Democracy makes itself at home online

Geoff Mulgan on the creation of new parties in 2015 at NESTA: “….On its own the Internet is an imperfect tool for making decisions or shaping options. Opening decisions up to large numbers of people doesn’t automatically make decisions better (the ‘wisdom of crowds’). But in the right circumstances the Internet can involve far more people in shaping policy and sharing their expertise.
Hybrid models that combine the openness of the Internet with a continuing role for parliaments, committees and leaders in making decisions and being held to account are showing great promise (something being pursued in Nesta’s D-CENT project in countries like Finland and Iceland, and in our work with Podemos in Spain).
My prediction is that the aftermath of the UK election will see the first Internet-age parties emerge in the UK, our own versions of Podemos or Democracy OS. My hope is that they will help to engage millions of people currently detached from politics, and to provide them with ways to directly influence ideas and decisions. UKIP has tapped into that alienation – but mainly offers a better yesterday rather than a plausible vision of the future. That leaves a gap for new parties that are more at home in the 21st century and can target a much younger age group.
If new parties do spring up, the old ones will have to respond. Before long open primaries, deliberations on the Internet, and crowd-sourced policy processes could become the norm. As that happens politics will become messier and more interesting. Leaders will have to be adept at responding to contradictory currents of opinion, with more conversation and fewer bland speeches. The huge power once wielded by newspaper owners, commentators and editors will almost certainly continue to decline.
The hope, in short, is that democracy could be reenergised…. (More).