No national newspaper has a parliamentary page any longer. The broadcast media barely covers parliamentary proceedings apart from the Today/Yesterday in Parliament on Radio 4. So I have come up with a simple way for Parliament to bypass the mainstream media and have a stab at reviving interest in parliamentary debate.
As most people know, all proceedings on the floor of the House of Commons and Westminster Hall are recorded. The BBC Parliament Channel shows live coverage from the floor of the House and some of the Select Committees but there's very little interpretation of it and the coverage is far from comprehensive.
So here's a thought. Why not do two things? First of all start a Select Committee Blog on the Parliament website, which would be written in an accessible way and highlight all that's going on in the Select Committees. Second of all, Parliament should start its own Internet TV Channel and stream not just the proceedings on the floor of the House but also Westminster Hall, the House of Lords and Select Committees of both Houses. Each session would then be archived for On Demand download. It would certainly not cost the earth to do and would be a genuine public service and a great way of opening up Parliament to a much bigger audience. Perhaps then people might realise that MPs so really valuable work even when they are not in the main Chamber of the House.
There is already a Parliament Live Channel HERE but you could be forgiven for not knowing about it. It's got a tiny little click-thru on the Parliament Website Homepage and it's not comprehensive enough. With very little extra expense it could be made into something really interactive and all-encompassing.
The parliamentary website had an overhaul not that long ago but it is difficult to navigate and not particularly well designed from an aesthetic point of view. Unfortunately the website is run by the Serjeant at Arms Office, who are the most difficult and intransigent people you could ever hope to work with. Many an MP has been drive to the verge of tears by their 'can't do' approach. It is they who are the barrier to technical innovation in Parliament and it is the politicians who need to assert their authority over them.