At least the Brits are doing something about online engagement

Tony Blair’s advisor gets all “sky is falling” with blogs and the web. As a result, UK bloggers were not amused.

“We have a citizenry which can be caricatured as being increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government,” Mr Taylor told the audience.

Maybe then you create systems that allow self-governance? “unwilling to be governed” , er maybe unwilling to be governed by you I would think? I’m sure the people want more input into what their tax money is being spent on and where their country is being steered to. It almost sounds like a civil servant from Yes, Minister in the old boys club giving out about the public wanting to live in a democracy. Something Sir Humphrey would say to a colleague.

“The internet is being used as a tool of mobilisation, which is fantastic, but it only adds to the growing, incommensurate nature of the demands being made on government.”

And….? It is the Government’s job to address the needs of the population and to also communicate to them why decisions are made which both satisy and do not satisfy the demands of the population. This guy is digging a hole for himself and the Government.

“At a time at which we need a richer relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had, to confront the shared challenges we face, arguably we have a more impoverished relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had.”

How about the notion that the web has highlighted the fact that people are pissed off with the current system be it left or right inclined? That finally those slightly or wholly disillusioned have found a voice and have found others who feel the same?

But at least in the UK they have the Hansard Society, WriteToThem, TheyWorkForYou and so many more organisations, many funded by the Government. The Government itself has e-democracy initiatives and not just press releases about winning numerous e-Government awards.

What is our e-Minister doing?

5 Responses to “At least the Brits are doing something about online engagement”

  1. simon says:

    What is our e-Minister doing?
    We have an e-minister? Seriously who is it.

  2. Piaras Kelly says:

    Hmm, I think your criticism of the guy in question is a little OTT. By pulling other parts from the article, his opinions actually make a lot of sense:

    But he said more needed to be done by the web community in general to encourage people to use the internet to “solve problems” rather than simply abuse politicians or make “incommensurate” demands on them.

    Like “teenagers”, people were demanding, but “conflicted” about what they actually wanted, he argued.

    They wanted “sustainability”, for example, but not higher fuel prices, affordable homes for their children but not new housing developments in their town or village.

  3. Damien says:

    Your quote reinforces this guys attitude and my point. He seems to be suggesting that the web community are not solving problems, merely attacking. Hansard, FaxYour MP. WriteToThem, TheyWorkForYou are all web initiatives that are doing a startling amount of good yet the guy seems to only find a web full of negativity. Nothing to do with the fact that the web has been at the forefront of toppling politicians which traditional media dared not do.

  4. Piaras Kelly says:

    My point isn’t so much about the web, but rather about the lack of understanding of the majority of the electorate as to how the system actually works. More importantly though, as the guy points out we put unrealistic demands on our politicians and “Like “teenagersâ€?, people were demanding, but “conflictedâ€? about what they actually wanted”

  5. Owen Blacker says:

    I should point out, by the way, that all the mySociety sites’ codebase is available for use by other organisations, which has led to a volunteer in New Zealand, Rob McKinnon, creating, and the UK version has recently been extended to the Six Counties (see for more information).

    Feel free to ask us questions on the mySociety developers-public mailing list if you want more information about how you could adapt our code for the Oireachtas.

    Owen Blacker,
    Director of mySociety Ltd and Trustee of UK Citizens’ Online Democracy