Over the past few years in the UK there has been a growing sense of disillusionment in the transparency of parliament and its elected officials. Revelations and the resulting scandal over unnecessary expense claims mean that our trust in MPs has never been lower.
Lord David Puttnam (a previous chairman at Nesta) gave an excellent speech earlier this week called Parliament and Young People - Bringing the Two Together in a Digital World, which highlights the gulf between traditional politics and the expectations of our young. He argues that politics needs to change dramatically and that technology offers an unprecedented ability for younger people to engage in this process - if only those in power can find ways of listening.
There's reason to be hopeful. Our recently elected parliament, with an unprecedented number of new MPs - many of whom are themselves younger and more adept with technology than the previous cohort - offers an opportunity for a step-change in democratic engagement.
Now all we need is a useful way of bringing these two groups together.
Luckily, those clever people at PublicZone have launched MyMP, supported by Nesta. It's an iPhone app that allows better communication between MPs and their constituents. The free application connects to a specially built website for each of the MPs, where they can canvas opinion on local and national issues, share local news, publish events, plans and surgery times.
The trial service presents an opportunity for people to engage with politics and local issues on platforms that are increasingly second nature to them. Please try it and if your MP isn't registered, don't fear, you can still e-mail her/him from the app.
I thought that I'd add in some up-to-date audience insight on mobile usage, just to show you our workings out. By 2012, 50 per cent of all mobile phone users will be using internet-enabled mobiles. This research was conducted by the wonderful Patrick Hourihan at Yahoo! London.