[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Most 'feel excluded by politics'
Police officer stands guard at Parliament
Visitors to a Westminster exhibition said guards could be more friendly
The majority of people feel excluded by Parliament and think politics is conducted by and for an elite, a Hansard Society survey suggests.

Some 80% of the 45,000 visitors surveyed at the society's House and Home Exhibition said they wanted to be consulted on issues before Parliament.

Many told the body, which campaigns for effective democracy, they wanted more details about what went on there.

Political reporters are criticised too for being too close to politicians.

'This is our house'

Exclusion was the frustration most commonly expressed by visitors to the exhibition at Westminster Hall between 12 July and 2 August to celebrate the society's 60th anniversary.

One visitor said: "Everyone kow-tows to MPs and Lords in this building, but it's my taxes that pay for it.

Another said: "The security staff could be more welcoming - we're not terrorists. This is our house."

Visitors said there was a lack of information about what happened in the House of Commons and many had no idea about how to find out what debates were coming up.

Some called for more use of the internet, emails, text messaging and video archiving.

If they feel excluded and their voices unheard, what challenge does that give politicians and journalists in how to fulfil their role in communication of parliamentary democracy in the UK?
Clare Ettinghausen
Hansard Society director

Others wanted detailed proposals of the government's consultation papers published on the internet so they could comment on them.

"Each MP should have a weblog or e-journal of their parliamentary and constituency activities," one visitor said.

Respondents to the survey appeared to see reporters as part of the same club as politicians and criticised them for failing to explain political terms.

Hansard Society director Clare Ettinghausen said: "The worrying aspect of the exhibition survey results is that these citizens, by the very fact they visited a political exhibition at the heart of Westminster, are the ones who care most about politics.

"If they feel excluded and their voices unheard, what challenge does that give politicians and journalists in how to fulfil their role in communication of parliamentary democracy in the UK?"

The House and Home exhibition runs at Westminster Hall until 20 August or visit the website www.housetohomelive.com.


SEE ALSO:
Pink portal promotes Parliament
13 Jul 04  |  BBC Parliament
Apathy blights Euro poll
14 Jun 04  |  Europe


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific