For a country with a better than average social welfare safety net, Britain still seems to enjoy plenty of social entrepreneurship. These days the UK is a seething hotbed of activity aimed at opening up the political process to the masses.
MySociety has just launched a blog-based website called Downing Street Says. It strips out into a readable format each topic covered in the Prime Minister’s spokesman’s daily Q&A with political correspondents, and allows the public to add comments. (BBC story here.)Official transcripts of the daily Q&A and the PM’s monthly press conference are available somewhere on the UK government website. But they’re difficult to find, published in long clumps of text, and of course have no comments sections. Downing Street Says has been put together by volunteers who simply want to make the process more open to the public, and it makes for an interesting read.
I’m still a bit on the fence about how much these initiatives really improve democracy, but hats off to the people who’ve used their spare time and talents to put this together. Also worth looking at is faxyourmp, and a whole slate of projects that MySociety is currently fundraising for. James Crabtree at VoxPolitics is an excellent source of information and opinion about developments in this field.
Now if only someone would take on Hansard…