DESMOND TUTU AND KEITH ALLEN BACK CAMPAIGN TO GET UK VOTERS GIVING THEIR VOTES

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is backing a new campaign launching today to persuade the UK electorate to give up their ballot papers to voters in Afghanistan, Ghana and Bangladesh.

The new initiative – called ‘GIVE YOUR VOTE’ – will see thousands of people in constituencies across the UK letting residents in countries affected by British government policies vote in their name. The actor Keith Allen has already pledged to give his vote in his London constituency. Ready to use votes like Allen’s and others is Atique Chowdhary a coastal worker in Bangladesh, whose island was submerged because of rising sea-levels. Chowdhary says “I will be looking for the party that has the best plans for dealing with climate change refugees”.

Keith Allen says ""If capitalism knows no boundaries then neither do I."

British Satirist and acclaimed TV and radio producer Victor Levy-Smith and journalist and broadcaster Lauren Booth have pledged their votes.

The GIVE YOUR VOTE campaign will see:

The Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and other manifestos launched in Kabul, Dhaka and Accra.

* Local language campaign posters of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg being pasted on walls across the cities
* Questions on party policies from Britain’s new overseas constituents passed to UK candidates via their own constituents.
* Afghan, Bangladeshi and Ghanaian voters in the British poll will vote by sending a text message on election day to a local number. A registered UK voter will receive a message telling them how they can carry out that vote.
* In the three countries the campaign is called ‘USE A UK VOTE’ and will launch on 30th March following the collection of the first set of UK vote pledges.

Desmond Tutu is backing the campaign. He said: “I support Give Your Vote because it is exciting, brave and emphasises our common humanity. It is a radical call for a world where all human beings have an equal say in the politics that affect them."

Clementine James of the GIVE YOUR VOTE campaign said: “We can no longer think of our national politics as just national because they affect so many around the world. Just as many people in Britain wanted a say in the US election, people in other countries want to have a say on May 6th.”

Warwick University Professor and Fellow at the Centre for Globalisation and Regionalisation – Jan Aart Scholte said “Give Your Vote' challenges us to reinvent meaningful democracy for today's more global world. Let's give it a go."

Kojo Prah Annan in Accra, said “Instead of always being on the receiving end of decisions, I want to take my own voice to the UK politicians that affect my country - I am very thankful to the British people for this.”

Reza Kateb in Kabul said “I voted in the Afghan elections because I believe in democracy, but when did I elect the people who are making decisions about my country from London?”

First-time voter Finlay Simpson, 19, a laborer from Kent will be giving his vote, he says “I feel like this is a powerful thing to do with my vote.”

The campaign launches tomorrow (Monday, March 15th). UK voters can give their votes on www.giveyourvote.org

The campaign is being organised by the volunteer network Egality (www.egalitynow.org.)

ENDS
For more information call:
Press team: +44 7768 553 982
press@egalitynow.org

Notes:

ENDORSEMENT FROM ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
"I have lived through apartheid in my country. In our struggle against injustice, we didn’t fight for hand-outs. We fought for an equal voice and for the power to make our own choices.

We are now facing a global apartheid, in which the richest dominate global decision-making, often to the detriment of the poorest.
Many of the problems we face in the world are interconnected. Pollution in one country becomes devastating floods in others, making millions homeless. A banking crisis in one corner of the world quickly engulfs us all. Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will impact cities far away, with repercussions that fracture our global community.

But who decides how we address these problems? Sidelined from the decisions are those who live on the frontlines of climate change, poverty and war.

We need to rethink our politics for today's world. We must strive for a global democracy, in which not only the rich and the powerful have a say, but which treats everyone, everywhere with dignity and respect.

I support Give Your Vote because it is exciting, brave and emphasises our common humanity. It is a radical call for a world where all human beings have an equal say in the politics that affect them."

GIVE YOUR VOTE DATES
Launch in the UK on Monday 15th March 2010
Launch in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana on 30th March 2010
UK Election Day will be held in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana on 30th April 2010

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