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Key points in this POSTnote include:

  • Political participation includes involvement in formal politics, such as voting in elections, and informal activities, such as activism and political consumerism.
  • Participation in key aspects of formal UK politics has declined over the past 50 years. Drivers of disengagement include mistrust of politicians, and concerns that the system is unrepresentative and lacks relevance.
  • Young people are increasingly likely to participate in new forms of informal politics, often based on single issues and facilitated by the internet.
  • Democratic institutions may be able to harness interest in informal political participation as a way of increasing engagement in formal processes.
  • Challenges remain around how to engage people who are not involved in any formal or informal political process.

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