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Democracy Matters Update Jan 2015

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Education for practical politics and people power

My wish for 2015 is that we create the kind of political debate about the future of Britain as in Scotland last summer. That was about the kind of country people want to live in, not constitutional abstractions, and it changed the country, but England and Wales have not been part of it. The long campaign for a general election on 7 May is the perfect opportunity to make it happen. Anyone can get the debate going by creating opportunities for people to discuss and learn about issues that matter, not just the agenda chosen by the Party planners. People can be challenged about difficult problems like domestic violence, sex abuse, poverty, climate change, war and peace, as well as public spending priorities, the NHS and immigration. This newsletter includes items on:

  • Consultation about a “A new Magna Carta” extended to Monday 12 Jan;
  • National Voter Registration Day on 5 February
  • SMK’s Campaigning’ workshops in Leeds, Wales and Birmingham
  • Courses on teaching ‘British values’, citizenship and global issues in schools
  • NHS Guide on ‘Participation to address inequalities’
  • Radio 4 on ‘Can Democracy Work?’
  • Commission on ‘Learning for Democracy’

Please get in touch with comments or items for the next newsletter. What kind of constitution do we need? The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s consultation has been extended to Monday 12 January. The Consultation includes

  1. a competition to write a Preamble for a future UK constitution
  2. a few minutes to complete a short survey
  3. Submit evidenceon three models for a codified constitution. All three models would make the powers and functions of the state clearer, more open and accessible than at present. However, none of the proposals would help people understand these powers or how to use them. I have suggested that the Committee should encourage the Speaker to conduct an inquiry into ‘learning for democracy’ so that all citizens can have an effective voice.
  4. You can also respond by taking Unlock Democracy’s constitution survey

Unlock the Magna Carta

Have you done the Unlock Magna Carta quiz yet? Could you help with one of 12 events about what we need to protect rights and freedoms in future, planned for Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Croydon, Durham, Edinburgh, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham and possibly the North East. Contact Francis Foley by email or by phone: 020 7278 4443 to get involved

National Voter Registration Day is 5 February!

Millions of people missing from the electoral register. Bite the Ballot needs your help to add more than 250,000 people to the electoral register from 2-8 February. To help make an impact, please:

  1. Promote #NVRD across your social networks
  2. Visit and download resources to promote registration
  3. Share the #TakePower video on social media:
  4. Tell what events you’re running in February
  5. Reach out to your networks and ask them to do these same five actions!

Introduction to campaigning workshops

The next ‘Introduction to Campaigning’ workshop by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation are:

  • ·        In Leeds on Thursday 29th January 2015, 10.45am – 6.00pm.·        Thursday 19th March in WCVA Morfa Hall, Bath Street, Rhyl, Wales, LL18
    ·        Tuesday 28th April in Scotland Street, Birmingham, B1Participants will be at a basic level or about to get started. To find out more visit

    ‘British values’, SMSC & Citizenship Education

    Email Deepa Shah for information on this half-day course for teachers this Spring

    Foreign affairs: citizens, money and global learning in Key Stage 3 and 4 CitizenshipA CPD day on 12 February 2015

    Citizen participation in the NHS

    The next NHS England “Design Days” on participation and accountability are on 29 and 30 January 2015 in London. For more information see NHS Citizen System. Join the conversation on Twitter at @NHSCitizen.  Any questions please email NHS Citizen

    ‘Can Democracy Work?’

    The BBC’s Nick Robinson ask if we want as much democracy as we have in three programmes on Tuesday 9am starting 13 Jan

    Commission on ‘Learning for Democracy’

    In our “Declaration for Democracy” we proposed a non-partisan Commission on Learning for Democracy to ask three questions:

    1.     What knowledge and abilities do people need to take part in politics effectively?

    2.     What is the current state of political knowledge and ability, and where do people get it?

    3.     By what means can political ability and understanding be developed, particularly for those who currently have least confidence and ability to take part in politics?

    The Commission would advise government and agencies which provide information, education and support for participation in politics, including schools, colleges, universities, community groups, local authorities, public service and public service media.

    Please get in touch if you are interested in getting a Commission off the ground.

    Spread the word

    Do pass this information to your networks.

    Titus Alexander Convener,

  • Democracy Matters
  • Democracy Matters is an informal alliance for learning practical politics Download Campaigning is OK! free report.


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