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Apologies - 9 apologies received

Present : Lord Ahmed [Host]; Sabine McNeill [Co-ordinator]; Donald Martin [Chairman];  Canon Peter Challen & David Schoibl; [Minute Secretaries]; Sylvia; Keith Whincup [SAFE];  Julita Karol; Lawrence Bloom [Adviser]; Shard Duhart ;  Damian Mearns;  Robert Tait; Nigel Roberts; Peter Travers; Robert Arnold [BAMR]; Glen Segell [FT]; Patricia Kalmanovitch; AR Dambha; Ken Palmerton; Naomi Calligaro [British Association of Club of Rome]; David Pidcock [British Islamic Party]; May Goodare; Margaret Legum; Veronika Kallo; David Kallo; Chris Bell; Alexander Manias; Natasha Messinezi; Monika Tarr; Magdolna Tarr; Edit Bednarik; Medhat Singab; Abdallah Homouda; Ed Rosenthal [HGF]; Paul Kermanscahchi; Anthony Chevasse; and several whose names were not recorded.

The structure of this meeting was changed as Eddie Wetherill and his
replacement, Dick Sargent, were unable to attend. So the opportunity was taken to discuss strategy and organisational matters.

2. Comments on the notes. None received. Peter Challen asks for more feedback on the notes.

3. Drafting of a Banking Bill

Sabine reported that a meeting between Lord Caithness. Lord Ahmed and the lawyer is going to take part soon. Progress will be reported at the next meeting.

Sabine reported that it is too late for an amendment of the  Financial
Services and Markets Bill in the Commons, but that amendments would still be possible in the HoL. A discussion about the flaws of the current version of the FSMB made clear why and how it should be amended.

The Financial Services Authority is not authorised to consider individual cases and monitor day-to-day banking practice. The banks are self-regulated at the moment, which means that courts have no leverage to order the banks to reveal documents (such as showing under what conditions a loan was given in the first place). Banks can claim obscurity. Self-regulation seems to be a euphemism for "above the law".

Concerning self-regulation, Keith [SAFE] mentioned that the Bank Ombudsman only settles 2% of all cases referred to him. This is to be verified in correspondence between Keith and the Ombudsman; and reported in the next meeting.

5. Briefing material
Tony is in Brazil, so no video record this time. Major clarification was
required when video and film is allowed in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Sabine was encouraged by ITN to make it an issue.

6. The Monday Club publication on "usury" will be published in February and should be available at the next meeting.

The bulk-mail-shot to all MPīs and Lords has now gone out under covering letters by Austin Mitchell MP and Lord Ahmed. The press release has gone out to the Financial Times, Working Lunch, and Business Breakfast so far. Thanks to Mary Fee, David Schoibl and Shard Duhard who assisted Sabine invaluably.

How we should best attract the mediaīs attention was discussed. Should we try to communicate a "well documented scandal" - or - is a scandal of any help to draw attention to the "institutionalised fraud" with which we are concerned?

7. Steering Committee
The Steering Committee will include "heavy weights" who would be listened to by the media. Still in formation.

8. News
The British Association for Monetary Reform [BAMR] is presenting through 12 active units its educational work in form of booklets to contemporary issues (such as the Euro) to reach the "man on the streets". The proposed solution by the BAMR to spend money into existence instead of lending it into existence triggers off a debate. Do we really give 100% purchase power to the government? - is one of the questions raised.

Peter distributed a statement by the 'Bromsgrove Group' on the same theme, inviting responses; the group represents some dozen agencies with monetary reform emphases who are seeking a basic expression upon which each can then add their specific insight and approach.

Peter reported the wide range of responses to the 'Battle of Seattle'
and the attempts by networks like the anti MAI Coalition, WDM,
the Anti-Globalization Network, and the UK Trading Network,
 to prepare politically feasible proposals for fundamental restructuring
of the global economic system. They were aware of the key points of
influence prior to the US Presidential elections, which have put a
temporary brake on major WTO decisions.

9. International News

The exhibition "DEBT" in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is on till April.

The Supreme Court in Pakistan has taken up the earlier challenge of the Sharia Court and ruled that Islamic banking has to be introduced. This will challenge the Military leaders who have appointed IMF Officers to advise on economic regeneration.

Sabine reported on e-mails she received:
1. Equador "dollarises" its economy at immense cost to the poor.
2. A study on the relationship between climate - equity and debts has been published by the Global Commons Institute in London
3. National policy is increasingly threatened or forced to change by
international institutions and agreements (such as WTO and MAI)

Discussion continued on many important issues which focussed on the understanding that in a competitive and contractual system careers depend on NOT raising reality issues - we suffer from 'too much information and not enough understanding'. Since there is now a vast range of analysis, it is important that we have a sense of urgency about marshalling the strong and available positive proposals, accepting that they will all have to be adapted during implementation.

The next meeting on February 9th will be in Room 8 ( sponsored by Austin Mitchell MP.)

David Schoibl and Peter Challen