“My question is: where can political events be posted, for the population at large to benefit from listening to all views within the range of political debate? I really would appreciate your advice on this. Surely it is up to the attendees to make up their minds, and not have it made up for them in advance by being denied access to the information and arguments?”
Our speaker was a very prominent MP from 1997 till 2019, he was the Attorney General from 2010–14 of the then Government, and Chair of the Security and Intelligence committee in Parliament from 2015–19. He is a King’s Counsel, KC. Why is he denied a forum to express his views?
We have also in attendance at the event Gavin Esler, former BBC2 Newsnight Presenter, and Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, Cross Bencher in the House of Lords at present. Why is the population denied access to politicians of such standing?
We also have some school pupils with their teacher from a local school attending. Pupils will be attending, but adults are denied the opportunity?
I find it very frustrating when told political events “do not get posted on our site”. I would in fact question this grassroots and organisational reluctance to go anywhere near anything political.
Politics is about the community and the way in which our local community is organised, through to regional, national and the international. To be aware of such basic matters as to how we as a group of people organise our ‘political’ life, is surely the sign of a mature democracy. But, as we have seen in recent times, it seems that Britain is far from a ‘mature’ democracy, in which a healthy, balanced debate can take place.
Other lands, other customs
As an example, a curriculum from one EU country begins at a very young age of teaching and experiencing about living together with our fellow citizens and within our community. This develops right through to the A Level age equivalent, in dealing with the more complex issues that can arise within a people and its communities. I believe that is a mature approach to the issue of politics.
By comparison, in the UK the citizenship curriculum at key stages 3 and 4 is compulsory in maintained schools (that is, those still under local authority control) but not in academy schools. 80% of secondary school students now are in academies, so they do not have to do the citizenship curriculum. The PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) curriculum which operates in almost all schools, although it touches on the law (especially with regard to drugs) does not really educate the teenager in how to participate in democratic processes.
In Britain it is virtually a taboo to ‘talk about politics’; the consequence is that the population remain ignorant of many aspects of how a country should be organised, which in turn lends itself to exploitation by extremist tendencies. It means fake news can be proliferated; it means people are ignorant of the true structures of a democracy and it means politicians can hood wink the unknowing electorate.
Chris wrote this in frustration when a prominent local organisation with over 8,000 followers refused to publicise the forthcoming event with Dominic Grieve as the main speaker (see upcoming events for details). A school also declined to pass on the notice on the grounds that it is ‘political’.
Readers should be aware that there is a difference between meetings that are organised by registered political parties and those which are organised by other bodies which may be about social or political affairs. Because of the local elections scheduled for May, we are about to enter the pre-election period when there are strict financial controls on publicity by registered political parties.
Note the European Movement, and its affiliates like East Kent for Europe, have always been ‘all-party’ as stated in its founding constitution of 1948.
As we publish this article we are pleased to announce that the organisation which objected to inclusion of Chris’ advertisement has now accepted it, sanitised of all content which might be deemed to be political.