10. Democracy and liberty
To listen to a recording of the Democracy and liberty session click here (to download it as an MP3 file, right click on this link and choose to save or download it)
Read a partial transcript of the session.
11.45 – 13.00
Democracy originated as a champion of liberty for ordinary people against oppression, but it seems to have lost its way. The systematic erosion of rights and freedoms in recent years has occurred alongside a steady decline in political participation – both point to a crisis in our democratic institutions. But is it a crisis specific to Britain’s antiquated and over-centralised state or a failure of representative democracy more broadly? Should we remember Aristotle, who stated that electoral representation is not a form of democracy, but of oligarchy?The Power Inquiry showed why citizens must claim an active role in the political process if our democracy is to possess any kind of legitimacy and trust. But is it also the case, as republicans from Machiavelli onwards have suggested, that we can only truly protect our freedom through an active and assertive citizenship? If we understand ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ in a truer way, could we begin to recover our liberties, our self-reliance both individual and national, and our squandered sense of self-esteem? How could “true” democracy be incorporated in our existing institutions – in other words, drain the bath, but keep the baby we already have? These are some of the questions we hope this panel will answer.
|Chair:||Pam Giddy (former director, Power Inquiry)|
|Speakers:||Gerard Batten MEP (UKIP spokesman on Security & Defence)|
|Oliver Dowlen (Author)|
|Neil Jameson (Executive Director, The Citizen Organising Foundation; Lead Organiser, London Citizens)|
|Jean Lambert MEP (Green Party MEP for London)|
|Ivo Mosley (Imprint Academic)|