UK Labour leader commits to introducing a ‘digital democracy’

Digital Democracy Manifesto launchUK Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has pledged that if elected under his leadership, the Labour Party will use digital advances to improve access to political information and engagement.

This morning, the Labour Leader launched his ‘Digital Democracy Manifesto‘ from Newspeak House in Shoreditch.

In his speech, Corbyn discussed the current need to “democratise the internet” and announced that Labour would look at introducing online voting in elections.

Access to information

Firstly, he outlined the disproportionate access to high speed broadband and mobile connectivity across the country, and how it creates barriers to information and learning.

“Across the country, outside of the South East and especially in rural and remote parts of the UK, people are struggling with slow or no internet. In today’s connected age, this inequality of coverage is not trivial – it is a source of social and economic isolation”

On the topic of readily available information, the Labour leader pledged to launch what he describes as a “free-to-use online hub” called an ‘Open Knowledge Library’, a digital repository of lessons, lectures, and curricula.

Labour leadership challenge
Jeremy Corbyn: “If we can be sure of its reliability, we’ll introduce online voting in elections.”

Access to engagement

He went on to discuss how he would improve democratic engagement amongst the electorate, promising a more accessible, open debate on political affairs.

“We will organise online and offline meetings for individuals and communities to deliberate about pressing political issues and participate in devising new legislation. And if we can be sure of its reliability, we will look to introduce online voting in elections.”

In contrast to the post-Brexit whisperings of young voter apathy, Corbyn promoted the zealousness of the younger generation, and stated that “the creativity of the networked young generation is phenomenal. We have tens of thousands of young volunteers on our campaign all over the UK taking part in this digital revolution”

The Opposition Leader concluded that if the party are elected under his leadership, he will commit to making the above changes.

“The challenge is to now take this forward to the next general election. Labour under my leadership will utilise the advances of digital technology so that we can mobilise the most visible, targeted and effective General Election campaign in British history”

Reacting to the online voting announcement, WebRoots Democracy published a statement calling for “all political parties and the prime minister to back the reform”.

WebRoots Democracy’s statement can be read on the Guardian website, and in full here.

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