I am an Advisor for the brilliant Model Westminster.
Here is a report on their fantastic Digital Democracy event in Parliament which I had the pleasure of attending:
On Tuesday 12 August, 70 young people aged 15 to 25 from across the UK travelled to Westminster to take part in a one day event to share their opinions and expertise on Digital Democracy. Organised by political literacy organisation Model Westminster in partnership with the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy and The Parliamentary Outreach Service – the event was a groundbreaking attempt to ‘incubate’ a response from this demographic for the Speaker’s Digital Democracy Commission. As the first of its kind, the attendees carried out various tasks, activities and workshops, which educated them on the operations of politics, parliament and government. Their contributions from the event will be collated to create three products, which will act as their response to the Digital Democracy Commission:
– A report, which is co-authored by those in attendance and edited by Model Westminster’s student ambassadors.
– A set of 70 posters, which focus on every attendee and act as personal promotional product for their involvement in the event and their contribution to the call of evidence.
– Lastly, a short film will be created to further demonstrate the student’s recommendations for the future of digital democracy within the UK.
Student and attendee Charlie Rainsford commented on the future of digital democracy, stating:
‘Within the next twenty years, I believe democracy will become far more direct and technological as governments and institutions realise that apathy and disillusionment can be addressed with ease of access and open information. Model Westminster and the Speaker’s Commission are offering my generation a way to understand and contribute to the ever present changes that will occur and change the way people participate within politics.’
Voter turnout amongst the UK public was 65.1% in the last general election. This event was a unique way for those who are considered to be the least engaged in political life to offer new and innovative ways in which the government can reach out to more people and advance the political process thus ensuring a more democratic and inclusive society. Microsoft UK supported Model Westminster at the event by providing smartphones and tablets so the attendees could use digital means to create their products.
Ayath Ullah, Chief Operating Officer of Model Westminster commented:
“It’s not often you see the private, public and voluntary sector collaborating to enable the “hashtag generation” to have a say on something as important as democracy in the UK. This event was a fine example of this and I look forward to seeing many more initiatives follow suit.”