On Tuesday 7th November 2017 a seminar took place at Speakers House in Parliament to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest and to discuss public ownership within the context of a new 21st century charter for the people.

The event included a range of speakers including Peter Linebaugh, Gu Standing, Matt Larsen-Daw, Julie Timbrill, Guy Shrubsole and Anna Powell Smith.

The speakers brought history to life explaining the importance of the Charter of the Forest and the rights that were won by the people for basic subsistence on the land 800 years ago.

There are lessons to learn in not only what happened in 1217 but also through British history and the struggles of the people to secure their survival and a decent standard of living.

And, of course by now in 2017 we would have expected poverty and inequality to be a thing of the past. But even now in contemporary Britain and especially over the last 7 years that daily struggle to survive has intensified for millions of people and it needs to be challenged.

John suggested that we ‘ use the opportunity of the celebration of the Charter of the Forest to nourish the growing social movement that looks at who owns Britain and the privatisation of our natural assets and public services.  Let us look at these natural assets and public goods and promote understanding that they serve us best if they are in the hands of and control of the many not the few. The concept of the ‘commons’  could once again inspire people to question the role that  common ownership could play in achieving a democratic and effective society.

The New Putney Debate organisation created a website to provide further information. Click here to access 


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