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Democracy Matters Newsletter May 2013

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MAY 2013

Can you celebrate an up-coming campaigner?
The 2013 SMK Campaigner Awards are a fantastic way to support emerging campaigners who could do with recognition and support for their campaign. Nominations are now open: Apply now or nominate someone by 1pm Monday 10th June – see award categories
New Members
Welcome to ROTA (Race on the Agenda) and Shout Out UK who joined this month.
Hot Topic: climate chaos is coming
The biggest news this month is that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere rose above 400 parts per million (ppmv) for the first time in about 4.5 million years – 70% up from 280 ppmv at the start of the industrial era. Last time sea level was between five and forty metres higher and the Artic was ice free (see What does 400 ppm look like? ). Global temperature is likely to rise by 3-5C, putting humanity in great danger.
Understanding the risks and how to reduce them is probably the most urgent task in education and politics today. There are many campaigns and sources of information on this issue: if you care about the future it is worth getting to grips with it.Here are a few places to start with:

Confronting the Climate Crisis Conference on Sat June 8th 11.00-17.00 at London Metropolitan University, Stapleton House, 277 Holloway Road, N7 8HN – *** REGISTER
HERE! ***
Campaign at universities for a low-carbon education sector that cuts carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2020. Find out more here
The Global Call for Climate Action is an alliance of over 400 organisations campaign on climate change: find out who is doing what here: climate campaigns list.For the case against action on climate change, see the Global Warming Policy Foundation, led by Lord Nigel Lawson, or other sceptics listed here.
Raise the debate on Europe
UKIP’s success in this month’s county council elections will have a bigger impact on politics in Britain, although less than 8% of people eligible to vote supported them. This is a powerful example of the “law of the few” in politics.The really big story about the elections was that 70% of people who could didn’t: democracy didn’t seem to matter for them. Most people don’t know or care enough to vote, still less stand for election. Local government spends a quarter of all public money, runs many vital services and shapes where we live. Assertive local government could demand greater powers over services or income from local taxes – as Boris Johnson demands for London. We don’t value our ability to run for election and to vote for representative government. Flawed as our system is, we can campaign to change it without fear of being shot or kidnapped: over 100 people were killed in political violence in Pakistan’s elections this month, as in Kenya and many other countries, and in many other countries people can’t even vote for their rulers.There will be more important elections in the next few years – for the EU Parliament, local councils and Scottish independence next year, then a general election in 2015. If we care about our future we should be debating, deciding and organising for what we want from those polls – for the economy, employment, environment, Europe, health and other public services.Democracy Matters is holding a forum with the EU Parliament Information office on


Why should people care about elections to the EU Parliament in May 2014?
What can civil society and education do to help people know what the elections are about?

This Democracy Forum is being run with the European Parliament Information Office to discuss the issues and find out what resources are available for education about the EU. Speakers to be confirmed, including: an MEP, educator and others.
Wed, July 10, 2013 from 5 to 6:30 pm at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, SW1P 3EU London (view map)

Share this event:


Volunteering with Democracy Matters
If you can help develop Democracy Matters, we are holding a volunteer briefing on 3 June from 11 – 1pm in London: to find out more, please email

Welcome to Lobbi

Lobbi is developing a new platform to promote digital democracy and better real-time engagement between the elected and the electorate: to find out more, introduce yourself on Twitter or sign up to be the first to try the new platform: Keep me updated

Campaign Bootcamp
16th to 21st June Campaign Bootcamp is a five day residential course for young people (age 18 to 28) who want to run more effective campaigns, with a focus on using the internet. Cost £200 includes food, lodging and 5 days training, with some scholarship places available. See


The European Union: What’s it all about? – University of Exeter
17th May (FREE)
A one day Professional Development Event for Teachers.
Delegates are able to claim a contribution towards travel expenses (subject to terms and conditions). Register now.

Women transforming politics: take part in electoral politics
22nd May
4.15 – 6.30 pm
Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) networking event

see booking details.

Educating the Nation(s): The Politics of History, Education & Identity in the UK
6th July
This conference at the University of Huddersfield will bring together politicians, policy-makers, educationalists, academics from a range of disciplines, and other interested parties to present and discuss multi-disciplinary research concerning the politics of history, education and identity in the UK. Call for Papers.

Opening Up Lobbying in Parliament with Unlock Democracy
17th June
6.15 – 8 pm
House of Commons Committee Room 10

Jon Trickett, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
Tamasin Cave, Spinwatch and member of Alliance for Lobbying Transparency
Peter Facey, Director of Unlock Democracy
Twitter it: #OpenUpLobbying

Re-launching Citizenship in Schools
9th July
The ACT conference is a great day for citizenship teachers and education professionals. Our keynote speaker will be David Blunkett MP, political founder of Citizenship Education and a key ally in maintaining the status of the Citizenship in the new curriculum: Book your place now.

ACT members get discounts: become a member here.

UK Youth Parliament:
Run by young people, the UK Youth Parliament gives 11-18 year-olds a voice to bring about change: enter your postcode to find local activities and representatives and get involved.

Civic Day:
22 June
Annual Civic Society day of events to celebrate where people live: download booklet,’101 Civic Ideas’ for inspiration here.

Women and Democracy: 15 – 23 Nov 2013:

It’s not too early to start planning how you want to make the most of Parliament Week!

Visit our fabulous new website:

Democracy Matters can support our members and people getting involved in politics in many ways:

  • Use the Democracy Diary to find opportunities to influence decisions and events by members, post your events at and subscribe to get events into your calendar.
  • Use the Democracy Café to share links, images, videos, and other rich content from the web, discuss issues and campaigns you are involved in.
  • Campaign Clinic lets you post questions about things you want to address, so that we can learn from each other.
  • Join the community to connect with people, use forums and strengthen democracy.

To search websites of over 30 national organisations, simply use “search our members’ websites” on the top right of the home page.

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


may be copied, adapted & used with attribution for non-commercial purposes, with acknowledgement to Democracy Matters


Democracy Matters is an informal alliance for learning practical politics which grew out of nine regional events involving over 600 people. Download Campaigning is OK!

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