Mobile app that provides a poltical service?

Do we think there is a demand for a mobile app that provides one simple poltical service for people to access on the go? What would it do? What would it look like?

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If users logged in to a Something New app, could see in real-time the legislation that is passing through Parliament, see what stage it’s at (committee; first reading; second reading etc) and explanations of what the legislation means. We could state our ‘official’ position on it, and have a vote button. Vote enough times and you can change our official position on the legislation.

Does that sound like it would: a) have value to people who aren’t our members or natural supporters? b) provide a unique service that isn’t offered anywhere else? c) sound feasible with available technology?

There is of course a danger it could be ‘hijacked’ by entryists who seek to subvert our naturally progressive agenda. But that’s the risk with true democracy isn’t it!

Certainly getting people to express their opinions easily would be a good thing. I should think that’s somewhere we could use Represent.

Perhaps the mobile experience should be something like:

  • List current things in the news (automatically, perhaps)
  • Link through to our policy, with an edit button to make it better
  • View existing policy suggestions in that area and vote (or express your opinion).

I like the idea of a combined official voting interface and a public “what do you think” non-binding poll.

It would take a little bit of maintenance, but could be powerful. Hmm.

I’m hesitant about a direct poll of app users. Highly unrepresentative democracy! Unless you start doing professional statistics like the pollsters do, it is at best a meaningless gesture of participation, and at worst open to - as you say - entryism or other democratic dysfunction.

However, I share the sentiment that politics needs more tech. The core concept seems good, and there is a huge need for apps in the canvassing/volunteer organisation side of things.

Yes, it would be a very biased sample, but it could be a useful engagement tool, if not a guide to actual opinion…