Dr Andy Williamson is founder of Future Digital, an Associate at Involve, and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Manchester. He is author of the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Social Media Guidelines for Parliaments. He explains why he thinks politics is fundamentally broken, and what we have to do to fix it.
(Am I an activist?). I can be. I can be stroppy and awkward when I want to be. I’m don’t think I’m an activist particularly, my role is perhaps more of an agitator. I have the privilege of working on both sides of the system. I think one of the problems of activists, is they become…activist can be a negative term because an activist can be seen as someone is simply taking one issue a little bit too seriously, and shouting a lot about it – they’re probably right and have a good point, but they can be a bit of a one trick pony, and that can start to be a bit of a pain in the side, and they’re really necessary and they do a really good job, but actually there’s a need for a second lot of people who come along and work with both sides. The future isn’t about us of them, it’s not about citizens and politicians – we talk about “citizen engagement”, it’s almost patronising. We should be talking about participation in the broadest sense, we should be looking at partnerships. The role that I have, and I’ve created a fascinating niche in a way is that I work with both sides. …. So I’m more of an agitator for change across the whole system than trying to be dogmatic about the need to create this revolutionary change.