New Citizenship Project: Professor Paul Cartledge - 'We Are Graciously Permitted To Elect, Then We Have No Control'


What does People Power mean in the age of the internet? Do we need party politics? Can children run schools? How can people relate more constructively to global business?

On Friday 11 April, a group of expert witnesses will be taking part in a debate on the meaning of 21st Century People Power at the launch of the New Citizenship Project, a collaboration of thinkers, academics and activists dedicated to finding creative ways to involve people more actively in shaping the society we live in.

Professor Paul Cartledge believes it's very difficult for the powers within Westminster to respond to the voices without

Taking inspiration from the surroundings of St Mary's Church in Putney, where during the Civil War in 1649 the concept of representative democracy was first invented, this looks like being a thought-provoking, inspiring afternoon. Everyone is invited to attend but, in keeping with the project, it will be as 'Participants' and not 'Audience Members' that they walk through the door. Everyone's views are not just welcome, they are positively encouraged.

One of those speaking at the event is Paul Cartledge, First A.G. Levantis Professor of Greek Culture at Clare College, Cambridge. He is an expert in the deep history of democracy, from Athens to Aristotle and what has happened since. Ahead of the event on 11 April, he speaks to HuffPostUK:

What is your particular field of interest in this debate?

I'm a professional historian of ancient Greek history and culture and a specialist in ancient Greek democracy - or rather democracies (there were several varieties).

What is the single biggest problem with the current set-up of power?

There is a lack of responsibility. Every so often, we, the people, are graciously permitted to elect our 'representatives' - but once we have elected them, we have no direct control over them and they have no responsibility towards us the electors.

What do you hope to come out of the debate?

I'm keen for fresh perspectives on the practical possibilities for renewed grass-roots involvement in democratic politics, by all citizens but especially by the youngest generation of voters.

'The New Citizen Project' will be taking place on Friday 11 April in Putney. Full list of speakers here. The event is open to the public, who are encouraged to participate from the floor, and tickets are available now. Click here for tickets.

Fallen Soldier's Tribute

Random Acts Of Kindness

Before You Go