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Time For a New Democracy?

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Time For A New Democracy

In partnership with Sheffield for Democracy

Time for a new democracy? At this event a panel of Sheffield-based speakers will reflect on the current state of democracy in the UK and locally. They will be asked to suggest what key changes are needed to deepen democracy, in particular so those in society who feel excluded can become more engaged and empowered.

The background to this debate is provided by some commentators who argue that democracy in this country, and more widely, is undergoing a crisis, whilst others claim democracy is evolving and responding to wider societal changes.

One of the main concerns about democracy in the UK comes from rising political apathy within society. Certainly, levels of voter turnout at elections remain low in some areas and groups of the population. Cynicism about politics and politicians is thought to be on the increase. These challenges are perceived to be evident amongst specific communities, and many young people appear to be becoming politically disengaged.

Sections of society appear to no longer give respect, authority or legitimacy to politicians. Has public trust and confidence in how we are governed declined, leading to reduced participation in politics? Even some recent constitutional changes have not made a radical difference in the eyes of the general public. If Britain faces a crisis in democracy, what is responsible and how should we respond? Do changes such as extending the use of proportional representation in elections, further devolution, or extending the franchise to 16-year olds offer opportunities for progressive change and a 'new democracy'?


Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central since 2010.

Shahida Saddique, CEO Faithstar LLP, Sheffield social enterprise, and an empowering voice for the voiceless.

Anesu (Ness) Matanda Mambingo, Welfare and Sustainability Officer, Sheffield Students’ Union, and attendee at the UN COP26 Conference in Glasgow.

Django Perks, Sheffield Youth Cabinet. The Youth Cabinet is made up of elected members from Sheffield Youth Council and Sheffield UK Youth Parliament.

Part of our 2022 festival strand


How can we reimagine citizenship and our democracy?