Friday, February 17, 2006

All change

Last night, I the news about Gary Megson's demise (er... thanks Andy) was brought to me while I attended the launch of a book called 'Post Party Politics' (which can be downloaded from here)

I met David Wilcox there who has written it up nicely

Reading the book, on my way home, I realised what an elephant trap blogging is. There is hardly a chapter in the book that isn't the kind of thing that I want to respond to. But I have a day-job to do.

My first response, however, is that so much of what is being talked about springs from a desire to manage society differently - and the way that the web (now web 2.0 doncha know!) changes the way we interact will provide the catalyst for all of this.

I have a good deal of experience in developing on-line projects for organisations. Generally, if they are good at communicating, have good ideas and dynamic people, and have their internal processes tidied up, the website that we develop for them will be a success. And vice versa.

An awful lot of money has been wasted on projects that aim to route around organisational failings with some whizzy application.

I would suggest that - in re-inventing democracy, this will also be the case. And I can't see why people find this so complicated to grasp. Representative Democracy - in this country (UK) - works reasonably well. It simply isn't the disaster area so many people say it is.

Sure, pressure groups are too powerful, parties are too powerful, the media present too much of a rival to elected representatives, and so on.

But if those representatives can improve the way that they interface with the public (and web 1.0 CAN help them to this!) then many of these failings can be redressed.

There may be an article in the book that I've not found yet that supports / rebutts my argument here (I'll let you know).

*****

Other stuff in the swelling inbox: The IDeA have published a paper on the role of the Ward Councillor in the context of the Neighbourhood agenda. (via Kevin Harris)

And also from Kevin's site, "retailers under-estimate the importance of pedestrian travel and over-estimate the significance of cars." (from the 'Graz Study', published by Sustrans).

... and 'in praise of the cul-de-sac'. Sometimes the only way to design something is to involve the people that will use it. But sometimes, people just accidentally have good ideas.

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