Sheffield will host the launch of a new democratic project to ‘open up’ the EU referendum next week, as campaigners seek to move the referendum debate ‘away from personalities and to policies instead’.
The event, ‘A Better Referendum – The Big EU Debate’, which will be held at St Mary’s Church & Conference Centre on Monday 23rd May – exactly a month before the referendum – will be an open launch bringing together dozens of people from across Sheffield to discuss the issues of the EU referendum debate – with campaigners from both sides and academics giving the full facts and opinion.
It will be the inaugural launch of a new online democratic tool to bring the debate into local communities, ‘Better Referendum’ – as part of a project coordinated by leading universities including the University of Sheffield, and the Electoral Reform Society.
The online tool allows people to organise EU debate ‘meet-ups’ to go through the course and get both sides of the arguments – from experts and campaigners.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:
We’re proud to be launching our national campaign for a ‘Better Referendum’ in Sheffield. This event – the first of its kind – is a chance to hear all the arguments from both sides, from experts and citizens, and to discuss them in an open and innovative forum.
The EU referendum debate has so been focused far too much on the personalities and internal party spats, rather than the real issues that affect people in Sheffield and across the country.
It doesn’t have to be like this – we can have a vibrant and lively EU referendum debate, looking at the real issues: from health and education to the economy and immigration.
There’ll be great conversations, great free food, videos, votes, and short pitches from the main campaigns, so that people in Sheffield will have a chance to hear the arguments and have your say in an engaging environment.
We can cut through the spin and have a grassroots referendum debate that we deserve. Let’s have a Better Referendum.
Professor Matthew Flinders, Professor of Politics and Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre at the University of Sheffield, said:
This is a great opportunity to come and learn about the implications of the referendum in a friendly environment. With experts, videos and lots of opportunities to ask questions about a range of policy areas, this is a fantastic chance for people in Sheffield to engage with the EU debate.