i Editor's Letter: Our second iStudents debate


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The Independent Online


A generation of young people are right to give up on Westminster politics. Agree? Disagree? It’s the spiky title of our second iStudents debate, following the successful trip to Cardiff a month ago.

This time the i team will be in Manchester. Our venue is Manchester Town Hall, the Neo-Gothic edifice that looms over Albert Square and seats 500. Kick-off is 6pm on Tuesday 11 March. Tickets are free and available to any undergraduates at UK universities or to full-time FE students, via ind.pn/imanchesterdebate, where you  can submit questions for our panel. If  you don’t qualify – and sadly I find myself somewhat past the cut-off –  perhaps you know someone who does.

Our panelists this time are  columnist Owen Jones, i news editor Fran Yeoman, the Editor of The Independent, Amol Rajan, and our critic Ellen E Jones. We hope for a fiery debate and contributions from the floor, and afterwards there’ll be the chance to meet members of the i staff.

The position in favour of the motion could be distilled, cynically, as  “Don’t vote, it only encourages them” – with an uplifting message about the  myriad other means of involving one- self in society. The opposition will no doubt deploy the truism “If you don’t vote, you don’t count”. Not to mention that British history has been written in the blood of those who have  died for its democratic freedoms.

Manchester Central had the lowest  turn-out at the 2010 general election (44.3%), and the 18.6% turn-out in its November 2012 by-election was the lowest anywhere in the UK since the middle of the Second World War.

Clearly there is a despair at what passes for politics in Westminster, but at i we don’t accept that young people – or indeed the people – are indifferent to politics. Your  correspondence, indeed, your reading this paper, suggest otherwise.


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