycle of life depends on the activities of each species, however small and insignificant, so that the loss of a single insect can have an impact on the survival of other species – we then talked about what we as individuals could do.
Some ideas included eating less meat, buying fewer clothes, planting trees, cutting down on air and road travel, saving water, insulating our homes, checking the ‘air miles’ of purchases, signing petitions, rejecting the use of plastics – and other suggestions.
If you would like a fuller report on our stimulating discussion, please contact any of the CADG team and give your email address – and they can send a fuller report.

June 13th 2019: As usual, our debate on whether countries such as India should be spending money on space exploration, drifted into related topics such as the UK contributions to low and middle income countries/climate change. Ken gave us a lot of data to get us off the ground and – again as usual – we had no consensus and no vote, but we had a great conversation and learned a lot.

May 9th 2019 There was a full house today to discuss whether government spending on the arts was justified. Sheila gave us the statistics as to the amount and source of government financial support, which seemed surprisingly high. But we then also had information about the income received back from such funding – such as the increased spending on arts-based tourism – for example on transport, additional accommodation and food spending on top of standard entrance fees. Members also highlighted the huge benefits provided by introducing different aspects of music/acting/painting, for example, to children, sick people, drug dependency individuals, much of which was unquantifiable and only apparent in the future. A show of hands at the end of the discussion suggested that the group felt the spending was indeed justified, but was divided on whether the amount spent currently should be increased in view of the significant benefits to people and their lives, and in view of current funding cuts for schools, the NHS etc. We tried to imagine how dreary life would be without artistic endeavour and members highlighted much that was happening in their regions through local and charitable support. A local leaflet from Bolsover was shown to alert people about up-coming artistic events – and of course, the part played by the U3A was highlighted.

April 11th 2019
Twelve members came to the discussion today, which was about whether social media, and the Internet in general, were a blessing or a threat. The topic was ably introduced by Mike Taylor who presented us with examples of the pluses and minuses . We all had different experiences of using some of the media programs now online, from shopping, to keeping in touch with friends and families, to enabling business and science to progress . .  But some had experienced uninvited and upsetting photographs suddenly coming onto their computers. We agreed the bad things were not the fault of the technology, but how people used it.We discovered 11 of us had iphones and used emails, but few used Facebook – although they watched what their families posted sometimes – some used WhatsApp and iTunes, few used Instagram .  . . but we all felt the technology was here to stay. We all worried somewhat about over-use and addiction of youngsters. Some of us regretted the demise of paper and pen, and books – so we had a mixed response – as usual. But we all learned from listening to each other, which is what it is all about.

February 14th 2019

The meeting was well attended.  Sheila introduced the subject of Migration – its causes and consequences. Several other members had also done some research. It soon became clear that if we went back far enough in the records we are all descended from migrants. For thousands of years people had moved across the land in search of valuable goods, or fertile land, or to trade in spices or other expensive items.  The current difficulties with movement of people often stemmed from poverty, famine and war. People also migrate for economic reasons, perhaps to get a better job or the benefits of a particular country. After much discussion it was clear that no one had a solution to the situation although everyone hoped that the governments of the countries concerned could deal with the wars, famine & poverty that devastated their people.

Jauary 10th 2019

The CADG met on 10th January. Barbara welcomed new members to the group.  Julie introduced the topic of Robots & Drones and gave us details of her research on the history of the subject. A lively discussion followed, when people considered the good & bad of both new technologies. Whilst no firm consensus was reached it became clear that this was not a new situation as the introduction of the steam engine for public transport in the 19th century had caused a lot of consternation. There was no stopping the progress of technology , but it was hoped that some regulation could be enacted to restrict the worrying aspects of these machines.
Wendy

October 10th 2019:
Gary introduced the topic and has provided a quick update about our discussion today entitled “Transport Policy”.
We had a lively discussion about transport (road, rail, air, sea) and how it is managed in the UK.  It is a huge topic which has influence on so many aspects of our daily lives. We ranged from the canals to HS2 to Heathrow.  We contrasted our experiences travelling abroad and at home. We considered transport pollution and the commitments national and local governments have to improving our environment.
As Transport is such an interesting and divergent subject that evolves all the time, we have decided to revisit the subject at a later date.

August 8th 2019: The August CADG meeting addressed the problems of climate change (CC) and the associated species extinction issue. There was a lot to consider – including why some people still do not accept it as a reality. Reasons include confusing weather with climate change, not understanding that there is no financial or career advantage for scientists to publish ‘fake research findings’, not being bothered about the loss of a tiny insect, to feeling it is a global problem and that an individual cannot make a difference. After considering such issues as how scientific knowledge develops by ‘standing on the shoulders of giants to see further (Einstein)’, and correcting results as more knowledge becomes available – and how the whole cycle of life depends on the activities of each species, however small and insignificant, so that the loss of a single insect can have an impact on the survival of other species – we then talked about what we as individuals could do.
Some ideas included eating less meat, buying fewer clothes, planting trees, cutting down on air and road travel, saving water, insulating our homes, checking the ‘air miles’ of purchases, signing petitions, rejecting the use of plastics – and other suggestions.
If you would like a fuller report on our stimulating discussion, please contact any of the CADG team and give your email address – and they can send a fuller report.

June 13th 2019: As usual, our debate on whether countries such as India should be spending money on space exploration, drifted into related topics such as the UK contributions to low and middle income countries/climate change. Ken gave us a lot of data to get us off the ground and – again as usual – we had no consensus and no vote, but we had a great conversation and learned a lot.

May 9th 2019 There was a full house today to discuss whether government spending on the arts was justified. Sheila gave us the statistics as to the amount and source of government financial support, which seemed surprisingly high. But we then also had information about the income received back from such funding – such as the increased spending on arts-based tourism – for example on transport, additional accommodation and food spending on top of standard entrance fees. Members also highlighted the huge benefits provided by introducing different aspects of music/acting/painting, for example, to children, sick people, drug dependency individuals, much of which was unquantifiable and only apparent in the future. A show of hands at the end of the discussion suggested that the group felt the spending was indeed justified, but was divided on whether the amount spent currently should be increased in view of the significant benefits to people and their lives, and in view of current funding cuts for schools, the NHS etc. We tried to imagine how dreary life would be without artistic endeavour and members highlighted much that was happening in their regions through local and charitable support. A local leaflet from Bolsover was shown to alert people about up-coming artistic events – and of course, the part played by the U3A was highlighted.

April 11th 2019
Twelve members came to the discussion today, which was about whether social media, and the Internet in general, were a blessing or a threat. The topic was ably introduced by Mike Taylor who presented us with examples of the pluses and minuses . We all had different experiences of using some of the media programs now online, from shopping, to keeping in touch with friends and families, to enabling business and science to progress . .  But some had experienced uninvited and upsetting photographs suddenly coming onto their computers. We agreed the bad things were not the fault of the technology, but how people used it.We discovered 11 of us had iphones and used emails, but few used Facebook – although they watched what their families posted sometimes – some used WhatsApp and iTunes, few used Instagram .  . . but we all felt the technology was here to stay. We all worried somewhat about over-use and addiction of youngsters. Some of us regretted the demise of paper and pen, and books – so we had a mixed response – as usual. But we all learned from listening to each other, which is what it is all about.

February 14th 2019

December 6th 2018

We had a merry festive time playing Desert Island Discs – and Chrissy brought Xmas hats and some cracker jokes to start us off! Suggestions included a huge variety of books, music  and luxury items to be taken to the island, and the members also chose people to invite for a meal. These included celebrities from the music and acting professions, sports people, Winston Churchill, a Nobel prize winning scientist, and even Jesus Christ, who we hoped would be able to keep order!

We also discussed possible new venues with improved access, and details of this – including a venue for the January meeting — will be forwarded to members shortly, and added to this Web Page. Watch this space – and have a wonderful Christmas!

November 8th 2018

We learned a lot about how freedom of speech is implemented – or not – in different parts of the world. Very many countries have declared this as part of their national constitution, but it is not always enforced by law, so it is interpreted differently. An important topic, given the current political pronouncements  being made verbally or electronically at the present time. We demonstrated that the CADG group accepts freedom of speech as a given! We want to learn from each other.

October 12th 2018

We had a lively and enjoyable discussion yesterday about our prison service – is it fit for purpose. Judging from the statistics that Sue provided us with, the answer was a resounding no! And we felt that the problem was lack of staffing/money but then also discussed how we can fix the cause – why do so many commit crimes – especially youngsters. We discussed the importance of educating children to consider the consequences of the decisions they make – and take responsibility for them. A big topic – and we were well informed by member, Julia, with experience in this area.

We decided our next topic will be about Freedom of Speech and whether it should be for everyone, or whether there should be some control. Watch this space –so do come and join in what is always a very happy group meeting.

August 9th 2018

The meeting of the CADG group addressed the question of the House of Lords – and whether it should be removed or reformed. Pat Mellor gave us a factful introduction that led us all to state our points of view. I think we all agreed we needed a 2nd chamber to act as a second opinion and check on the House of Commons, but we were as unclear, as many prestigious government bodies have been in the past, as to how to reform. Some of us thought the concept of inherited rights to the Chamber was an anacronism in the present age, but others felt that some of these Lords were the most useful and clever members, when compared to some of the people appointed by political parties.But when we asked how other countries appointed their second chambers, we were unclear. So – thanks to Pat’s stimulation – we decided that next month each of us would take a different country and research its mechanism and deliver a 5 minute report so that we could debate the options from a better-informed basis.

Maybe CADG will arrive at a good solution for reform that defeated past attempts by the Lords them selves!

July 12th 2018

“Should sexual allegations be subject to justification, both for the harassed and the accused?”
Wasn’t quite sure what this meant but as a virgin CADG member, as well as a new co-Groups Coordinator, I found myself with a couple of hours to spare today. So off I went to find out.
Just five of us, all women, talked at length about recent public sexual allegations, looking at all aspects of this, from both the alleged predators’ and the alleged victims’ perspectives.
A lively discussion, which would probably have been even livelier with a mixed group, but hey, maybe another time.
Next month the question up for debate is: “Should the House of Lords be reformed or abolished?”
Rose

June 19th 2018

The discussion on: How can the perceived economic generation gap be resolved? was interesting, as we were in general agreement – not about how to resolve it, but more about if it exists! Perhaps predictably, as we were of the older generation, we had many stories and discussions about what life was like when we were growing up, and the differences between life in those times from young people’s lives now.

While acknowledging that the cost of housing is now so much higher, we also remembered how in our time we generally didn’t own cars, ‘eat out’, go on expensive holidays and generally saved for what we needed and didn’t spend unless we could afford it. Of course, things varied, depending on upbringing and family ‘fortunes’, and now the young marrieds often depend on family donations to help get on the ladder.

But we also considered why the UK residents are more obsessed with owning their own property, whereas in most other European countries, renting is the norm. We also shared information on how we managed our resources, and some of us learned some valuable facts about resources available for older people, the need to keep some savings in reserve for possible future care home needs, and so on.

An enjoyable, informative and stimulating debate, as ever. See above for future topics on the agenda, and come and join us on the 2nd Tuesday of each month in the lovely Bee Hive café in Bolsover, 2.00pm. All members welcome.

May 2018

The CADG Goup had a really informative discussion about the situation in Syria, thanks to useful documentation provided by Ken . Maps of the region people brought were very useful  too , as we were all a bit confused about which country borders which – and where exactly are the Golan Heights? We were sadly unable to solve the Syrian crisis, but learned a lot!

Several of us had watched two programmes on Syria presented by the excellent Lyse Doucet (BBC Chief International Correspondent) and we were advised to find the programme on CatchUp if possible. Another programme called ‘The Story of the Jews’ presented by Simon Scharma (historian) was also highly recommended for watching – and relevant.

We discussed topics for the next two months, and agreed not to plan too far ahead so as to keep discussions ‘current’. Topics for June will be ‘How can the perceived economic generation gap be solved?’ and, for July, ‘Should the House of Lords  be  reformed or abolished?’ Please join us – we had such fun during  this Syria session, in spite of the topic being so worrying.

April 12th 2018:

From Barbara: The Current Affairs Discussion Group had its usual lively and entertaining debate today about two related issues:  1) should the Fox Hunting ban in England be lifted and 2) should badger culls be stopped? Facts about each topic were provided and debated, with most feeling unhappy about Fox Hunting still continuing, illegally, and similarly worried about the badger culls, which are not working as hoped. Alternative means to prevent the spread of BTB (bovine tuberculosis) such as inoculation of either badgers or cows, or better herd –management, were discussed – as was a description of how drag hunting is organised.

We also discussed topics for next month and in the future, and all decided that now we know each other, and accept we will have different views, we should perhaps address more controversial topics, such as action in Syria, or anti-semitism. So next month we will discuss the Syrian situation, – and we received an offer to start the debate by educating us about the constitution of the current Syrian community with relation to religion or societal differences. We know we are grown-up enough to discuss controversial issues and learn from each others’ opinions.

March 10th:

From Sarah: The March meeting of CADG was lively and at times passionate – what were we discussing? The pros and cons of fracking for shale gas.  Everyone had done some research and articles were available for those who wanted more information.  The final consensus was that until there were tighter regulations in place based on facts, fracking should wait for another day.

The next meeting is on Thursday, 12 April when the discussion will be about “Badger culling and fox hunting”.  “Should organ donation be an opt in or out affair?”  is on hold for another date.

February 2018

This months CADG meeting was well attended, and our discussion on ‘Should the UK Government  lower the voting  to 16 yrs ‘ was thought-provoking.  The fact that we all had different views, led to an interesting and informative afternoon. Not to mention the good coffee and cake we consumed. Sheila

, and if not, it was vandalism? In truth, we were so fascinated by some examples of artistic graffiti that people brought that  we were undecided about the answer to the question – as usual!
Related image

 

December 2017:
From Sheila: To get into the Christmas spirit this month we changed the group’s normal format.  Our topic was ‘Desert Island Discs’ and as individuals what we would  take with us to our island.  It was very interesting to hear what was important to each of us. So I now have an even bigger reading list together with an even longer music list to listen to. Thank you to everyone for such an interesting and enjoyable meeting. Merry Christmas to all my U3A friends.

September 14th 2017
From Pat
: The Current Affairs Discussion Group enjoyed a spirited and wide-ranging discussion yesterday on the subject, presented by Sheila, of whether people should have to sell their homes in order to pay for residential care in old age. As usual, no decision was reached, except that it had been a stimulating and enjoyable afternoon.

August 24th
From Barbara:
We had some beautiful examples of graffiti that we all agreed were very fine art (see below). Other types of graffiti were crude, rude and not authorised. So maybe if the work was with permission it was art, and if not, it was vandalism? In truth, we were so fascinated by some examples of artistic graffiti that people brought that  we were undecided about the answer to the question –

From Barbara: We had some beautiful examples of graffiti that we all agreed were very fine art (see below). Other types of graffiti were crude, rude and not authorised. So maybe if the work was with permission it was art, and if not, it was vandalism? In truth, we were so fascinated by some examples of artistic graffiti that people brought that  we were undecided about the answer to the question – as usual!
Related image
June 8th 2017
From Bev: 
I went to the Current Affairs Discussion Group this afternoon.  The subject was ‘ should military be arrested/prosecuted for killing captives’.  I am not much of a debater, but love to listen and people watch and am intrigued by different opinions and the reasons behind those opinions.  We were fortunate to have several members present who either had links or had served with the military, and could therefore share “inside” experience.  Everyone in turn expressed their opinion, a very interesting exercise, but in the end – although said in different ways- we were all agreed that in certain circumstances action must/should be taken by the authorities.  Incidents and circumstances by their very nature differ and should, in my opinion be judged independently of each othe. However a very stimulating afternoon, a very good attendance too, thanks Barbara.  Can’t wait for the next discussion 13th July “should people have to sell their property to pay for care in later life”. Now that’s a good one!

April 13th 2017
From Barbara: The CADG group met on April 13th to discuss ‘If we are no longer to trust ‘experts’ who can we trust?’  As ever, we had no answer, but had a good and lively discussion about some of the Government and non-Government organisations that offer fact-checking, but we learned to always check the sources of the information providers, as some ‘independent’   organisations have their own agenda’s they wish to promote. We discussed the impact of the Internet on how we access information – whether it offered  benefits or not? We agreed that while statistics are generally accurate, the way they are interpreted is often biased. We were sad that there is currently so much not to trust, but felt people were becoming more careful about what they believe to be true. Some notes that were distributed are in the file attached below.

March 10th 2017
From Elaine:The discussion yesterday titled ‘Should Recreation Drugs be Legalised’ was interesting and thought provoking.  Our knowledge and experience of recreation drugs was certainly mixed and I think we all learnt something from each other. The general consensus to the question today was ’NO’, recreation drugs should probably not be legalised. However, there is certainly a huge amount of information on the internet for both sides of the argument.

Please join us – we have a very relaxed, yet stimulating time chewing the fat. You would be very welcome – just turn up!

February 17th 2017

The Current Affairs Discussion group is something I look forward to every month. Last month’s subject could have been challenging, but instead I found the mixed views of each member brought interesting food for thought. As always I find this group opens up my mind with new observations and outlooks on life, and somehow we always manage to throw in some humour.

Even when I think I am not going to enjoy the subject chosen for each month by the Current Affairs Group, I prove myself wrong.  I learn so much from each subject, even when I think I know exactly where I stand before I even attend. Keeping my brain up to date and whilst continuing to educate myself, gives me a buzz each month. Roll on next month it’s ‘should recreational drugs be legalised’. – Sheila

January 12th 2017

A very interesting discussion this afternoon, the UK Constitution, or lack of one!  Don’t think I’m any the wiser, but the history of it and link to the Magna Carta is fascinating.  We were all thrilled with our new venue, the Bee Hive Cafe, the new manager/owner, (and I am so sorry have forgotten the lady’s name) was so obliging, served us with tea/coffee and some of us had cake! In the upstairs room.  I hope some other groups will consider using the cafe as their meeting place.  Well worth a visit. Bev

PS The lady is called Michelle, Bev. We also discussed ‘How Parliament is composed, the role of the Monarchy, the current consideration by the judiciary about what organisation should trigger Article 50  and many related topics’ – good venue, good discussion. – Barbara

 

December 22nd 2016

Our next meeting on January 12th will be about whether we in the UK need a written constitution – and how our present system works. None of us knows much about this, so we are ALL going to research some facts and inform each other – hopefully! This was triggered by the on-going judiciary review about whether Parliament or the Government has the authority to trigger Article 50 of the exit from the EU. This meeting will be on January 12th at 2.00pm and at the new venue of the Bee Hive Café in Bolsover.

The discussion on March 9th will be whether recreation drugs should be legalised, which Trevor hopes to introduce. The February debate not formalised yet – so watch this space.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and that we will all catch up again in 2017.

Seasons Greetings, Barbara

November 16th 2015

The last discussion on Climate Change – the facts and reality – was very informative and stimulating, thanks to Jean’s introduction. But the whole debate was thrown when Jean asked ‘Is the Climate Change agreement likely to be affected by the Trump election?’. whereupon we all switched to talking about this development! So, we are going to reprise this Climate Change debate again at the next meeting on December 8th – particularly as some of our members couldn’t make it in November. and were disappointed.

October 14th 2016

Another great discussion by a full house – the topic was how the Olympics could be better organised in the future, and was it fulfilling its purpose. Elaine gave us a nice intro to the facts about costs, legacy and so on. At the end we all agreed we couldn’t agree (!) on whether it is best to change to a single venue –  may be an island near  Greece – or try to just improve the management by monitoring corruption and drug abuse better. So good we are a group with different ideas and opinions, but happy to share in a friendly way with each other.

We were very pleased to welcome Sue, a new member to our group. The next topic is to be ‘Is climate change a reality?’ and Jean will provide the introduction. November 10th is the date to remember!

September 8th 2016

A very good discussion today on the subject of whether faith schools are divisive. SheilaSomerset provided us with a very ‘independent’ review of what/how faith schools operate in the UK, and she invited us to see whether, after our discussion, we had changed our views. Some of us remained with the same view, others had changed their opinion after receiving more information and discussion. Our thanks to Sheila for her research on the topic.

How good is that for a discussion between sensible people? It is good that we have different opinions on a number of matters as this leads to a meaningful debate. Please feel free to come and join us in the future. Here are the topics for the next two months:

October13th: How should the Olympic games be funded and made fair? [Introduced by Elaine McNeil]
November 10th: Is climate change a reality? [Introduced by Jean Hull]

All meetings are held at the Blubell Inn, Bolsover at 2.00pm – See you there!

Barbara

July 15th 2016

Another lively discussion of a complicated topic – we all now know about the different voting systems, thanks to Ann, but some of us (me!) are still uncertain about the consequences of each on fairer representation of the voting community. But I will have to study the hand-outs Ann gave us. . . .  Next topic (August11th)  is about the Monarchy and whether it is appropriate for today – so do come along if you want to ‘chew the fat’ with this group – all very welcome.

Barbara

May 12th 2016

I found the discussion today fascinating!  Should we, should we not, stay/leave the EU.  I did not have a great deal to say today, I was more interested in listening to the various opinions of the other members of the group.  Am I any better informed, I don’t think so.  What I do think is that the general consensus of opinion is that we can only go with what we as individuals decide.  The politicians, for and against, seem to be using similar ‘facts’ in their respective arguments.

What I do know is that despite being extremely busy with a two and a four year old, I do remember how I voted in 1975, and as of today I will be voting exactly the same.  Do I want to tell how I will vote?  No!  I may change my mind!!

All in all a good discussion, thanks to Barbara for her organisation, and Neil for leading, a memorable swan song, sorry to see you go, Neil.

Bev.


On April 14th, the newly formed Current Affairs Discussion Group met at Beans Coffee shop to discuss ‘The purpose of education’, introduced by Trevor Marsh. A lively discussion was held by the participants, complemented by a very welcoming reception from the owner of the café. We agreed the way we would hold future meetings and look forward to the next meeting on May 12th, when Neil Haddy will introduce the hugely important debate about the EU referendum. Only BDU3A gets the facts! We closed the meeting with a lively rendition of Happy Birthday to our Chairman who had to leave smartly for jelly and ice cream with his grandchildren.

March 18th 2016

The 8 people that signed up for this group last Wednesday are meeting at my house (Wilmots, Elmton, S80 4LS) on Tuesday, March 22nd at 10.30am to discuss when/where/how we will meet once we get the discussion group active. A short get together, as some have other places to be at by mid-day. BUSY U3A Members!

If anyone else wants to join in, do please come along. All welcome! My phone number is 07773677650 if you want instructions.

Barbara