Parliament is a place where people come to parler – talk, argue, and settle the affairs of the nation using words rather than weapons. Right now the British parliament is not fulfilling the function. The Labour Party has elected to go into internal exile and can find no words that impact on the nation’s direction of travel. This will change but not yet. The Lib Dems have been reduced to a rump after Nick Clegg’s vanity project of exchanging his party’s heavyweight role in public life for the ephemeral, transitory pleasures of red boxes and government limousines. For the first time in centuries there are no MPs from Scotland in the Commons speaking to and for the people of Britain as a whole.

This atrophied parliament where speech no longer matters is mirrored in an atrophied press where at times every comment article appears to have been written by Sir Simon Jenkins and the political weeklies are a shadow of what once they were

Yet never has there been such a hunger for public debate. There has been an explosion of conferences, big and small, in every corner of the country where real political debate takes place live as it atrophies in Parliament. Literary and speakers festivals pullulate while outfits like Funzing pull in 80-100 people for Brick Lane debates on Trump or Brexit. As party meetings wither on the vine, Waterstones and other bookstores organise well-attended debates on the political issues of the day. Chris Mullin, who retired from the Commons in 2010, says he has never been so busy speaking at events where people want to learn first-hand about politics without being filtered through a pale, stale established media.

As a pro-European writer I have done debates with Brexit enthusiasts Tim Montgomerie, Tony Young, Simon Heffer, Peter Hitchens and Iain Martin of this parish. The events all have been well-attended with lively questions.

Now this summer we will see the launch of new political moments based on the idea that citizens can debate politics outside the narrow, limited control of today’s parliamentary parties or single issue outfits like Ukip or the Greens.

First out is The Convention, an initiative by Henry Porter and Open Democracy who have convened a meeting at Central Hall Westminster on 11 May. At its launch event, rather worryingly in Notting Hill, Porter and the tax QC Jolyon Maugham, who campaigns against Brexit, made impassioned speeches for a new political movement – liberal(ish), social(ish), and above all anti-isolation(ish).

Porter joins another respected journalist engagé, Hugo Dixon, whose Common Ground, another movement hoping to see if the current public sense of dismay, at times despair, about exiting political parties can translate into a new politics. It is the transfer of Macronologie to Britain but if the new hope of post-party politics does not win in France, then his cause dies with him and with it the hopes of a new politics across the Channel.

Another initiative based on 3 days of debate at Kings Place, the Guardian’s events centre at Kings Cross, has been launched by the journalists Ian Birrell and Steve Richards, both on the left but not too much. Their grandly named Politics Festival starting on the first anniversary of Brexit – 23rd June – has an impressive cast last of usual suspect speakers. It sounds a lot more fun than the party conferences and allows cross-current exchanges instead of a true believers’ event like the Fabian New Year conference.

Can any of this work or is it just the enthusiasms of London political journalists sick to death of the sheer vacuity of politics since this time last year? In the end the first rule of politics is “First get yourself elected.” But elections are won on the basis of words and ideas and there are no commanding words or interesting ideas from the current party systems and the politicians they produce.

This summer there will be plenty of politics, free of party or big editor control, for everyone. What it leads to is anyone’s guess but if it makes the words of politics more stimulating and original then today’s offer then it can only do good.

Denis MacShane is the former Minister of Europe whose book Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe published in January 2015 predicted the referendum outcome.