events archive

The Battle for Politics

9:30am, Saturday 20 March 2010, Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, London WC1N 2AB

The 2010 general election campaign may not be the most inspiring even in recent memory, but that is no reason to leave it to the politicians and party machines to set the agenda for our political future. The experience of the young and dynamic ‘Obama movement’, which elected America’s first ever black president in 2008, suggests it’s still possible to win enthusiasm for political causes, though the subsequent dampening of that movement once President Obama took office indicates that sheer enthusiasm is not enough to transform politics.

We don’t have to wait for a Messiah, or to abandon hope of political change. The election is an opportunity for us as the public to discuss and debate our own interests and priorities, and to begin to formulate a meaningful agenda for ourselves. By challenging prospective candidates to state their positions on the questions that matter to us, we can at least ensure that the election is not monopolised by issues dreamt up in focus groups with a view to tipping the electoral balance one way or the other in a few key marginal constituencies. Instead, we can gatecrash the party and insist on a serious public debate about the questions that are sidelined or obscured by the mainstream parties.

Sessions include:

Vote for what?
The welfare state: grasping the nettle
Immigration: the elephant in the room
They know what we’re thinking?
Evidence-based policy
The new class war?
A new agenda