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25.3.08

Networking Democracy: can the internet help Cornish democracy work better?

The government is taking a greater interest in the Internet, its potential to strengthen democracy and increase the participation of UK subjects in decision making.

can participation on the web reinforce representative democracy?


Consequently OurKingdom is running an online deliberation involving Michael Wills, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, on how the potential of the Internet can be integrated into a national political process. OK are inviting regular readers and contributors to add comments to the article and also promote debate about the subject in various forums, so ere I iz!

A genuine effort to improve UK democracy or just another ploy to appear modern and open to change? The full OurKingdom article (link above) explains all as well as how people and groups can get involved.

The importance of the Internet to the Cornish movement, as for the wider cultural scene, is surely in no doubt now, but is there anyway to be more effective in getting our message across whilst dialoguing with government?

That's the crux of the OK idea and just to finish I have included below an extract from the OK article that I think is well written and pertinent to Cornwall.

An important lesson for me is that while the Minister’s fears are understandable they may be misconceived. The web is not just a version of ‘The general public’. Voting does indeed disaggregate everyone into private, anonymous individuals, whose ‘x’s are then counted. But the web is not just a soup of isolated individuals prone to manipulation by the wicked or the commercial and in need of benevolent guidance from the authorities. Rather, it consists of many groups, networks, communities and cyber-associations, such as regular readers of particular blogs, small and labile aggregations, some very persistent, with over-lapping interests and memberships, often very intelligent and capable of learning. The success of social networking sites like facebook is that they generally use real names and create, precisely, social networks.