2017 Debates


Brexit – One Year On

When: 12.00 – 13.00 Friday, June 23rd
Where: Leftfield Tent, Glastonbury
Speakers: Angelica Udueni , Cat Boyd, Jamie MacColl, , Seb Dance MEP, John Harris (chair)

Exactly one year on from the Brexit vote, a lot has changed. Voter turnout for the Brexit vote was extraordinarily high and everyone seems to have their idea about what kind of Brexit they want. Come join the discussion on what’s gone on in the last year – from issues around devolution and Scottish Independence to the nitty gritty of what it’s been like for ‘Remain’ MEPs in Brussels. Come listen to how some people are making sure marginalised voices are at the forefront of the debate and what you can do to get involved.

Angelica Udueni campaigns and organises around a range of issues related to anti-racism, xenophobia and women’s rights. She is passionate about social justice and how migrant women and women of colour face a disproportionate risk of violence both in public and in private. Angelica studies full time and has been involved in various campaigns including Post Ref Racism which was set up in response to increase in overt hate crimes after the Brexit referendum, Sisters Uncut and Reclaim Holloway Prison.

Cat Boyd is a trade union activist and a co-founder of the Radical Independence Campaign. Cat became active in politics during the anti-war movement against the invasion of Iraq, as did other founding members of Radical Independence. Cat is the author of “Scottish Independence: A Feminist Response” and regularly writes for national press. Cat sees Scottish independence as a revolt against the failure of Britain and the alienation it has created politically, economically and socially. She is a signatory to the Scottish Left Project which is working towards a new electoral alliance for 2016. She was active as a rep at a UK level within the Public and Commercial Services Union for five years and helped to build young workers’ participation in major days of industrial action. She is a member of Unite the Union and sits on the board of the Scottish Left Review. @kittycatboyd

Jamie MacColl is the guitarist in Bombay Bicycle Club, whose last album went to number one in the UK charts in 2014. While the band has been on hiatus since 2016 he has been studying part-time and working as an activist: co-founding the campaigning group UnDivided, which is committed to ensuring young people’s interests are represented in the Brexit negotiations. @jamiemaccoll

Seb Dance MEP is a British Member of the European Parliament for the London region following his election in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections. He is a Member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and is coordinator for the S&D Group in the Parliament’s inquiry committee into the dieselgate scandal. Prior to entering the European Parliament, Seb led various campaigns for ActionAid UK, an international development charity, focusing primarily on fighting poverty and tax avoidance by multi-national companies. He also worked as an advisor to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland between 2007 and 2009, during which time the final parts of devolution as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement – policing and criminal justice powers – were being delivered by the UK Labour Government. @SebDance

Can Culture Save Us?

When: 13.30 – 14.30 Friday, June 23rd
Where: Leftfield Tent, Glastonbury
Speakers: Ava Vidal, Daniel Rachel, Mel Evans, John Harris (chair)

In a world where Donald Trump is President and people’s faith in politics is abysmally low, we ask the question – ‘Can culture save us?’ Join comedians, musician/author and activists talk about how they are making real word change outside Party politics. Join us for a lively (and funny!) discussion on: can music, art and comedy sooth the soul and the issues we face like climate change and inequality?

Ava Vidal is a comedian, journalist and activist. Ava has become a regular presence on television since she turned heads as the BBC New Comedy Awards’ only female finalist in the very first year of her career. She has appeared on Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Comedy Central’s The World Stands Up, Edinburgh and Beyond and C4 reality show Kings of Comedy. Ava became a mother at 18, and spent five years as a prison guard at Pentonville. A chance viewing of a Chris Rock routine inspired her to pursue a career in comedy, and she quickly became a fixture of the stand-up circuit. As a commentator, Ava has contributed to The Wright Stuff, Daybreak, ITN News and BBC World Have Your Say. She has written for The Independent and The Guardian, and has used racist abuse directed at her as fuel for her acclaimed solo stand-up show. @thetwerkinggirl

Daniel Rachel is a musician turned award-winning author. He was the lead-singer in Rachels Basement and released two solo albums A Simple Twist of Folk and A Taste of Money. Daniel is the author of Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters (a Guardian and NME Book of the Year) and Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge (Penderyn Music Book of the Year) He is a regular guest contributor on BBC Radio 5. @DanielRachel69

Mel Evans is an artist and campaigner part of Liberate Tate. After six years making unsanctioned live art interventions in Tate galleries – which included live tattooing, assembling a 16.5 metre long wind turbine blade, and sleeping in the Turbine Hall overnight – Liberate Tate succeeded in ending BP sponsorship of Tate. Liberate Tate is an art collective that takes action, and its performance interventions have involved hundreds of people. Their work shows the power of art to make real change happen. Mel is also author of Artwash: Big Oil and the Arts (Pluto, 2015). @melllevans  @liberatetate

Solidarity Beyond the Echo Chamber

When: 12.00 – 13.00 Saturday, June 24th
Where: Leftfield Tent, Glastonbury
Speakers: Clara Paillard, Clive Lewis MP, Wail Qasim, Zrinka Balo, John Harris (chair)

Solidarity comes in many forms, but the question that has been popping up this year is: If we really want to show solidarity and support others, how can we do that if we are only interacting with people that look, speak and agree with ourselves? Join a trade union community organiser who is always out of her comfort zone, an MP who puts his constituents first, an activist who knows first-hand how to show solidarity in inter-sectional movements and a woman leading the fight with refugee and migrants to listen, learn and get involved.

Clara Paillard is the President of PCS union Culture Group, representing 4,000 museum workers across the country. Originally from France, she has lived in the UK since 2001 and has built the ‘Show Culture Some Love’ campaign against austerity in the art & culture sector working with other unions, art supporters and libraries campaigns. She has led recent campaigns against privatisation at the National Gallery, against Zero Hours contracts in Tate or for decent pay in National Museums Wales. She is a disability activist and organised the Art4Rights disobedient exhibition with Disabled People Against Cuts at Tate Modern in 2016. She is also a climate activist and involved in the One Million Climate Jobs and anti-fracking campaigns. @clarapa

Clive Lewis MP is the Labour MP for Norwich South and has had many Shadow Cabinet positions. He entered Parliament in May 2015 where, after his election night victory he declared New Labour to be ‘dead and buried’. He was one of the first MPs to openly nominate and support Jeremy Corbyn for leader of the Labour Party and was subsequently promoted to the shadow front bench on his leadership victory. Before entering Parliament Clive was Vice President of the National Union of Students, a BBC TV political reporter as well as Army reservist infantry officer, serving a combat tour of Afghanistan in 2009. He is a proud socialist. @labourlewis

Wail Qasim is an award-winning writer, critic and campaigner. Their writing has covered philosophy and politics, specifically dealing with racism, issues of policing, black culture and social movements. Recently their work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, VICE UK, and Novara Media. In 2015 they won Student Opinion Writer of the Year at The Guardian Student Media Awards. Wail currently organises with Black Lives Matter UK. @WailQ

Zrinka Balo runs Migrants Organise – a community organising platform where immigrants build power, develop common ground, connect, speak out and act for justice. Zrinka came to the UK as a refugee from Sarajevo, where she was a journalist and where she worked with leading war correspondents during the siege in the 90’s. She sought asylum in the United Kingdom in 1993 and to this day she is a fierce advocate for refugees and migrants. Following on from her own campaign against deportation, she set up the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns in London (now Right to Remain). In 2010 she lead successful campaigns to end immigration detention of children. In 2011 Zrinka launched the Women on the Move Awards for outstanding grass roots leaders, with the Awards Ceremony held at the WoW Festival at the Southbank Centre. She is also a winner of the 2011 Voices of Courage Award for the work with refugees in urban areas. @ZrileB

Fake News & Dark Money

When: 13.30 – 14.30 Saturday, June 24th
Where: Leftfield Tent, Glastonbury
Speakers:  Carole Cadwalladr, Douglas Guilbeault, Samira Shackle, Zahra Dalilah, John Harris (chair)

Has democracy been hijacked by big money and faceless donors? Is the phenomenon of ‘fake news’ to blame for election results? Should companies like Facebook be allowed to shove political advertising in our feeds? Sure money talks, but should it have such a loud voice?  It’s time to shed some light on some of the biggest topics that have surfaced this year with some of the journalists and academics at the coal face.

Carole Cadwalladr is a British author and journalist. Her first novel, The Family Tree, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Author’s Club First Novel Award, the Waverton Good Read Award, and the Wales Book of the Year. It was also a Daily Mail Book Club pick and was dramatised as a five-part serial on BBC Radio 4. Carole is a former Daily Telegraph journalist who now contributes features and columns to The Observer. She has twice been shortlisted in the British Press Awards.

Douglas Guilbeault is a PhD researcher at the Annenberg School for Communication. He’s a member of the Network Dynamics Group, which specialises in online social experiments. He’s also an international member of the Computational Propaganda Project housed at the Oxford Internet Institute. His research focuses on propaganda bots that operate over social media, and his work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, and NPR. @DzGuilbeault

Samira Shackle is a London-based freelance journalist who has reported extensively on Pakistan over the last five years, for publications including the Guardian, New Statesman, the Times and the Independent. She has also reported from India, Bangladesh and Kenya for a range of British and international outlets. In 2015 she was shortlisted in the foreign correspondent category in the Words By Women awards and the New Voices category of the One World Media awards. She was the 2015 recipient of the Times’ Richard Beeston fellowship for foreign reporting. @samirashackle

Zahra Dalilah is a writer and activist born and based in Lewisham, South East London. Contributing to independent media platforms such as gal-dem.com, Media Diversified and Red Pepper she writes predominantly on art and culture, often focusing on the interplay between art and resistance and how culture can incite or support social change. Her campaigning history includes but is not exclusive to resisting gentrification, combating the rise of the far-right, campaigning against corruption in the media and for better political education. She has been organising with Take Back The City for over two years and is the co-founder of the community research project Our Fathers and Us which explores the myths and realities of black British fatherhood. @ZahraDalilah1

Is Democracy Broken?

When: 12.00 – 13.00 Sunday, June 25th
Where: Leftfield Tent, Glastonbury
Speakers:  John McDonnell MP, Jonathan Bartley, Faiza Shaheen, John Harris (chair)

With a movement for a ‘Progressive Alliance’ heating up and an obvious flaw in our democratic system, we ask – is democracy broken?

John McDonnell MP is a British Labour Party politician who was appointed the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in September 2015. He became the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hayes and Harlington at the 1997 general election, and has retained his seat subsequently. Before joining the frontbench following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, he served as Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group in Parliament and the Labour Representation Committee, and was the chair of the Public Services Not Private Profit Group. He is also Parliamentary Convenor of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group of eight left-wing trade unions representing over half a million workers. @johnmcdonnellMP

Jonathan Bartley is co-leader of the Green Party and a disability rights campaigner. He was vice chair of the Electoral Reform Society and served as chair of Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education. He helped establish the Accord Coalition to reform faith schools. Bartley is the founder and was the co-director of Ekklesia, an independent think tank looking at the role of religion in public life and appears regularly on UK radio and television programmes. He is a member of the blues rock band The Mustangs and lives with his family in Streatham, South London. @jon_bartley

Dr. Faiza Shaheen is an economist, blogger and activist. She has published a range of materials related to the most salient social and economic debates of our times, including inequality, austerity, immigration, youth unemployment and social mobility. She is currently the Director of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class). Class is a think tank and space for Left debate, its aim is to develop new analysis and policy solutions which are grounded in the realities of everyday people’s lives. Faiza’s previous roles include Head of Inequality and Sustainable Development at Save the Children UK and Senior Researcher on economic inequality at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). @faizashaheen

Keep hope alive: In conversation with John Harris, Elif Shafak & Yanis Varoufakis

When: 13.30 – 14.30 Sunday, June 25th
Where: Leftfield Tent, Glastonbury
Speakers: Elif Shfak, Yanis Varoufakis, John Harris

Ending the Left Field debates, join this amazing conversation looking outside of the UK with two inspirational leaders, thinkers and doers. From Turkey where free speech and secularism are under threat to Greece which is facing another recession, it’s time for some perspective. In what promises to be a lively discussion, Elif and Yanis will tell tales, share wisdom and undoubtedly debate how we find hope in these bleak times.

Elif Shafak is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female writer in Turkey. She is also a political commentator and an inspirational public speaker.  She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 15 books, 10 of which are novels, including the bestselling The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love. Her books have been translated into 47 languages. Elif is a TED Global speaker, a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy in Davos and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). She has been featured in major newspapers and periodicals around the world, including the Financial Times, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica. Elif has taught at various universities in Turkey, UK and USA. She holds a degree in International Relations, a masters degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and a PhD in Political Science. She is known as a women’s rights, minority rights and LGBT rights advocate.

Yanis Varoufakis read mathematics and economics at the Universities of Essex and Birmingham and subsequently taught economics at the Universities of East Anglia, Cambridge, Sydney, Glasgow, Texas and Athens where he still holds a Chair in Political Economy and Economic Theory. He is also Honorary Professor of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, Honoris Causa Professor of Law, Economics and Finance at the University of Torino, and Visiting Professor of Political Economy at King’s College, London. In his own words, Yanis was “thrust onto the public scene by Europe’s inane handling of an inevitable crisis”. In January 2015 he was elected to Greece’s Parliament with the largest majority in the country and served as Greece’s Finance Minister (January to July 2015). During his term he experienced first hand the authoritarian inefficiency of the European Union’s institutions and had to negotiate with the Eurogroup, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Yanis resigned the Finance Ministry when he refused to sign a loan agreement that perpetuated Greece’s debt-deflationary cycle. @yanisvaroufakis

John Harris is a writer, author, critic and commentator. He is the author of The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock (2003), So Now Who Do We Vote For? He has a regular column for the Guardian. @johnharris1969

Back to top