By Alex Dobson, Emily Rainsford and Oliver Sidorczuk
Even when a choice seems quite straightforward, like in the recent European Union referendum, elections can seem confusing, with complex jargon and an increasing number of parties to consider. With the continuing decline of voting according to traditional party ideologies and identities, combined the worryingly low voter turnout amongst young people in particular – just 43% in 2015 General Election – the need for mechanisms to engage voters has never been greater.
By Cristina Leston-Bandeira and Louise Thompson
About eight months ago, we got together to come up with an idea for Parliament Week. We’d recently taken over as the new Co-Convenors of the Political Studies Association’s specialist group for Parliaments and Legislatures, and we thought the group should be involved with this initiative. It fit right in with our strategy of promoting the study and understanding of parliament and, most importantly, it went beyond the academic community. Eight months later we were sitting in Portcullis House in one of Parliament Week’s prime slots, waiting for The Political Studies Association (our co-organisers) to arrive, along with over 100 sixth form students! Continue reading
By Joshua Newton
Technology and social media are often revered as a 21st Century remedy to the ills of citizen detachment from politics and to the closed and elitist nature of UK political institutions. This was demonstrated by a recent Hansard Society Report which highlighted the central role that Parliament could play in communicating and engaging with the public. Yet with a unique organisational structure, that does not lend itself to far-reaching internal reform, the challenge of Parliament to devise and introduce a digital adaptation plan is daunting. Step-forward the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy (DDC). Launched by John Bercow last year, its aim is to explore how representative democracy can embrace technology. Having been lucky enough to contribute through a students’ forum, I will outline some of the productive ideas that are emerging out of the inquiry’s ground-breaking and inclusive nature. Continue reading