As traditional politics perishes, iDemocracy is quickening in the womb – Telegraph Blogs
November 1, 2012 15 Comments
Daniel Hannan writing in his Telegraph blog the other day has some ideas on where technology may take us. He’s talking about the UK but it strikes me as pretty applicable here as well. One thing we are finding in business is that the closer we are to our customers, the better the can serve them. Of course, as a private business, that’s more important to us than it is to government bureaucrats who get paid, good service or not.
How many more of Hannan’s ideas can I get away with nicking?’
‘Things can’t go on like this!’ say conservatives. They have a point. Governments throughout the West have outgrown their capacity. Their treasuries are empty, their voters restive. Unable to squeeze more revenue from their citizens, they have taken to taxing the one constituency that can’t complain: future generations. But there comes a point when even the credit of what Shakespeare called ‘your children yet unborn and unbegot’ runs out. Things can’t go on like this.
So what next? This is the bit that many conservatives are vague about. But not Douglas Carswell. He makes a point that is so obvious that only the pessimistic predisposition of some Rightists prevents them from seeing it.
If things can’t go on like this, they won’t. If the government can’t grow any further, it won’t. If the state can’t assume new responsibilities, it won’t. If the machine is broken, it will splutter to a halt.
At the very moment that government action reaches its limit, says Douglas, technological change renders it redundant. The Internet puts into the hands of a private citizen information which, 15 years ago, an entire department would have struggled to compile. The revolution in communications is cutting out the middleman.
Douglas draws on his experience as an Essex MP (an incorruptible Roundhead, he is the authentic voice of that radical county). He describes how state restrictions on building in part of his constituency, imposed by a quango concerned with flooding, created one of the most wretched places in England. He remarks on the way in which certain forms of constituency casework – lobbying on the creation of a school, for example – disappeared once campaigners could network directly with one another. He explains, in practical rather than theoretical terms, why state action tends to be the problem, and private initiative the solution.
Douglas knows at first hand that large parts of a politician’s work are no longer needed. How long until that logic is imposed on government ministries?
I think that if we pay attention to what we are doing, we can solve a lot of problems with technology. In some ways, I believe we can bring back the medieval model of the extended family (3 or 4 generations) living closely together as a cohesive unit, strengthen our religions and reduce the interference of the state in our lives, all at the same time, while improving quality of life as well.
Tell me what you think about this?
- Tory MP Douglas Carswell claims that UK’s future in Europe is not settled (scotsman.com)
- How technology will create true democracy (telegraph.co.uk)
- Video: The People’s EU Withdrawal Bill Debated in Parliament (order-order.com)
- Another paper tells Obama ‘We are just not that into you’; Nashua Telegraph endorses Romney (twitchy.com)
- The Victorian Internet – The Technology That Started It All (battellemedia.com)