Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Simon Cowell does Democracy

According to several media reports, Simon Cowell is considering a politics show inspired, to some degree, by debates between politicians on American TV. Perhaps it will follow the X-Factor telephone voting format.

It's great to see that someone in the media business recognises the potential that interactive entertainment (I mean politics) has. There is perhaps nothing more entertaining to the human species as the interplay of personalities; their actions and reactions. Simon says "Politics is show business these days. More and more so." I'm much more interested in policies than politicians but it will be interesting to see how the show develops. If it enhances political debate, the understanding of the issues, and attracts a wide audience, then that's a good thing in my book. If it dumbs down serious subjects or falls flat on its face then that's not good for Interactive Democracy. The devil is in the detail; and design and development may overcome many difficulties. At the very least it will be an interesting experiment and may even lead to a better way of conducting democracy than the one I have outlined here.
Of course, there is a certain feeling amongst music buyers that Simon is part of an industry that "pushes" music on us and neglects original artists of all types. Simon's business is unapologetically commercial and we are persuaded to like what he likes. This doesn't sit well with the creative ideal of Interactive Democracy: that new ideas should be encouraged and that people should follow their own conscience on how they vote. Yet it could form a strand of ID if it were balanced by many other channels and voices.

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