Thursday 19 April 2007

The Internet and Political Awareness

Last night I attended a Hansard Society meeting on "The Internet and the 2005 General Election", although the presentations and questions ranged much further than that specific event.

The Hansard Society is "an independent and non-partisan educational charity working to stimulate knowledge of and interest in democracy through research, publications, influential seminars, online debate and deliberation, groundbreaking activities with young people and public meetings. [Its] work aims to strengthen parliament by encouraging greater accessibility and closer engagement with the public."


They have regular meetings at Westminster, and elsewhere.

Key questions posed included:-
  • has the Internet helped to increase the political engagement of individual voters?
  • what role did the Internet play in the dissemination of information in the 2005 Election?

Derek Wyatt MP, the Chair of the All Party Internet Group, took a wider remit and recommended visits to the campaigning sites of

Segolene Royal; http://www.desirsdavenir.org/index.php

Nicholas Sarkozy; http://www.sarkozy.fr/home/

Hillary Clinton http://www.hillaryclinton.com/?splash=1 and

Barack Obama. http://www.barackobama.com/

as illustrations of how inventively the new media is being used.

The meeting discussed various statistics from surveys which pointed to the role of the internet in 2005 - and its potential for future British General Elections.

What are your observations on the impact of the Internet on participation in politics? Did using the internet spark off an interest in politics for you? What impact have you seen that it has on Westminster and Washington?