If Democracy Isn't Working, Why Vote?
Politics and politicians no longer inspire people as they once did. The General Election only encourages the parties to be even less radical or visionary than ever. When so many people are dissaffected from society, never mind its democratic processes, who is left to care about indifference?
The right to vote, hard won through history, assumes there is someone worth voting for. The exercise of one's vote once meant taking sides about the future, but now is a strategic decision about the lesser of evils. The technocratic, ideology-free tinkering with givens that passes for mainstream politics goes largely unchallenged.
Young people are assumed to be the least engaged with polictics and even with society in general. But who else will inhabit the future? Could the contempt young people apparently feel for Westminster and its parties one day produce new and exciting ideas?
Is politics still the way to change society? Can you have proper democracy when no-one cares? If society must change before politics can move on, what can possibly happen if people niether vote nor take any other action?
This event has been produced by youth organisation Brighton Left and
The Brighton Salon, and is chaired by
Sean Bell, secretary of The Brighton Salon. This event is free but voluntary donations to cover costs will asked for at the end.
The Friends' Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton, 7.30pm -9pm Wednesday April 22.
Ife Grillo, Vice Chair of the British Youth Council, Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, journalist
Tom Slater of spiked, Time Out and
The Independent and Abraham Baldry, University of Sussex Student Union President, will discuss the issues and take questions.
This event has been produced by
Thomas Soud, of the youth organisation
Brighton Left and The Brighton Salon, and is chaired by Sean Bell, secretary of
The Brighton Salon. This event is free but voluntary donations will asked for at the end.
Caroline Lucas MP
Caroline is a former leader of the Green Party as well as its first MP, representing Brighton Pavilion. She served as an MEP from 1999 until 2010 and as an Oxfordshire councillor previously.
She is Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fuel Poverty, as well as Vice Chair of the Animal Welfare, Public and Commercial Services, Sustainable Housing and CND All Party Parliamentary Groups. She is also a member of the Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee.
Caroline continues to be an active campaigner on a range of issues and has been voted the UK's most ethical politician in 2007, 2009 and 2010 by readers of the Observer. She is also in the Environment Agency’s Top 100 Eco-Heroes of all time.
Ife Grillo was elected Vice Chair Campaigns and Communications in Septepmber 2014, though he's been involved with the British Youth Council for a lot longer. In July 2014 he started an organisation called Complaint2Campaign which aims to teach young people about how they can take things that irritate them and turn them into sucessful campaigns. Debating forms a massive part of his life and he currently mentors for Debate Mate at a primary school. He served as vice-chair and chair of Hackney Youth Parliament before being elected MYP for Hackney in April 2013. He represented London as it's Debate Lead in the UK Youth Parliament House of Commons Sitting in 2014. Ife has been heavily involved in the Votes at 16 campaign both as a campaigner and organiser and is a strong supporter of the Vote Without Limits Campaign which looks into the restrictions there are for blind people who want to vote. He spends alot of his time campaigning with different organisations such as: Plan UK, Everyday Sexism, BeatBullying, NAT, Oxfam, Unicef, Young Hackney and the NHS. His favourite quote is "'The Philosophy of the School Room in one generation will be the Philosophy of Government in the next.
Tom Slater is assistant editor at the online magazine spiked. He also writes regularly about politics, the arts and pop culture for publications including The Spectator, the Independent, the Telegraph and Time Out.
This year, he coordinated the launch of the UK's first Free Speech University Rankings, a spiked project aimed at overturning censorship on British campuses.
Abraham Baldy is President of the University of Sussex Students' Union. He is about to start his second term, having been re-elected with one of the biggest majorities in the union's history, although why is anybody's guess.
When he was 14 he chaired a debate with the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, since then he's worked as a researcher for the Red Cross and has appeared on Sky News asking David Cameron about Britain's foreign policy. His writing has appeared in The Guardian and he is the founder of the UK Ethical Jobs Fair.