politics

This topical issue will be debated with Tom Rubens – an advocate of a mainly socialist economy – battling for the motion, and Tim Bale – a high profile Professor of Politics – arguing against it.

Democracy in the 21st Century

Speaker Derek Bates will argue that we should be able to properly engage with our elected representatives using modern communication and internet technology, have a “live” influence on our futures and express our opinions – effectively crowd-sourcing innovative policy and direction.

Charles Bradlaugh MP

Charles Bradlaugh, “Atheist, Republican and Malthusian”, was a maverick figure in late nineteenth-century radical politics. Bradlaugh needs to be remembered, not just for standing trial under the Obscene Publications Act in 1877 with Mrs Annie Besant for publishing a birth control pamphlet, but for the six-year battle he fought to take his seat as M.P. for Northampton. Extraordinarily Bradlaugh won his parliamentary seat in 1880 as a Liberal, yet it was Gladstone’s Liberal government which kept him out for the entire parliament. A bit of historical skulduggery with lessons for today.

Charles Bradlaugh MP

Charles Bradlaugh, “Atheist, Republican and Malthusian”, was a maverick figure in late nineteenth-century radical politics. Bradlaugh needs to be remembered, not just for standing trial under the Obscene Publications Act in 1877 with Mrs Annie Besant for publishing a birth control pamphlet, but for the six-year battle he fought to take his seat as M.P. for Northampton. Extraordinarily Bradlaugh won his parliamentary seat in 1880 as a Liberal, yet it was Gladstone’s Liberal government which kept him out for the entire parliament. A bit of historical skulduggery with lessons for today.

Gandhi

What is the meaning of non-violence as a form of political action and how does it work? Using Gandhi’s teachings as inspiration, Dr Shahrar Ali will characterise and assess what is as much of a legitimate question of our times as it was in his day. He will also explore the question of whether violence can coexist with nonviolence as part of an all-embracing account of political action.

Hierarchy and the Political Economy

Inequality, oppression, corruption, war and the destruction of nature are products of the Political Economy shaped to benefit the Structural Elite, and rooted in the hierarchical structure of society.

In this presentation, Clive Menzies will present a penetrating analysis of this interpretation of the undoubted present woes in today’s society and will argue from an apolitical standpoint that salvation lies in the dissolution of hierarchy. The challenge is how?

Prateek Buch

After telling us a little about Sense about Science, speaker Prateek Buch will focus on how asking for evidence can increase public pressure on politicians to use evidence effectively and transparently. This is particularly apt now that the general election is over. Prateek will draw on topical examples, celebrating where it’s done well (MPs changing their minds, policy trials in areas like education); exposing where evidence is abused (drugs policy, welfare and crime); and sharing insights into the complexity and uncertainty at the heart of how evidence should inform policymaking in the public interest. He will also explore how the public asking for evidence fits with other evidence-related initiatives from Sense About Science’s partner organisations at election time and otherwise – fact checking, improving the supply of evidence and so on.

General Elections: Manufacturing Consent

In this talk, Graham Bell will look at the schema that Walter Lippmann developed in the 1920s for conducting national elections and his justification of it. To what extent do his prescriptions reflect current General Elections in the UK?

Alex Stein

Alexandra Stein will discuss cults and brainwashing, focusing on the leadership, structure, ideologies and processes involved. These attributes are common to a variety of dangerous relationships, from one-on-one cults to extremist political groups. There is an urgent need to teach young people about these phenomena at all levels of education. This talk will include suggestions about creating a culture of awareness in order to prevent recruitment to these systems and to increase accountability of the abuses that occur within them.

Election Soapbox

The election will have passed and a government may be in place. In any event, on this day it is a chance for you to have your say.

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