Tuesday’s question for short debate, put by Lord Renton – “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to increase the connection between Parliament and the public” – can be read here.
Because of the number of speakers, each – other than Lord Renton and the minister – had a maximum of three minutes. Lord Renton quoted from some contributions to his earlier post. I drew on my visit to Shoeburyness High School last week. The debate was rather wide-ranging. Because the question was directed to the Government, I argued the case for greater resources for citizenship education. I got a sympathetic response from the Leader of the House.
I also identified the criteria that we should have in mind in seeking to increase the connection between Parliament and the public. We need to ensure that what we do is accessible, interactive (we want to hear from the public and not simply push material out to them), targeted (not everyone is interested in what we do, but different publics are), and emphasise substance over process. Our procedures are relevant, but most members of the public are likely to be interested in what we are saying, rather than the mechanisms by which we say it. “If we can keep those criteria in mind, our attempts at connecting can be both effective and efficient.”
I managed to keep within my three minutes.