“Do we only care about the vote when we don’t have it?" - Panel Discussion

Past Event

20 January 2015, 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

I Stock bjeayes voteruninterested
© Istock/bjeayes

This panel discussion is a joint event by the Oxford Martin School, The Oxford International Relations Society (IRSoc) and Sky News’ Stand Up Be Counted campaign.

The panel, entitled “Do we only care about the vote when we don’t have it?,” will seek to explore the issue of voter disengagement in the UK in light of democratic movements worldwide. In the run-up to the General Election, the panel event promises to be an insightful look into a critical issue in both domestic and international politics.

Chaired by Andrew Wilson, Sky News Anchor the panel will consist of:

  • Baroness Falkner of Margravine, Chair of the Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Policy Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Areeq Chowdhury, Chief Executive, WebRoots Democracy
  • Professor Helen Margetts, Director and Professor of Society and the Internet, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

The lecture is free and open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception for members of IRSoc, membership is available on the night.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Sky News Stand Up Be Counted campaign, visit https://standup.news.sky.com/app/

About the speakers

Baroness Falkner of Margravine entered the House of Lords in 2004, where she is currently Chairman of the Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Policy Committee on Foreign Affairs. Her previous parliamentary roles have been shadowing the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government. She has served on several parliamentary committees including the Constitution Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights; the European Union Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and International Development; the ad hoc Committee on International Organisations, and the Joint Committee on the Legal Services Bill.

Kishwer is Chancellor of Northampton University. She is also a member of the Anglo-British Conference, Koenigswinter, and is on the Advisory Board of YouGov-Cambridge. Since 2006, she has been a Non-Executive Director for the Hyde Group, a Housing Association.

Kishwer has held Fellowships at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford (2010), and at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2006). She also served as a member of the Prime Minister's Taskforce on Tackling Muslim Extremism which was established in the aftermath of the London bombings in July 2005.

Kishwer’s academic background is in International Relations, obtaining degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Kent.

Areeq Chowdhury is the Founder and Chief Executive of WebRoots Democracy.

After graduating from the University of Birmingham in 2013 with a degree in Economics and Political Science, he has worked as an intern in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the London Assembly. He currently works in the Civil Service.

Areeq is a former Deputy Member of the UK Youth Parliament, has been a Teamv Leader for vInspired, and is an alumnus of the Young Foundation’s UpRising Leadership Programme.

Since completing his dissertation on the impact of the internet on UK political participation, Areeq has been pursuing the introduction of an online voting option for Local Council and General Elections.

Professor Helen Margetts is the Director of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), and Professor of Society and the Internet. She is a political scientist specialising in e-government and digital era governance and politics, investigating the nature and implications of relationships between governments, citizens and the Internet and related digital technologies in the UK and internationally. She has published major research reports in this area for agencies such as the OECD and the UK National Audit Office, in addition to important books and articles. In 2003 she and Patrick Dunleavy won the 'Political Scientists Making a Difference' award from the UK Political Studies Association. She is co-director of OxLab, a laboratory for social science experiments and editor of the journal Policy and Internet. She holds the ESRC professorial fellowship 'The Internet, Political Science and Public policy: Re-examining Collective Action, Governance and Citizen-Governance Interactions in the Digital Era' (2011-4).

Professor Margetts joined the OII in 2004 from University College London where she was a Professor in Political Science and Director of the School of Public Policy. She began her career as a computer programmer / systems analyst with Rank Xerox after receiving her BSc in mathematics from the University of Bristol. She returned to studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1989, completing an MSc in Politics and Public Policy in 1990 and a PhD in Government in 1996. She worked as a researcher at LSE from 1991 to 1994 and a lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London from 1994 to 1999.


Oxford International Relations Society is one of the most active and dynamic societies at Oxford. Its remit is to educate students about the opportunities and challenges in global affairs, including international law. Our events are widely anticipated as highlights of Oxford’s calendar and we are building an exceptional reputation among our members and throughout the wider student body. (http://irsoc.org/)