Virtual Parliament

Author: Craig Nicol

What NEED does this meet?

A project for all the people who don’t think Westminster is for them – a virtual parliament where members can stand for election, debate issues and vote.

What is the APPROACH?

It’s like parliament, with all those long debates about the CAP and road tolls, but on-line and with real people instead of career politicians.

What are the BENEFITS to people?

You can debate any time, and discuss issues. Politics without the politicians 🙂

What is the COMPETITION?

Westminster is competition, but they can make laws and this one can’t. I’ll add that to the bug database.

What BUDGETS & LOGISTICS are required?

Debates and issues could easily be built on a PledgeBank platform (“I will double income to the NHS if 2/3rds of elected members agree with me”) although you’d need to add a list of dissenters to the pledge. Could easily add other mysociety properties by redirecting the underlying search queries to the new platform.


  1. “You can debate any time, and discuss issues. Politics without the politicians :-)”

    Can’t you do this on any messageboard? What real benefit would this have?

  2. Though I suspect this has been entered as a slightly cynical jibe at the lack of real representation we have with our current parliament, maybe behind this is the basis of a good idea. If we were to build a viable online alternative to Parliament it may help destroy the myth that there is no real alternative to the faux democracy we are presented with.

    Better than that though would be to build an “open source” model for an alternative system of governance. Rather than debate stuff (which as Alan Jones points out can really be done in any chat room or message board) we could use “open source” principles to modify, tweak and build a better, continually improving, theoretical parliamentary system. The resulting “living document” could possibly become the argument and the catalyst for real change, especially in a political environment currently starved of big ideas. Maybe I will propose this separately. I would have to give it a lot more thought than I have already.

  3. Yeah .. the problem is that you can’t cut or raise taxes, call the troops back from Iraq, get rid of top up fees, get rid of ID cards, keep state pensions at age 65 or do anything else useful or meaningful.

    It’s a great soundbite idea but it’s go no real substance.

    In fact, it will probably have as much “impact” on “people’s lives” as Speaker’s Corner or a newsgroup.

  4. I created this a few years back – but only really putting it online now, as I’ve just discovered a place that will host it for free.

    [broken link to Net Representative removed, July 2013]

  5. I think it’s a great idea, in fact I’ve just devloped a prototype here:

    The initial prototype is focussed solely on suggesting solutions and encouraging debate on those solutions, and solutions proposed by MP’s, political party’s and the government. I believe the Virtual Parliament would generate some very useful ideas and debate, but it would need to be taken seriously by politicians or possibly even be given some real power for it to have a major impact.