Celebrating the life of the late James Gibb Stuart
September saw the ending of a life fully lived: James Gibb Stuart will be missed by many – especially those who attended the yearly Bromsgrove gatherings, for which he was responsible, at Barnes Close. Alistair McConnachie, described him as one of Britain’s pioneering money reformers.
The writer shared a love of India with him. As a young man in the RAF he was stationed there. I remember him saying that he had once cycled nearly 74 miles from Poona to Bombay and there he used to meet Parsi friends, the Engineer brothers – ‘ace’ pilots – at a favourite rendezvous, the Cricket Club of India (above) in the city now called Mumbai.
In his later years, having heard that his good friend and colleague, Sabine McNeill, was carried in her mother’s arms as they fled burning Dresden, he said he was so thankful that he had not been on that mission.
The Economics of the Green Renaissance – well ahead of its time – was my second favourite book by James and in view of Scotland’s forthcoming independence referendum, my third favourite, Scotland and its Money, could be read in a new light . . . My prime favourite is Fantopia. Since it was published, parliamentary bills, signed by MPs from six parties, had advocated a return to former levels of government-issued money to be used for public works instead of borrowing from banks at high interest. A sequel incorporated news of similar parliamentary action in Fantopia.
The introduction by MP Austin Mitchell follows:
Fantopia is a fantasy land – like Lilliput in that the people are small but the central character big, though it’s not Gulliver we encounter, but the constantly growing debt burden. Yet the fantasy is also close to home. The language has a Scottish accent, but we all live in Fantopia, a land where the politicians don’t understand the problem, the economists keep quiet for fear of being thought eccentric, the bankers rule – not OK – and personally I feel like the Antiquarian, struggling to understand.
Monetary reformers will welcome this fantasy because it exposes a reality. The people’s credit has been stolen and turned into credit cards and overdrafts, benefiting the bankers but crushing the real and original owners under a debt mountain.
Whether we live in Fantopia, Scotland or elsewhere, we’re all bamboozled by bankers. They’ve found an infallible way of robbing all of us of the seigniorage that belongs to the People and of the power of the People’s credit. In return they’ve shackled us with chains of debt.
The power of the people’s credit should be used to ensure that whatever is socially desirable and physically possible is also financially possible, and the kind of understanding that James Gibb Stuart brings can help us to see this, and should dissipate the lack of self-confidence which has prevented us acting to take power from the merchants of debt. Enjoy your Fantopian holiday. But learn from it.
James was presented with a “Community Champion” Award by the UK Islamic Mission at its annual Conference in West Bromwich on the 17th July 2005.
‘No one gets out of this place alive’
Tributes sent by email included a humorous quotation from David Pidcock: “James was a really good and helpful person – sorry to see him go but as he used to say – ‘no one gets out of this place alive’ and his show must go on”. As a departing shot David sent a cartoon attachment ’Fireman Sam meets George Osborne’, but no link was found to this – though they both visited Busy Bees nurseries in several areas – at different times.
His daughter Marjorie is ensuring that his show ‘goes on’
She recently launched a new Stuart Titles Ltd website (www.stuarttitles.co.uk) from which her father’s books on monetary reform and Scottish history and culture will be sold. Fantopian Perspective and James’ most well-read book, The Money Bomb are now available in ebook format.
A more formal account of the life of James Gibb Stuart, ‘businessman, author, publisher and philanthropist’, was written by Robert McElroy and published on 7th October in the Glasgow Herald.