Friday, November 17, 2006

Matthew Taylor on uppity bloggers ...

According to Blair's outgoing policy chief, Matthew Taylor, we bloggers are getting a bit too uppity. In a talk to an e-democracy conference, he said the web is as well and good , but we are not very respectful apparently of politicians.
What bit of 'democracy' does he not understand ?

Seems the internet is a bit to outspoken :

"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.
"It seems to me this is something which is worth calling a crisis."
The internet, he told the conference, was part of that "crisis".

"What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It's basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are. "

So the lack of distrust is nothing to do with politicians then , all the nasty media and blogs doing.
Of course if politicians really have nothing to worry about, what's wrong with a little critical scrutiny . To paraphrase the ID and surveillance arguments of the Govt, if you are innocent you have nothing to be worried about.

Matthew goes on :

"I want people to have more power, but I want them to have more power in the context of a more mature discourse about the responsibilities of government and the responsibilities of citizens," Mr Taylor told delegates.
Part of the problem, he added, was the "net-head" culture itself, which was rooted in libertarianism and "anti-establishment" attitudes.

Why are those attitudes a problem? What's wrong with healthy criticism and debate? What's immature about questioning our politicians and holding them to account?

Healthy debate is not about stage managed conferences and hand picked audiences. Its about answering the difficult questions. If a politician is honest and can argue their case then any criticism can be handled in the 'mature' debate.

The internet, though still limited to those who can afford access to it, has opened up the debate to a wider audience. That has to be welcomed and not controlled .

I for one will carry on being stroppy , questioning , libertarian, anti -establishment and argumentative ...oh and 'shrill'.