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30 June 2021

Parliament, the internet and a story of dramatic changes

A new book by a King’s College London academic charts the dramatic impact the internet has had upon one of the UK’s ancient political institutions.

Houses of Parliament
Electrified Democracy tells the story of the internet’s complete incorporation into day-to-day parliamentary life.

Electrified Democracy, by Dr Andrew Blick, tells the story of the internet’s complete incorporation into day-to-day parliamentary life, from early encounters with computers in the 1960s right through to the pandemic and the ‘virtual Parliament’.

The book, published by Cambridge University Press, also places the impact of technology on parliamentary workings in its longer-term historical context. Dr Blick identifies repeating patterns of perception and analysis, and cultural tendencies in the perception of inventions dating back over centuries that have reasserted themselves in connection with the parliamentary response to networked computers.

Dr Blick, head of the Department of Political Economy, uncovers evidence and makes new connections, while situating all this within the wider global debates on connections between communication and democracy in the age of the Internet, constitutional law and history, and 'law and technology'.

Professor Vernon Bogdanor, from King’s College London, said: “The internet is affecting all our institutions, parliament in particular. Andrew is one of the first to investigate its consequences, making extensive use of hitherto unused primary sources. This book is of fundamental importance for those who seek to be informed about one of the most vital political developments of our time.”

Find out more about the book here.

In this story

Andrew  Blick

Head of the Department of Political Economy and Professor of Politics and Contemporary History