Networking democracy

By Simon Barrow
March 25, 2008

OurKingdom, a project of the online magazine OpenDemocracy, is hosting what it believes to be a unique online deliberation on how the potential of the internet can be integrated into a national political process.

Changing the form and culture of political participation and debate is something Ekklesia is very committed to: from open votes in parliament and thoroughgoing reform of the system, right through to independent, civic and associational politics.

It isn't an area we have focused on, as there are specialists working along lines that we identify with, not least UnlockDemocracy.

On the OurKingdon initiative, oD write:

"It is about this question: can participation on the web reinforce representative democracy? The initial phase took place among a group of experts who were asked to set out the problems and summarise what is already known - please look at it here. The first section of it has an email exchange between Anthony Barnett of OurKingdom and Michael Wills, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice - who bravely agreed to an independent debate. Their exchange sets out what we are doing.

We are now opening up the debate for anyone to contribute, here or on your own blogs and websites. The post below is Anthony Barnett’s personal summary of the discussion so far. Please read at least some of the discussion before commenting. We have an important opportunity to raise the game of the web in politics - and not just in Britain, we are trying to bring in as much international discussion as we can.

The minister and some of his civil servants at Justice are listening to this conversation, and have already contributed in the initial exchanges as you can see. We would like as many people as possible to blog about this, write about it, and host discussions about it in their own fora. If you do, please link to here and email us ( at ). After three weeks, we will aggregate all the discussions that we know about into a final document."


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