Why democracy starts with an 'e'
'There has been a huge revolution in the world outside Westminster in the ways that people communicate with each other,' said Victoria Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Hansard Society, which campaigns for a more inclusive democracy.
'Although Westminster has changed a lot,' she said, 'when compared to the change in the wider world, it really has not changed much.'
Westminster is only just catching up with communication changes
Equally, she said central and local government had before now put almost all their of efforts into getting services online.
Now, she said, they need to think more realistically about the web can help broaden debate and bring in fresh voices, insight and expertise.
'The technology shouldn't be used for direct democracy,' warned Ms Gibbons, 'that's not the way a parliamentary democracy works.'
I take issue with this last statement, and to some degree it flies in the face of the Hansard Society's own report on blogging
, which hails the political blog as what it quite rightly is, a very useful way of both elected individuals and candidates keeping in touch with their constituents, and in the case of sites such as Backing Blair
and the other similar vote direction sites ramping up to GE2005, a possibility to inflict a bloody nose on a seemingly uncaring standing Government.
If it allows me and others like me to group together behind a common belief and have that belief studied, debated and maybe dis-agreed with (perish the thought), then a movement towards a degree of direct democracy can only be a good thing.
The other part of the BBC article that quite frankly beggars belief is this comment regarding Simon Burns, Conservative MP for Chelmsford West : Since FaxYourMP began totting up response times in April 2002 only 118 faxes have been sent to him via the service - about 3.5 per month. By contrast Mr Burns signs about 20-25 letters or responses every week day.
"I just look at it as another way for them to correspond with me," he said.
He currently does not accept e-mail messages because of all the extra work involved in dealing with them.
What extra work?
More articles on Direct Democracy can be found here
.It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting.