Previous Future Talks

The Future of Europe - 26 May 2016

Watch again
Missed it?
Watch the talk online
In? Out? What’s it all about?

With the UK’s EU referendum fast approaching, our event gave delegates all the facts from both sides of the debate. The great British public needed to have their say on whether we stay or leave the European Union!

So what is in store for the Future of Europe? Should Britain stay as part of the EU family? Or move towards independence?

We pulled together some of the key voices in the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigns to give a comprehensive insight into the debate on whether Britain should stay in the European Union. The panel was chaired by freelance journalist and Brussels expert Frances Robinson, and included prominent politician Neena Gill, as well as national board member of VoteLeave Saqib Bhatti and international business consultant Vicky Pryce. 

Panellists for both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps were all striving to put their argument forward as to why the UK should – or shouldn’t – stay a part of the EU.

The expert panel

Panel Chair: Frances Robinson
Frances Robinson Profile - Panel

A freelance journalist who's spent her career reporting on the EU, Frances was a staff reporter at the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

Having worked in Brussels, she has a wealth of experiences in the heart of the EU, with appearances on Sky News and BBC News.

Jonathan Barcena
Jonathan Barcena

Jonathan has been a member for the Conservative Party since 2013 and is a Birmingham spokesperson for BeLeave, the group representing young people in the campaign for a 'leave' vote in the EU referendum. He is also President of Africans for Britain. 

Saqib Bhatti
Saqib Bhatti

Saqib is a chartered accountant and a Director at Younis Bhatti & Co. Limited. He sits on a number of key and strategic boards in Birmingham, including VoteLeave. As Secretary General of Muslims For Britain, he is actively campaigning for Britain to leave the EU.

Philip Bushill-Matthews
Philip Bushill-Matthews

Philip has over 20 years’ experience at Director/Managing Director level running food manufacturing companies in the UK and Europe. He was elected as MEP for the West Midlands in 1999 and 2004 and campaigns for 'Britain Stronger in Europe.'

James Carver
James Carver, MEP

James Carver was elected as a MEP for the West Midlands in 2014. He has spent the last 20 years campaigning for UKIP and for British Independence from the EU. He is a small businessman and has served with both the Royal Marines Reserve and the Territorial Army.

Neena Gill
Neena Gill, MEP

Neena Gill is the current Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands, UK. She is full member of the Committee for Economic and Monetary Affairs, First Vice-President to the Delegation for Relations with India, and a member of the Delegation to the US.

Vicky Pryce
Vicky Pryce

Vicky Pryce is an economist and international business consultant, and is currently on the board of the Centre for Economics and Business Research. She was previously the Joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service, and is now a Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University.

Disclaimer: The views expressed at the event were those of the individual speakers, and do not reflect Birmingham City University's views or stance on the subject. 

Not sure about the EU?

What if I don’t know much about the UK and EU debate? Don’t worry - we’ve compiled a handy guide to outline both sides of the argument.


Leave campaigners say:

Stay campaigners say:

What about immigration?

Britain would regain control of their borders. UKIP want to see a permit system introduced (similar to Australia) placing visa restrictions on people outside the EU.

Immigration is good for the British economy and helps fund public services. We might have to agree to ‘free movement’ of EU migrants to be able to access the free trade market.

Would Britain save money?

The UK taxpayers would no longer pay a tariff on goods exported to the EU and potentially save billions in membership fees.

The benefits to our economy of being in a ‘single trade market’ (within the EU) outweigh the cost of the UK’s contribution to the EU budget.

What would the impact be on British jobs?

The British job market would boom with small businesses who don’t trade with the EU reaping the biggest benefits.

Millions would lose their jobs. Manufacturers would move to cheaper EU countries to make their products. The car industry in particular would suffer.

What would be the effect on trade?

The UK would be able to establish trade agreements with markets in Brazil, China, Russia and Singapore. Britain is not as reliant on EU trade as it used to be - the pro-EU campaigners are exaggerating the consequences of Britain leaving the EU.

The UK’s main trading partner is the EU with 52% of the total trade in goods and services coming from/going to Europe. Trade barriers would be put up if we were to leave the EU, enforcing tariffs on imports and exports from Britain. Britain would be too ‘weak’ to penetrate the growing markets from Brazil, China and the US.

What could be Britain’s options for building new trade relationships?

Britain could negotiate new trade deals and use other countries’ (from outside the EU) as models for a new trade agreement.

Trade models that other non-EU countries use would not suit the British economy and the ‘red tape’ around non-EU trade could cripple British exports.

Would the UK’s influence on the world change?

The UK has a powerful global voice and would still remain strong partners in NATO and the UN Security Council.

Britain could become side-lined on transnational decisions around the environment, security and trade, due to their lack of influence in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. There is risk of the UK becoming isolated if it leaves the EU.

Would taxes change?

The UK would potentially have more flexibility over VAT rates. Other tax rates are set by national governments and have little to do with the EU.

There is the potential for tax avoidance to reach exceptionally high levels as the economy is gradually bought out by multinational companies. It could be hugely negative to the economy.

What would happen to Britons working in Europe, and EU citizens working in the UK?

Britain would gain full control of its borders and would be able to impose entry restrictions on EU citizens as well as those from outside the EU. Those already living in the UK would not be forced to leave and this would be the same for any Britons who are living or working in the EU.

It is hugely beneficial being an EU member as it means it is easy for British people to move around, living and working in other European countries without the need for visas or work permits. This is likely to change should Britain leave the European Union.

The Future of Murder, March 2016...

The circumstances in which serious violent crime now occurs are changing. Our inter-connectedness with one another and the growing use of social media is altering how, where and when these crimes take place.

So what is the future of murder?

Watch again
Missed it?
Watch the talk online

Professor David Wilson and Dr Elizabeth Yardley from the University’s Centre for Applied Criminology explored how murder might develop in the years to come at this event in March 2016.

Also joining the panel were author and Guardian columnist Erwin James who was convicted of murder, and Governor of HMP Grendon, Dr Jamie Bennett. Our panel of experts discussed how by reviewing past events, we can predict what murder might look like in the future. 

The expert panel

Professor David Wilson
Professor David Wilson

David is one of the UK’s leading criminologists, specialising in all aspects of prisons and imprisonment, murder and serial murder. He is a regular commentator to TV and radio, appearing regularly on 'This Morning', 'The Wright Stuff', BBC 5 Live and BBC Radio 4.

Dr Liz Yardley
Dr Elizabeth Yardley

As Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology, Elizabeth works within a specialist centre engaged in a diverse range of research endeavours in and around the criminal justice system. Her research interests include the representation of female serial killers and 'Facebook murder'.

Erwin James
Erwin James

Erwin James is a Guardian columnist and author. He has published two collections of essays: A Life Inside: A Prisoner’s Notebook and The Home Stretch: From Prison to Parole. Erwin is a trustee of the Prison Reform Trust and patron of a number of offender rehabilitation charities.

Jamie Bennett
Jamie Bennett

Jamie Bennett has worked in prisons since 1996 and held a number of senior positions. He is currently Governor of HMP Grendon and Springhill, editor of the Prison Service Journal and has published over 100 articles and reviews on topics including prisons and the media.

The Future of the Multi-Faith Society, October 2015...

A panel of leading experts joined together to talk about 'The Future of the Multi-Faith Society' in October last year.

The panel, held at Birmingham City University's Curzon Building, was put together to allow experts, students, and members of the community to discuss issues like extremism, counter-terrorism security, and overseas conflicts and the UK's involvement in them. There was also a focus on how the UK's famous cultural diversity can continue to grow, and what steps could be taken to make inter-faith relationships more harmonious.

These topics are often spotlighted in the news media, as they impact a wide area of the community at large. The wide-reaching nature of the topics was reflected in the attendees, who covered the entire religious and ethnic spectrum.  

The expert panel

Panel Chair: Professor Jon Yorke
Professor Jon Yorke

Jon Yorke is Professor of Human Rights in the School of Law.

He is a member of the advisory team on the death penalty to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

John is also a member of the FCO Pro Bono Lawyer's Panel.

The Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

A lBaroness Sayeeda Warsiawyer, businesswoman, campaigner and former cabinet minister, Sayeeda Warsi has had many roles, but she is best known for being the first Muslim to serve in British Cabinet and one of the foremost Muslim politicians in the Western world.

Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi

RRabbi Dr Margaret Jacobiabbi Margaret Jacobi has been the rabbi of Birmingham Progressive Synagogue since 1994. Rabbi Jacobi enjoys the diverse challenges and opportunities which congregational work offers, especially in amulti-cultural city in Birmingham. 

The Rt Reverend David Urquhart

BThe Rt Rev David Urquhartishop David is the Ninth Bishop of Birmingham, inaugurated at St. Phillip's Cathedral in November 2006. In addition to his duties as Bishop of Birmingham, he is the Archbishop of Canterbury's Link with China, a nd President of the Friends of IPASC (community health training) in DR Congo.

Professor Imran Awan

DImran Awan Smallr Imran Awan has held academic posts at the University of Glamorgan and Wolverhampton University.  He has taught on a variety of modules, such as international policing, policing cyber crime, terrorism theory and violent extremism and terrorism.  

Find out more about our courses