Can Digital Technology help the dying UK Political system?
Hello all! Happy New year! Now that everyone has recovered from the food-filled Christmas period and have made their ‘realistic and achievable’ New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to delve into and question the UK Political System
The UK Government explained
Confused or unsure about how the UK government works? Don’t worry, well explain it! We like to blame the national curriculum for this (and also lack of knowledge on taxes and how to practically live alone after leaving school)
The government is run by two bodies
· the Prime Minister, who is currently, our conservative gal Theresa May who is ultimately responsible for all policies and decisions made.
· The cabinet, which is made up of senior members of the government. Every week the cabinet meet and discuss important issues for the Government.
There is a total of 120 ministers
· 1 Prime Minister
· 27 Cabinet Ministers
· 97 Other Ministers
As you can see, there’s a lot of ministers, but how is the Government run you ask?
· Government departments such as the Ministry of Defence (and no there is no Ministry of Magic before you ask in the comments)
· Executive agencies which provide government services rather than decide policies
· Other public bodies
There is also the civil service which includes practical and administrative work for movement and is managed by the Prime Minister
Now that we all have a basic understanding of the UK Government its time to questioned whether it is outdated and consequently, dying
The UK’s political system dying
In the last 20 years, it is noted that voter turnout at general elections has declined as there has been an increase in Public disengagement with the political process. For example, in the 2010 general election, only 44% of 18-25-year-olds voted!
If you’re reading this and have not given a second thought about registering to vote or have not even bothered to vote I would now like you to think deeply about the current political mess we are all living in. Every vote counts. Do not sit around and wait for a change to happen, it is your future.
Now our mini motivational vote interlude is over, the blog shall continue…
A new democratic system is needed in the UK to tempt more young people back into the political system and we must do this by forcing more politicians to fully embrace the digital age.
How Digital Technology can help?
I believe that Politicians need to react to the challenges of digital disruption, by doing so they will be able to start to revolutionize the whole political process and boost voter engagement
If you read our previous blog posts on Brexit and Trump’s presidential election, you may argue that in these recent events digital technology and social media sites such as Twitter has taken over and can be blamed for the result elections and referendums. Yes, this is true but digital awareness of daily political votes or updates with parliament is lacking and needs to be updated to keep up with the Digital world.
A great example for setting the standard for digital democracy in Estonia. In March 2015, 30% of voters submitted their ballot online, a 25% increase on the previous parliamentary election in 2011. An improvement the UK needs to experience! Interested in knowing more about Digital Democracy? Check out our previous blog post!
Despite the need to move the UK further into a digital democracy, many elite politicians resist the change, failure to take action can lead to the crisis expanding and can cause further endangerment to the democratic process
But what if digital technology is unable to improve politics?
“To re-energize democracy, we need to spend less time talking about technology, and more time understanding how it helps ordinary people develop a sense of their own agency and creates new sources of power”
Yes, digital campaigns are great for leaders in getting their message across, and technology helps the public to voice their ideas on current political events but does it really make a significant difference? Technology will continue to change and evolve, maybe we should focus more on listening to individuals and targeting their issues personally instead of cleaning up a political mess with technology
Let us know your thoughts and opinions on this topic in the comments below!
Until next time…
As always, reliable sources provided
Dixon, R., Heimans, J., 2011. Technology is a great tool- but it is people that will change politics. The Guardian(online), 26 June 2011. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jun/26/politics-change-new-technology [Accessed 8 December 2018]
Gov.UK, n.d. How Government Works [online]. London: England. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/how-government-works
Jones, R., 2015. The UK’s political system is dying, but digital technology offers an alternative. The Guardian(online), 1 April 2015. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/apr/01/uk-political-system-digital-technology [Accessed 28 December 2018]