Getting under the skin of democracy
Rabbi Sacks and Bettany Hughes among speakers
Some of society’s top thinkers, researchers and academics came together at Middlesex University to discuss and get under the skin of democracy in today’s society.
Historian, author and broadcaster Bettany Hughes and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks were among the cast of speakers the University brought together to shine a light on what democracy is in 2015.
They were joined by leading experts including Councillor Dr Devra Kay, Harris Bokhari and members of The Patchwork Foundation, which promotes and encourages the positive integration of under-represented, deprived and minority communities into British political society.
Are religion and democracy compatible?: Rabbi Sacks
Speaking about whether religion is compatible with democracy and quoting Alexis de Tocqueville, Rabbi Sacks said: “Religion has no power at all but it has an enormous amount of influence, de Tocqueville wanted to work this out and he asked religious leaders, who said the reason we have influence is because we never get involved in politics, because politics is divisive so if we got involved in it we too would become divisive.”
The birth of democracy: Bettany Hughes
Bettany Hughes said: “Suddenly in Athens you have a space where farmers, and cheesemakers, and perfumers, and road sweepers, and generals all have the ability to stand with one another in the democratic assembly to not only vote together but decide on what they are voting.”
Engaging young people in democracy: Patchwork Foundation
Chidi Amadi, from Patchwork Foundation, said: “Government should have a role and responsibility to come towards young people in the sense of having the right policies to appeal to them and ensuring that they have a large body of voters that they need to encourage to vote for them.”
Temi Shogeloa, also from Patchwork Foundation, added: “Decisions that are made for them, affect them, and if you’re removed from that decision making process you have ultimately lost out on your chance to make a decision and bring about a longevity change.”
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