A Notwestminster 2018 workshop from Ed Hammond
How can we find the answers to the biggest challenges we face – locally and nationally – if we can’t agree on how we describe these challenges? Professionals and the public, and politicians of different parties, increasingly speak different languages.
This workshop is about how the words and phrases we use (to talk about our lives, our hopes, our aspirations for the future) influence our ability to have meaningful dialogue with those who might not agree with us, or have different life experiences.
As well as working on issues relating to local democracy as part of my day job, I’m also politically active, and I’m conscious that the same words and phrases can mean profoundly different things to different people (even “left wing” and “right wing”).
Politically weighted phrases and slogans can also be used in contradictory ways to describe the same thing (“bedroom tax” vs “spare room subsidy”, for example).
If language influences the way we think as much as the way we argue, what does this mean for our ability to engage in argument and debate in our own communities?
Please come along to share your personal reflections on how this has influenced the conversations we have in our daily lives (including the use of professional jargon), and agree on some practical ways that we can use language to communicate more meaningfully – rather than seeing it as a barrier.
How to get involved
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About the workshop host
Centre for Public Scrutiny
Ed leads on the Centre for Public Scrutiny’s work around local accountability. His work has a particular focus on corporate governance within local authorities, but he has also carried out extensive research on policing and community safety, having produced national guidance for the operation of Police and Crime Panels in 2011 and 2012, and research on their first year in operation in 2014. He is currently leading on CfPS’s work on English devolution, alongside work on local authority governance change (including changes to schemes of delegation, rules of procedure and other constitutional amendments), transparency and Freedom of Information, and overview and scrutiny.
We are Generation D
Strengthening our local democracy is something that we can only do together. Democracy needs to work better for everyone, all the time, win or lose. We think that the stronger local democracy we all want and deserve could be just around the corner. And we don’t need a tardis to get there. We just need each other.
The future of local democracy starts with us. So let’s talk about our democratic generation. Let’s talk about our regeneration.
But let’s not stop at the talking.