Every Parliament needs one and for Holyrood that role has fallen to Patrick Harvie of the Greens. I am talking, of course, of the necessary drive to open up Parliament and make it accessible to as many people as possible.

So, Patrick’s common sense but nonetheless unlikely to be taken up suggestion of allowing social media to be used in the Scottish Parliament chamber is this week’s motion of the week:

Motion S4M-01085 – Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Scottish Green Party) : Social Media in the Scottish Parliament
That the Parliament notes the decision of members of the House of Commons to permit the responsible use of mobile devices and social media in the debating chamber; considers that debates would not benefit if members used electronic devices in ways that did not relate to the subject under debate; notes, however, that members are already expected not to read in the chamber printed material that is unrelated to the debate and that a similar rule could apply to the use of electronic devices; considers that the use of social media during parliamentary debates can be a way of engaging the public in the political process and can enhance democratic participation, and would welcome consideration of a possible change to the Parliament’s rules by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, the Presiding Officer and members themselves.

Supported by: Humza Yousaf, John Park

I have no doubt that there is a lot of really great debate that takes place at Holyrood that doesn’t see the light of day. It gets typed up by a secretary and sits on the records until the end of time.

How much better would it be to have rip-roaring debates going live online, pulling punters in that would otherwise be uninterested in political debate? And yes, I’m largely thinking of Twitter here but Facebook and blogs could be updated from within the Chamber too. Why not?

The online discussions around First Minister’s Question, BBC Question Time and Leader Debates are excellent fun while still being substantive. The only thing that tends to be lacking is the people in the room, the people taking part in the discussion, also taking part in the online debate.

Patrick Harvie gets a bit of stick for being Holyrood’s Twitterer-in-Chief but he is pushing the boundaries of what Holyrood can be and who can access it and, for that, and for many other reasons, we salute him.