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Re-Engaging the Public with Democracy by a Visit to Parliament

Submitted on Fri, 18/09/2009 - 12:16pm

Parliament is taking part in Open House London this weekend. Members of the public will be able to see Portcullis House and Westminster Hall. They will also be able to attend exhibitions on Big Ben and political figures. If you're visiting London this weekend, I highly recommend you take a look at central government's power house.

I don't blame the public for not being interested in politics, our representatives have never looked dodger. The vast majority of MPs were charging the public for ridiculous expenses, including moats. Some of our local Councillors don't have a fantastic reputation either; Cllr John Hedley has just been reprimanded by East Herts District Council for bullying. UK politics seems more and more like a script off Eastenders.

Many believe that the answer to re-engaging politics with the public is electoral reform. There are numerous campaigns set up, such as Vote for a Change, Power 2010, and Democracy Plus. But our political system is complex and the vast majority of people can't give an informed opinion on electoral reform because they lack the knowledge to do so. Even though I'm an unashamed politico, I'm guilty too; I only just discovered that the role of Lord Privy Seal existed after watching an episode of The Tudors.

In my opinion the best way to connect people with politics is to enable the public to practically experience the political system. Just after I finished University I participated in an internship with a think tank and was able to visit parliament. From the moments I stepped into Portcullis House I knew I wanted to get involved with politics. In my new suit I was amazed by the energetic atmosphere and it dawned on me that this is where democracy happens and we can all implement change. Going to parliament should be an important rite of passage for all British Citizens.

If you can't go to parliament this weekend, you can request a tour of parliament from your MP. Believe me, it won't be an experience you will easily forget.

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