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Democracy Matters Action Update May 2015

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In this month’s news we’ve got details of Magna Carta anniversary events,  plus information on a project about constitutional reform with the Crick Centre, campaign training and responses from party leaders to Democracy Matters. Do spread the word to people who can benefit from these events.

1. Help people decide who to vote for
Ten million people (40%) had not decided how to vote by the end of April, according to ComRes. Who forms a government could be decided by a few thousand undecided voters in a handful of marginal seats.

In a marginal seat your vote is worth two to three times more than average voters: the Voter Power Index tells people how much influence they have.

To help people find out which party matches their views, you can put a link to Vote Match on your website or in newsletter. Contact Unlock Democracy by email or call 020 7278 4443

There are about 18 voter advice apps, including Bite the Ballot’s Verto: see list at mysociety. Do try them our and see which suits you best. I’ve tried a few and have not found one better than Vote Match. People can also check their candidates at

Democratic Dashboard is a great way for people to find out everything they need to know about their local area for the General Election: maps, graphs, stats, including an index of inequality.

2. Responses from party leaders
In March I wrote to seven party leaders about what they will do to restore trust understanding in politics and have had replies from four:

David Cameron showed his support for practical political education

Ed Miliband promised votes at 16 and better political education

Nicola Sturgeon wants to repair UK’s “broken political system”

Nigel Farage supports teaching democracy in schools, which was a surprise.

I want to follow this up with party leaders after the election and press for a commission on learning for democracy.

3. Constitutional knowledge exchange
The Crick Centre for Understanding Politics is organising a knowledge exchange with young people about democratic and constitutional change. Shout Out will produce short films and Democracy Matters will organise interactive meetings to share research findings about issues young people care about. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.

4. Unlock the Magna Carta
What we need to protect rights and freedoms in future? Join the debate, organised by Unlock Democracy:

  • Edinburgh event is 12th May: 7:00pm 9:00pm St John’s Community Hall
  • Liverpool – 23rd May
  • Lichfield – 28th May
  • Cambridge – 6th June – Democracy for a Digital Future: 10:30am  –  5:30pm
  • Sheffield – 11th June
  • Bristol – 13/14th June
  • Edinburgh – probably sometime in May
  • London final event – 15th June

The final event will create a ‘people’s magna Carta’.  For details or to help contact Francis Foley by email or by phone: 020 7278 4443.

5. Making sense of Magna Carta for Citizenship Education
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, Legacy

5 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: Law, Liberty, Legacy Exhibition at the British Library

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

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

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 runs campaign training workshops in central 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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