Virtual House of Commons Launches, Offering Parliamentary Debate
A 21-year-old traffic warden from Birmingham today launches a House of Commons-style debating chamber online, enabling ordinary citizens to voice their views on topical issues in parliamentary fashion. ‘Live Debate’ (http://www.livedebate.co.uk), the brainchild of politically-motivated Darren Andrews, is an online debating chamber where users can have their say and cast their votes on a range of daily political and current affairs questions, from superinjunctions to the plight of the Lib Dems.
On the cleverly-designed ‘Live Debate’ site, a virtual House of Commons features a side for ‘supporters’ and a side for ‘opposition’. Registered users can ‘speak’ for or against a question in daily head-to-head debates. They can also rate other people’s arguments, using Facebook-style ‘like’ buttons. Every time a user ‘likes’ a comment, it increases the score for that particular line of reasoning. Scores accumulate and are totted up when the debate comes to an end.
Current propositions for debate include “The World is a safer place now that Osama Bin Laden is dead”, “Rich celebrities have the right to hide behind superinjunctions” and “Britain can afford the amount of foreign aid it is giving”.
As in the House of Commons, a user – on entering a debate room – sees light green and dark green ‘seats’. Light green means that the seat is empty and a fresh comment can be made. A dark green seat, however, is occupied, meaning that it contains an existing comment. To view existing comments and the number of ‘likes’ received, the user simply clicks on the dark green seats.
Although the ‘Live Debate’ website launches today, the idea was borne when Darren Andrews was inspired by ‘The Social Network’ movie in 2010. After several months of searching for a fresh concept, in February 2011, he spotted footage on YouTube showing a heated clash between David Cameron and Gordon Brown in the House of Commons. Darren wanted to create an online destination where the ‘clash of the titans’ could be replicated. The resulting site is run with help from his younger brother, Stewart Andrews, a student in Birmingham.
Darren Andrews said: “I wanted to create a website where people could debate important issues from the world of politics and current affairs. The idea was to create a virtual House of Commons, and the design and layout of the site were crucial to this aim. Live Debate caters for anyone who wishes to debate hot topics free of charge.”