Does disengagement and disaffection from politics pose a threat to the health of democracy and the legitimacy of elected government? Only one third of people think that the system of governing in Britain works ‘extremely’ or ‘mainly’ well. In the 2010 UK general election more than one-third of those eligible to vote stayed away. Among young people (18-24 years) over half (56%) did not vote.
Yet in the Scottish referendum turnout was 85%, and the passion shown by young people was a notable feature of the campaign. Perhaps this shows that politics can be different? There is plenty of evidence that young people are interested in political issues and, though disillusioned with electoral politics, willing to engage in politics in other ways. How can politics be changed to harness young people’s ideas and energy?
At this event students will have an opportunity to:
• Learn about research on political participation and ideas for reform
• Think about and present their own ideas for changing politics
• Engage in a dialogue with a panel of local politicians about making politics work for them
10.00 – 10.30 Arrival / Welcome
10.30–11.30 Setting the scene on youth citizenship and political engagement Andy Mycock (Youth Citizenship Commission)
Alexandra Runswick (Unlock Democracy)
11.30–13.00 Workshops / lunch – Students work in groups on three proposals for changing politics to promote engagement
13.00 –14.00 Student presentations – Students present their 3 proposals for change
14.00–15.00 Panel + Q&A Tim Goodall (Green Party, PPC for Leeds North-West), Cllr Stewart Golton (Liberal Democrat – Rothwell), Cllr Alice Smart (Labour – Armley)