Quarkside

04/03/2011

Digital Democracy: Challenge to MPs.

Digital Democracy, a Quarkside link, needs more support:

“Digital Democracy was Nationaly (sic) launched yesterday has resulted in many new members. Thanks to those that have made proposals and have been participating on the site. However, site members don’t seem to be making as many proposals as we would hope! Please let us know if there is any particular reason for this.”

Democracy is a form of Governance. Bang in the middle of Quarkside’s trilogy; Process, Governance and Technology. Digital is a form of Technology. The remaining question is whether the Process is fit for purpose.

Their Founding Principles are:

  • To empower individuals and groups of people whose viewpoint has been marginalised from a decision making process, where their quality of life is affected by the outcome of the decision.
  • To facilitate people’s democratic involvement in decision making.
  • To promote democratic reform and individual / group empowerment across and throughout communities, regions, nations and legally recognised organisations.
  • To create forums that enable individuals to express and discuss issues, then collectively take decisions.
  • To encourage power structures / decision makers to align their decisions with the collectively expressed views of those affected by the decision.
  • To encourage power structures / decision makers to routinely scope the opinions of those affected by their decisions, and then to ensure that decisions are informed by the views of those affected by the decisions.

In the spirit of cooperation, the home page headline is “Digital Democracy enables you and your community to discuss and prioritise issues, then challenges your MP to respond“.  That’s not much of an Outcome.  An opportunity to reach an MP has many more effective channels.

The Governance of the system is weak.  The ability to prioritise is subject to People in pressure groups who don’t have a strong eID.  Credibility is diminished if MPs can’t be certain it is their own constituent expressing an opinion.  There was a cry for more proposals, but the number of votes doesn’t give encouragement for people to contribute more.  It is not a secret ballot.  Total number of votes is all that could be shown until the closing date.  Massive, single issue, campaigns are needed to reverse government policy.  Local referanda governance is probably the minimum necessary to carry any great political weight.

The Technology looks little different from old style forums.  It does not have many of the desirable features of WordPress.  All of the proposals are national.  The Founding Principles want to encourage local democracy, so it needs a tailored link on every MP’s constituency web site.  Perhaps something on DirectGov could help.  A Twitter feed is not going to have any impact unless it has a celebrity prepared to provide an occasional tweet.  Tom Watson?

Good luck, but as a number of MPs have said, “We have enough mail to keep our assistants busy, we need more as much as a hole in the head.

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