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A motion to regret virtual parliaments

Democracy is not digital

By James Graham   June 2020

What might we also lose in a world of dial-in representatives? © Han Yan/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images/Prospect composite

Well it finally happened. Parliament, like your mum, has been forced to learn to Zoom. People are not so different in character from the institutions that oversee them. It usually takes a shock to alter old patterns of behaviour. And, true to our national stereotype, the palace that houses the longest continually-functioning democracy on Earth knew what it liked and was stuck in its ways. It was, after all, the last major democratic chamber to allow TV cameras inside, in 1989, after umming and ahhing for 30 years.

But against the urgent backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the…

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