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Synergise Finland in London: The renewal of democracy starts with taking action


Elina Kiiski Kataja


The Synergise Finland Forum organised an excursion to the United Kingdom in January to find out about what kind of innovations have been made there in the field of democracy. The participants had meetings with over twenty parties working to improve democracy at different levels, from the administrative to the grass roots level.

“In the UK, there is a lot of innovation and creation of new ideas going on in the field of democracy, not by the current administration, but in spite of it,” said Jon Worth, a well-known British political blogger, during a discussion we had in autumn of 2011 on the opportunities London would offer for the trip.

While opinions on the government’s ability to innovate may of course differ, at the very least Worth was not wrong about ongoing activity in civil society. Britain offered huge opportunities to learn about innovation activities in the field of democracy in a country where public sector spending is subject to massive cuts, structures are rigid, and trust in the media is undermined by increasing suspicion, not helped by the phone-hacking scandals of 2011.

In spite of all this, it seemed that all of the different parties the forum members talked to during the excursion had certain things in common: a hope for a better tomorrow, a belief in the ability of democracy to develop further, and the determination to take action.

During the excursion, the Synergise Finland forum looked at engagement and marginalisation in Britain, as well as administrative development, the opportunities of the Internet and technology, and current developments in the field of global democracy.

The New Democracy page contains a series of online articles on the impressions of those participating in the excursion and the innovations in democracy witnessed in London. A warm thank you to the excursion participants for the interviews which complement the articles.