All mainstream parties support initiatives to connect with our concerns and win our votes. While flattering us as active political subjects though, they increasingly view us as objects: cross-party enthusiasm for behavioural science means our brains and psychology are studied with anthropological zeal. Is there a danger of viewing the ‘public’ as lab rats in need of nudging to entice us to make the right choices? Contributors to this fascinating debate, at the Institute of ideas Pre-election summit, suggest we may be technically enfranchised but politically disenfranchised and some nasty ideas from a pre-democratic age are re-emerging. Speakers include Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill, Professor Gerry Stoker, the founder of Involve Richard Wilson and Director of the RSA’s Social Brain project Matt Grist.