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And so it begins...

People%27s Politician Blog Administrator | 12:16 UK time, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The People%27s Politician launched this morning. Put simply, it's an experiment to work out why around 17 million people registered to vote at the last general election did not do so.

It gives us a chance to test out some of the ideas behind direct democracy - the posh term for the vastly overused quote "power to the people" - and to uncover what motivates the public's interest (or not) in politics.

It is for a programme to be aired on BBC Two early in 2010.

First, we go to the constituency of Maidstone and the Weald, Kent - home to our first MP, the Conservative Ann Widdecombe - to spend three weeks allowing her constituents, and public as a whole, an unusually high level of access to their representative.
We've given Ann a website, a Twitter account, a blog and the ability to record a video diary.

While what she does with them is entirely up to her, we have stressed the importance of trying these tools out for at least as long as the experiment runs.

We have also opened up voting on her website, both on local and national issues. We have even promised access to Ann from any constituent who gets enough signatures on their petition.

You can keep up-to-date with the experiment here on the blog, on our Twitter, Flickr and on Delicious.

We intend to make the experiment as open and as transparent as possible while it is happening. So, on our blog, rushes of the programme will be uploaded as well.

In the New Year, Richard Caborn - Labour MP for Sheffield Central - will undergo a similar process.

One important thing to stress is that it is an experiment in how the public and politicians can re-connect - it's not about party political campaigning and the politicians involved have agreed to it on those terms.

The press conference was at 9.30am. It was certainly an interesting affair. Much more to follow....

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