We're MPs! We've got mobiles! We use YouTube!

Well done to the Home Affairs Select Committee for its Citizen Calling initiative.

The topic is young people and the criminal justice system. The Home Affairs Select Committee wants your help to define how Parliament should look at the issue. They will set some questions – the idea is that you use your phone to send your views in as either txt, video, audio or images.

But… ouch. Some clumsy examples of kidspeak (what ‘decent gear’ are you offering?)… and a big ugly registration form, before you’re allowed to participate. Although the Hansard Society’s website helpfully tells you the number to contact, without having to surrender your personals. It’s 07786201247.

Committee chairman John Denham does his best to sell it to The Kids via YouTube, in a video supposedly ‘recorded on a mobile phone’. (Ooh, how cutting edge.)

I really want to be enthusiastic about this… but it feels like a classic case of ‘medium not message’. The existence of YouTube, and the ability to send video from place to place, is not in itself going to change the ways politics happens. You’ll only win people’s trust when they can see their input – in whatever format they can deliver it – having a direct effect.

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