Thursday, 14.09.17 - London

Willy Brandt – The Legacy of a Rebel in Contemporary Context

With the words “Let’s dare more democracy”, Willy Brandt set in motion a young generation’s desire for more political participation and emancipation and encouraged masses of people to join the SPD. FES London hosted a panel debate that addressed Willy Brandt’s legacy in the contemporary context, searching for lessons to be learned for the progressive forces in the UK.

Photo: FES London

Amongst the panellists were Hélène Miard-Delacroix, author of "Willy Brandt: Life of a Statesman", Wes Streeting MP and Megan Corton Scott, Vice Chair of London Young Labour. The panellists unanimously agreed that Brandt is particularly remembered for his ability to enthuse young people about political participation and societal change. Using his charisma, authenticity and spirit of reform, Brandt was able to convince people that politics can affect change.

Finding a genuine modern comparison to Willy Brandt results difficult, given the different circumstances at the time of Willy. Nevertheless, the share of young voters increased significantly in the UK’s EU referendum and its last General Election. However, young people are still outnumbered by voters from older generations. "Young people want to see their passion reflected in politics", said Megan Corton Scott. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned from Willy Brandt after all.

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