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Democracy Matters Action Update June 2015

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Things to look out for in this month’s bulletin:

  1. What does the new parliament mean? – event 9 June
  2. It’s Magna Carta anniversary – all month
  3. What’s wrong with politics? – Join the debate!
  4. National Citizenship Education Conference: 30 June
  5. Political education on the WEA Portal
  6. SMK Introduction to Campaigning workshops: 4 – 26 June
  7. ‘Train to Campaign courses: from 3 June

This month Shout Out UK did a flash poll with its 1,000+ young writers (16-25years old) to ask: What is the biggest reason why young people don’t engage in politics?  Over 60% said lack of political understanding (Education), closely behind was how MPs are perceived in the media (All MPs seem like crooks) and Westminster does not listen to us (E.g. Tuition fees) came third.

A call for political education also topped Plaid Cymru’s “Million Ideas” crowd sourcing platform (see blog post).

We will continue to make the case for political education with Government, education providers and community organisations. Please support us.

1. What does the new parliament mean?
Behind the pomp of the Queens speech is a tough political programme of 26 bills, a budget on 8 July and start of the EU referendum campaign.

To understand how Parliament works, there is a free public event on Tuesday 9 June 2015 at 2-4pm, chaired by Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel Four News, at The Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, SW1 P 3DW. Book via Eventbrite.  For more events find out about Parliament’s Outreach Service.

To understand how the Conservatives won the election, watch this masterclass by Lyndon Crosby, given to the Patchwork Foundation in 2013.

Political education can also about help people who want to challenge, change or improve things in the Government’s programme. My three tips for this are:

  1. Focus on one or two issues at most, and find allies
  2. Develop relationships across the political spectrum, particularly with Conservatives: work with relevant All-Party Groups, Committees and members of the House of Lords, as well as officials working on the issue
  3. Persist: follow what’s happening (subscribe to email alerts), pay attention to detail, and identify opportunities to present a better alternative or powerful evidence and memorable stories to influence the outcome.

Find all the election results on the Democratic Dashboard with interactive map and details of every constituency – people, graphs, stats, an index of inequality and the Voter Power Index.

Six of the main party leaders’ supported Democracy Matters’ call for political education and trust in politics: see response on my blog. We will continue to campaign for recognition and support for practical political education.


2.  Its Magna Carta anniversary month

The 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta is an opportunity to learn from the past, have lots of interesting conversations and organize for the future:

Unlock the Magna Carta

What we need to protect rights and freedoms in future?

Join the debate, organised by Unlock Democracy:

Cambridge – 6th June – Democracy for a Digital Future: 10:30am  –  5:30pm

Sheffield – 11th June with the Crick Centre to draft A People’s Charter

A Magna Carta for the EU? – 12th June 11am-3pm

London final event – 15th June, 6 – 8pm to create a ‘people’s magna Carta’.

For details of all events go to Unlock Magna Carta.

Making sense of Magna Carta for Citizenship Education – 5 June

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, will speak at ACT’s event for teachers on teaching big questions in law, politics, democracy and rights through Magna Carta and FREE entry to British Library’s exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy5th June 2015, 9.30-4pm British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London.

For more details and to book go to ACT events

Magna Carta Exhibition at the British Library – until 1 September

Visit the British Library exhibition before Tue 1 Sept: for details click here.

To book a Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy talk and exhibition for your group contact or call +44 (0)20 7412 7580.

Magna Carta Trust

For history, events and other information about the Magna Carta, visit the Magna Carta Trust site and explore.

3. What’s wrong with politics? – Join the debate

Democracy Matters is working with the Crick Centre for Political Understanding at Sheffield University on six events across the UK to explore the following questions:

  1. What is wrong with our political system?
  2. What works: examples of political participation in decision-making which works for people?
  3. What can be done to improve our political system?

The events will involve researchers on constitutional issues as part of an ESCR Knowledge Exchange programme. We particularly want to involve young people, but the events will be open to all ages. It will be an opportunity to influence the unfolding process of constitutional reform.

We are looking for partner organisations to host or take part in events. So far the WEA, Involve, LVSC, the Ragged University and a few others have agreed to take part. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.

Shout Out UK will produce short films on topics such as: Do we hate politics? Is the constitution collapsing? Why bother to vote? Life without the European Union? What works for wellbeing? What is the English question?

4. National Citizenship Education Conference

For Teachers & Education Professionals

Tuesday 30 June, London | 10.00-16.30

(Nearest stations: Vauxhall and Oval)

Book your place today!

The conference will focus on:

  1. Embedding assessment practice in Citizenship;
  2. Getting ready for Ofsted! How does Citizenship get you there?

Plus David Blunkett ‘in conversation’ with ex-Headteacher, Sir Keith Ajegbo, about his vision for citizenship education, and a reception.


5. Political education on the WEA Portal

The WEA has created on online education portal which includes resources for learning about politics, materials on how to set up a study circle and other topics


6. Introduction to campaigning workshops

The Sheila McKechnie Foundation ‘Introduction to Campaigning’ workshop equip people with the skills to bring about change at a local or national level:

  • 4 June Cambridge: Gonville place 95-97 Regent Street Cambridge CB2 1BQ
  • 9 June Portsmouth: Building 1000 Lakeside North Harbour Western Road Portsmouth PO6 3EN
  • 26 June Birmingham, Scotland Street, B1

To book your place, fill in a registration form and send it to

To find out more visit

7. ‘Train to Campaign’

Harmit Kambo’s workshops in London to help people make an impact:

  • 3 June: Campaigning essentials
  • 23 June: Perfect your campaign elevator pitch
  • 16 July: How to influence and lobby
  • 13 Oct: Using Freedom of information in your campaign
  • 17 Nov: How to get grant funding for your campaign
  • 26 Jan 2016: Developing a Theory of Change for your campaign

For more details go to

Spread the word 

Do pass this information to your networks, and send me news for next month.

Please pass on this information to your networks, acknowledging Democracy Matters, and let me know what you’re doing.

Best wishes,

Titus Alexander


Democracy Matters

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