February 27, 2013
can anyone be a MEP? what if we could all be MEPs, at the same time, all the time?
While some would argue that I’m rooting for building the largest Parliamentary Assembly hall ever, this is not what this is about! Because the largest Parliamentary Assembly space is already in place, and in many ways it is already working – it’s called the internet!
Here’s an idea – allow the people to tell you what they think – open up the Parliament to the public opinion, but don’t make it a sterile experience. Sure, opening the door to a 500 million strong opinion pool might sound like insane. But let’s be fair – of the 500 million about 75% actually use the internet. Of those 75%, according to Eurostat some 20% use the internet for “Reading and posting opinions on civic or political issues” and some other 10% for “Taking part in online consultations or voting”. So that would leave us with some 30% out of the initial 75% – population that is civic /politically active online. Rough numbers that’s some 113 285 709 possible user for a first stage of development of such a platform. That is still huge, no matter how you account for it. The infrastructure alone to accommodate such an immense number of user would be rivaling that of popular social media sites.
But let’s chop it down, constructively – let’s say you implement a registering system. One that asks for details about the citizen, that would imply not using a handle but your real name. Some will be put off by this at start. But I think that if this would actually work such fears could be easily overlooked. But if you allow for a smaller representation scale, say 10 friends that have similar views, and already have a system among them for decision making in what concerns group activities than you could in theory allow not individual membership for all 10, but 1 voice for the group. That would mean that if all of the 113 285 709 people decide to actually get involved, then you narrow it down to 11 328 571 collective users. Which is a lot more manageable.
If you then take working groups in the European Parliament and assign them specific “dialogue rooms” online, then most likely not all users would be interested in all topics all the time. So it would be way easier to manage such information load.
In time, should it work, of course it can be expanded to accommodate the entire online active EU population.
The question is why. And the answer is that this would enable elected MEPs to keep a lifeline open with the people they are representing, and enable a great deal of information pertaining to specific topics to move down-up, from those that have most experience in dealing with that topic in real-life. And it would be a great chance for the people to become and feel actively participating in the legislative process. It would also be a great tool for promoting citizen dialogue across the Union. And establish and promote European Citizenship.
Everybody wins – more democracy is enabled!Horatiu Ferchiu