cover-engaging-citizensWhy engage young people in democratic action?

[click on book cover to access full text]

In 1950, 84% of the electorate turned out to vote but only 65% did so in 2010. A survey of first-time voters carried out for Radio 1, just before the last election, reported that 30% did not believe their vote would count and 20% felt they did not know enough about politics to make a decision. Despite these comments, however, more than half claimed they would vote if they could do so online or using text messaging. And, from the 15.5 million votes cast during the last series of the X Factor, we know young people like voting.

So can politics be revitalised simply by installing better voting technology? My answer is ‘yes’ if politics is defined as – and limited to – voting for a government every five or so years but ‘no’ if it lives up to its true mission. Politics is about ‘people power’ and must surely encompass groups of citizens taking collective decisions on behalf of their society based on justice, equality, fairness, safety, sustainability and the need for cohesion.

Professor Peter Mortimore OBE, Director of the Institute of Education (1994-2000) Spring 2011

A few blogs…

1. One idea to lift the profession into action

2. Politics is  about making a mountain out of a molehill

3. Life’s too short to be waiting for Superman or Wonder Woman?

4. When actions speak louder than words

5. If I am not for myself, who am I? When I am only for myself, what am I?

6. Let’s make readers into leaders

7. Let’s not ask of others what we should ask of ourselves

8. To stay or not to stay within our comfort zones

9. Politics is about winning

Methodology (rooted in broad-based community organising)

Citizens UK – see website

Tools: Organizers’ Handbook

Slightly longer readings:

Rules for Radicals, by Saul Alinski

Going Public, by Mike Gecan

Mark Warren’s work: see here