Christian socialists tackle passion and politics
God, politics and passion are the ìexplosiveî mix of a YMCA / Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) sponsored youth conference this weekend.
Amongt the questions that the conference will tackle is why young people marched in the streets over the Iraq war but were then significantly underrepresented in Mayís local elections.
16 year old Nadine Ngondi, one of the organisers of the day said;
"Young people should be seen and heard in party politics, not just in single issue campaigns. It was good to see young people protesting on the streets about Iraq but we also need to be in the council chambers and in the House of Commons working for solutions to the every day needs in society."
Jonny Baker of the Church Mission Society will help connect God and politics through worship. Political and campaigning activists taking part include Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North and PPS to Home Office Minister Beverly Hughes, Ruth Valerio of development education charity CRED and Beth Egan of the Social Market Foundation and Jonathan Bartley from the think-tank Ekklesia.
There will also be Action Groups on - tools for the political trade; local justice/global justice; fair trade and how to become an active citizen.
Beth Egan has campaigned for ìVotes at 16î as one way to engage more young people in politics. She illustrates a problem by pointing to Wayne Rooney, Everton and England's star striker who earns a high salary and pays high taxes. However unlike most taxpayers, Wayne has absolutely no influence over how his taxes are spent, because at only 17 he is too young to vote.
Beth say's, "If we are to engage a new generation of people in politics we must respect and encourage their involvement from the start, including that most basic of democratic actions, the right to vote".
"Passion and Politics can you have both?" is this Saturday 17th May 2003 at Westminster Central Hall, London.