Helping parliaments get closer to the people they represent

Helping parliaments get closer to the people they represent

By Andy Williamson A key challenge for those trying to engage a broader public in parliamentary democracy is that the processes often appear closed and opaque (because, often, they are). The language is off-putting, the procedures cumbersome and unfriendly, and it’s hard to see what’s going on. It can be hard to see any value in taking part. Digital can’t fix thefirst problem (though it can help), it should improve the second (otherwise it’s pointless) and it can significantly impact on the final two. The internet has given us the opportunity for a genuine…Read more
How do we take back control?

How do we take back control?

  Digital democracy & democratic deficit in the EU The Democratic Society are working on a project to find out how people would like to communicate ideas directly to the institutions of the European Union. It's about citizens feeding in to policy-making and having a say more than just once every five years in the European elections. The UK's role in this is significant as Brexit highlighted a common perception that there is a lack of democracy, that people in Britain have ‘lost control’ over EU policy making. we will be hosting an online…Read more
Religion, Migration, Power and Money

Religion, Migration, Power and Money

The tale of two Athens hotels, the 5-star and the refugee camp. Religion, Migration, Power and Money was the title of last month's Athens Democracy Forum. The conference was sponsored by some Big Names, it attracted important people to come and speak, including the President of Greece, op-ed columnists at the New York Times, the Mayor of Athens, a top British QC and the European Commissioner for migration, among others. And they all had one thing in common: they were all grey-haired white men[1]. At this beautifully organised three-day conference, it was the white…Read more
Is Democracy Fit for Purpose?

Is Democracy Fit for Purpose?

By Millicent Scott In western Europe democracy emerged during the 19th and 20th centuries as the process of choice for selecting national governors. It came to replace the birth-right power of monarchy and aristocracy to rule, or in some cases to legitimise the power of the monarch. In the UK for example, the democratically elected House of Commons together with the aristocracy and appointed House of Lords and HRH the Queen form Her Majesty's Government. In eastern Europe, after the fall of communism, democracy has emerged as the system of governance for nearly a…Read more
Turning the tide on democracy?

Turning the tide on democracy?

By Millicent Scott This October, the Athens Democracy Forum will bring together actors from across the world to examine the current threats to democracy from the refugee crisis subsuming Europe, Africa and the Middle East and the rise of terrorist attacks which challenge the core ideals of democracy, to the rise of populism and the spectre of authoritarianism together with the accelerating erosion of trust in our political systems. It is in this context that Ban-Ki Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, has asked the Athens Democracy Forum "How do we turn…Read more

The Case for Electoral Reform – Stronger Than Ever

The 2015 general election was a triumph for the Conservatives. Before the exit polls on 7th May no one foresaw a Tory majority. So how did it happen? In the weeks since the election there has been much speculation: Did Ed Miliband fail as a leader? Did Tory spending buy the vote? Should UKIP and the LibDems wind up their parties and leave British politics for good? It’s none of these. It’s simply the failure of our electoral system to deliver democracy. With 36% of those who turned out voting for the Tories…Read more