Saturday, November 18, 2006

An Athenian City-state for the world?

There's a startling piece of analysis on BBC today titled "Web 'fuelling crisis in politics'". Startlingly accurate, I mean - and it's not often one gets that..

Since arriving in London it's amazed me the number of clever, well-informed and hard-working people working in politics. I was kinda hoping to arrive and blow all the cobwebs away with my brilliance - but I've been humbled by the sharp wits and honesty of spirit already here! However, that is not the broader perception.

I've only realised it by attending the wonderful IPPR events, the LSE and others such as GALHA, where I've met MPs like George Galloway or Jack McConnell (First Minister of Scotland), intellectuals like Christopher Higgens and Richard Dawkins, policy advisers and journalists. If I'd have stayed in either the online bubble or even the Manchester one - I'm not sure I'd have made the step towards the understanding that - actually - politics is not full of self-serving, stupid or uncaring snobs that secretly hire rent-boys.

Mr. Taylor is perceptive in identifying that perhaps the Internet will lead to wider and deeper popular involvement in the decisions for our country. I wonder.. can the Internet make an Athenian City-state of the whole world?

He's right to point out that this means citizens 'growing up'. If the 'end of deference' is the 'right', the 'responsibility' must be to provide constructive criticism and ideas - not childish hissyfits of the kind promoted by popular media.

While citizens grow beyond their infantile habits, the government - and politics in general - must do more to demonstrate it's true colours; to show everyone what I've learnt only via physical attendance of its mechanics.

At the end of the article, there's something of an explanation for the clarity of thought: he's ex-head of IPPR! Damn them and their bright ideas.

(I hope the criticism of blogs as negative and unconstructive don't apply to this post!)

Here's a further post on the City-state idea that's worth a quick read.

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