Tag Archives: hansard society

Does a perceived distrust of politicians justify redistributing an image meme that was discredited 14 months ago?

Meme debatesThe image meme above went the rounds of social media in November 2014. It was roundly and conclusively fisked by Isabel Hardman on the Spectator Coffee House blog. I noticed that the meme was getting re-distributed a week ago. I pointed out to the people sharing this meme that it had been thoroughly discredited well over a year ago. Interestingly, several replied saying that “most people” think that’s how parliament behaves so it’s not a problem distributing it.

My indignation hit about twelve on the Richter scale.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 21 Comments

How should PMQs be reformed?

Hansard-SocietyPrime Minister’s Questions, the half-hour weekly pantomime that transfixes Westminster and the SW1 media, got a deserved pasting from the Hansard Society this week which released a report, Tuned in or Turned off? Public attitudes to PMQs.

The results couldn’t be clearer. PMQs is a significant ‘cue’ or ‘building block’ for the public’s perceptions of Parliament, and it provides a lot of the raw material that feeds their negative assumptions about politicians.

The public like the ‘theory’ of PMQs but dislike the current practice of it. They recognise that the opportunity

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The crisis of trust facing the news media

The Hansard Society this week published part two of its annual Audit of Political Engagement, focusing on the media and politics. Three graphs in particular stood out for me…

63% of public say tabloids “look for any excuse” to tarnish politicians

… tabloid newspapers are consistently identified by two-thirds of the public as displaying negative traits in their coverage of politics and politicians. … Tabloids are three times more likely to be perceived to be negative in their approach to the coverage of politics than are the other

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Lord Speaker election: Two Liberal Democrat peers standing

Two Liberal Democrat peers are among the six candidates standing for election as Speaker of the House of Lords.

Baroness (Angela) Harris and Lord (Rupert) Redesdale have entered the contest following the announcement that the current Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman, will not be seeking re-election.

On Tuesday evening, the Hansard Society held a hustings in which the candidates set out their reasons for standing and answered questions from the audience of peers.

You can listen to their speeches here, including Baroness Harris’ (Lord Redesdale had a prior engagement).

You can also watch full coverage of the Lord Speaker …

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Lord John Sharkey’s maiden speech

LDV has been bringing you the words of our new representatives as they speak for the first time in the Houses of Parliament. We bring you maiden speeches from new MPs and new members of the House of Lords. You can find an archive of all maiden speeches we’ve published by clicking this link. If you think we’ve missed someone, do please drop us a line.

Lord Sharkey: My Lords, it is a great privilege and a great honour to join your Lordships’ House. It has also been a great pleasure because of the immense kindness shown …

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The male dominance of online British politics

One of the curious of political blogging in the UK is how male dominated it is. Although the Office of National Statistics’s figures show that the majority of bloggers in the UK are female and the majority of voters are female too, take a look through lists of Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem bloggers and you see lists that are dominated by men. The same applies with other parties and independent blogs. Political blogging in the UK is male dominated. But why?

One explanation is that UK politics overall is male dominated. Just look at the number of MPs or Cabinet …

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged | 23 Comments

Lessons from the disappearing phone boxes for the internet and politics

A new report about the internet and the 2010 general election (not headlined some variant on “was it an internet election?” thank goodness) has just been published by the Hansard Society. It contains some excellent contributions from across the political spectrum and, er…, one by myself.

A phone boxWill Straw from Left Foot Forward has blogged about his own contribution here and The Voice’s very own Helen Duffett was one of the speakers at the launch event.

My own piece looked at ‘Lessons from the disappearing phone boxes for the internet and politics’ which tries to get at why people so often ask the question ‘Will the next election be an internet election?’ followed shortly after by’Well, that wasn’t an internet election’ – and yet the use of the internet has become so pervasive in politics:

Does the rhetoric and analysis of Joe Trippi and Clay Shirky or the reality of the mobile phone more accurately foretell the future impact of the internet on British politics? That isthe central question for anyone looking to predict how technology may change politics andcampaigning over this new Parliament…

Here’s the report in full, including my piece:

The internet and the 2010 election: putting the small ‘p’ back in politics?

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What Simon Hughes said about coalition politics in 2008

In 2008 – when the general assumption was that the Tories would win an overall majority – the Hansard Society published a collection of essays on the impact of a balanced parliament on British politics, titled No Overall Control.

One of its contributors was Simon Hughes, then the Lib Dems’ shadow leader of the House, now our deputy leader. So how does what Simon said over two years ago about a hypothetical future measure up to what’s happening in the current reality?

Pretty well in most respects is the answer. While arguing that a balanced parliament was a less-than-likely eventuality, …

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David Howarth on Parliamentary Reform

In case you missed it, David Howarth MP gave a speech last week, as part of the Hansard Society’s Parliamentary Reform Lecture Series.

The speech includes a discussion of the various systems that need reform: the government, the judiciary, political parties and the media.

David Howarth also covers Lords reform, electoral reform and the loss of trust in our political institutions. He emphasises the need to restore power to local government. He cautions that the General Election will not be enough to end this crisis, which has partly been brought about by MPs’ misuse of expenses.

He ends by saying:

These reforms would not

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Opinion: Could low voter registration cost the Lib Dems seats?

The Hansard Society’s latest Audit of Political Engagement has added to the view that there is likely to be another risible turnout at the impending General Election. The study finds that only 54% say they are certain to vote.

The Hansard Society have offered some ideas about how to boost turnout. They suggest that more should be done to target groups such as the ‘disenchanted and mistrustful’. Apparently, a quarter of adults, mostly young and working-class, fall into this category of voters who distrust politicians but not yet entirely hostile.

But a report from the Electoral Commission would suggest that efforts to get these …

Posted in Election law, General Election and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Hear David Howarth give lecture on Parliamentary reform

As party of the Parliamentary Reform Lecture Series organised by the Hansard Society, David Howarth MP (Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Solicitor General) will give a talk examining the Liberal Democrat’s priorities for reform of Parliament.

It’s at 6pm on March 15th. It’s being held at the Houses of Parliament and is open to the public. Please email [email protected] to register.

The talk is one of a series the Hansard Society is running (one each from each of the main parties) to draw attention to the fact that there is still much progress to be made in the area …

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What do the public want politicians to get up to online?

The Hansard Society has a new report out which asks the public what they want out of politicians and the political system online.

Although many studies have looked at what politicians do or don’t do online, those looking at what the public actually wants are rather rarer. That makes this a particularly welcome report and is based on:

Two samples, the first is a national survey of individuals who are already online and the second a group of ‘digital leaders’; individuals with a strong interest in social media and politics. The first group is representative of digital Britain and the second group are the ‘early adopters’ of social media and digital technologies.

In many ways the report paints a positive picture, concluding that the country has:

An online population who are actively involved in civic and political life and who see the internet as beneficial for this.

However, this optimism should be tempered with the knowledge that other research has often seen people draw a distinction between being interested in issues and seeing the connection between them and voting, political parties or election results. Although the report has apparently very healthy figures for the proportion of people who have got engaged with the political system, this includes registering to vote – an important and welcome step, but one whose inclusion boosts the headline figures.

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First-Past-The-Post: the ‘safe seats’ system that breeds lazy, corrupt MPs

Calls for the First-Past-The-Post voting system to be abolished in the UK were given a real kick-start last year after it became clear – thanks to the work of Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson – that it was MPs with large majorities who were more likely to be implicated in cheating the expenses system.

It’s obvious if you think about it: if you were given life tenure in a safe seat where the Labour/Tory majorities are weighed not counted, how concerned would you be with the irksome business of being transparent and accountable? To put it bluntly – as …

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Two new reports into online politics

First up, there’s a report from the Hansard Society which has surveyed MPs and their use of the internet (“A study into how MPs use digital media to communicate with their constituents”):

Usage of internet by MPs - Hansard Society graph

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Big increase in the number of people who say they can name their MP

A new survey out from the British Computer Society / Chartered Institute for IT says that “Only 53% of Britons can name their MP”.

Whilst it’s not a number to make democrats cheer to the rafters, the use of “only” is rather misleading as this figure is in fact a substantial increase on previous research. For example, an Electoral Commission / Hansard Society report in 2004 found that 42% could name their MP. Other previous research has also found figures under 50%.

If anything, the 53% finding is cautious (because of issues around details of research and margins of …

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The leaders’ debate – is it really now game on?

Fair play to Sky News. It’s a month since the broadcaster upped the ante on a leaders’ debate, with Adam Boulton launching a full-throated campaign – including writing for LDV – for Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and David Cameron to debate each other in the lead-up to general election day.

The result? The AP tells us a deal has now been reached between the broadcasters:

Broadcasters have written to Britain’s main political parties proposing a series of televised debates before the general election. The BBC, Sky News television, and ITV have written to the leaders of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties with a joint proposal for three live televised debates before the election, which must be called by the middle of next year.

Posted in General Election and News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 12 Comments

Lib Dem MPs “more likely to be on Facebook than members of any other party”

That’s the finding of the Hansard Society research paper MPs on Facebook:

while over half (51%) of Liberal Democrat MPs have a presence on Facebook, the figures for Labour and the Conservatives are 15% and 9%, respectively. … On a per-party basis, Liberal Democrats MPs appeared more likely to see Facebook as a communications tool (69%) but were the least likely to have personal or inactive pages. Conservative MPs were as likely to have a campaigning page as a personal one (24%) but were still most likely to be using Facebook as a communications tool (41%). Labour were the party

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Four confirmed candidates for Speaker so far

News from the Hansard Society via email:

The Hansard Society will be holding a hustings meeting for potential candidates for the role of Speaker of the House of Commons. Potential candidates will have the opportunity to make a statement and answer questions both from MPs and those submitted by members of the public via the Hansard Society website.

We have invited potential candidates for the position of Speaker to participate. Since the position will still be fluid then, it is not our aim to be exclusive.  Confirmed participants in the Hansard Society Speaker Hustings thus far include:

  • Alan Beith MP
  • John

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Video: LDV, ConHome and LabourList debate online campaigning

Lib Dem Voice’s Mark Pack, ConservativeHome’s Jonathan Isaby and LabourList’s Derek Draper discussed online campaigning in a Hansard Society event held in Parliament yesterday.

The event was chaired by Dr Laura Miller from the Hansard Society eDemocracy programme.

From the Society’s website:

This event discussed the use of online strategies and their increasing importance, encouragement of grass-roots activism and ability to enable mass mobilisation. But there is no guarantee that the cooption of online strategies will guarantee electoral success or promote healthy dialogue between politicians and citizens.

You can watch the video here.

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MPs Are Very Good At T’Internet Shocker

Iain Dale has headlined his blog post on today’s Hansard Society / Microsoft report, “MPs Not Very Good At T’Internet Shocker”, but it seems to me you could just as well draw the opposite conclusion.

There’s much that’s good and thoughtful and interesting in the report, but … it still suffers from what most such reports suffer from, which is the chain of assumptions, “The internet is good. Politicians should therefore use the internet more. The more different ways they use the internet the better. If there’s any way they’re not using the internet, that’s bad.”

There is some truth …

Posted in News and Online politics | Also tagged | 1 Comment

LDV, ConHome and DraperList go head-to-head (ish)

LDV’s Mark Pack will be speaking alongside ConservativeHome‘s Jonathan Isaby and LabourList‘s Derek Draper on 24th March at an event organised by the Hansard Society entitled, The Online Campaign – solution or smokescreen? Details below and at the Society’s website.

Tuesday 24 March, 10am, House of Commons, Westminster.

The use of online strategies is becoming increasingly important, encouraging grass-roots activism and enabling mass mobilisation. But there is no guarantee that the cooption of online strategies will guarantee electoral success or promote healthy dialogue between politicians and citizens.This eDemocracy event will gather the leading thinkers on this subject to discuss

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