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We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation - the custodians of the country in which we meet - and acknowledge their Elders, past and present.

Votes for 6 year olds: The Hitch

David Runciman [UK]
Chaired by Ann Mossop
Sat 24 August 4:30pm
Sat 24 August 4:30pm
The generational divide is deforming democracy. But there is a solution.

When it comes to our most divisive political, economic and social issues, there is a deepening void between the views of ‘the old’ and ‘the young’. Older generations monopolise wealth and dominate the ballot box. Younger generations are effectively disenfranchised. In such a fractured society, can the balance between generations be restored? Academic David Runciman suggests that the solution may lie in giving children the right to vote – an audacious plan that he thinks might just rescue democracy. 

The Hitch keynote address has been delivered at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas since 2018 and is named in honour of the great contrarian Christopher Hitchens, the first FODI keynote presenter. Hitchens helped to launch FODI in 2009. He embodied its ideals: he was fearless, urbane and infused with a zest for life that burned bright, usually at both ends of the candle. So, following his death (and with his family’s permission), The Hitch is presented in his memory. 

David Runciman appears exclusively in Sydney at FODI.

David Runciman [UK]

David Runciman is Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge and was Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies from 2014-2018. He is the author of many books, including The Confidence Trap, How Democracy Ends, Confronting Leviathan and The Handover. His most recent book is The History of Ideas: Equality, Justice and Revolution, based on his popular podcast series Talking Politics. He currently hosts the podcast Past Present Future. He is a contributing editor at the London Review of Books, where he has written widely about contemporary politics. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature.


Ann Mossop

Ann Mossop is an ideas curator and festival programmer. Since 2022, she has been the Artistic Director of the Sydney Writer’s Festival, consistently recognised as one of the world’s leading literary events. She was the Director of the Centre for Ideas at UNSW Sydney from 2017-2022, a new program she established designed to contribute to public conversations about important ideas and issues. As Head of Talks and Ideas at the Sydney Opera House from 2010-2017, she established the Opera House’s extensive talks and ideas program and led key projects like the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. She was also the founder of the All about Women festival, which has taken place at Sydney Opera House since 2013. Throughout her career she has been involved with important initiatives to bring the work of writers and thinkers to broader audiences, from the pioneering series of readings at the Harold Park Hotel, Writers in the Park and the highly successful Writers’ Choice program at the University of Sydney to the re-establishment of the Sydney Writers’ Festival as an independent Festival in 1998.

There isn’t a reason to exclude children from the basic function of expressing a view or a voice.
David Runciman
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24 August
General Admission
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