Wednesday 29th July, 2009
2:15pm to 3:00pm
The European Parliament was worried that fewer people are voting in European and national elections. So they funded an e-participation programme to see how to engage more citizens with legislatures. They were particularly concerned that fewer young people are voting and joining political parties.
But young people are not apolitical. They wear armbands, join boycotts, turn out in millions to cancel debt or protest wars: it is just traditional politics and traditional consultations that put them off. So the challenge is to see how to adapt government to the ways young people communicate, rather than bore them with the old ways of influencing policy in citizenship lessons.
Since many young people spend a lot of time on the Internet and mobile 'phones, not just reading, but creating words, music, pictures and videos, why not let them discuss policy issues there? Then all we need is a mechanism for collecting their creative ideas, recommendations, organise them by issue, and present them to policy-makers.
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