Monday, 1 August 2011

Crazy Empowerment

In this article, Rhodri Marsden comments on the Government's plan to allow 100 000 on-line signatures to precipitate a Westminster discussion of the subject. In particular he thinks it's too easy: "Registering approval or disapproval of anything online requires a few imperceptible finger movements and almost no brain activity."
He also points out that the previous Government's ePetition system would only have promoted Westminster discussion of 8 petitions, and the premise of one of them was clearly wrong.
He goes on to write "Petition schemes make governments look like they're listening and the electorates think they're being listened to, but it's faux-democratic. Proposals hammered out on a keyboard are generally hare-brained and ill thought out, and politicians regard them with the contempt they deserve."
I partly agree with Rhodri, but I applaud the Government's proposals, yet think they don't go far enough. I think that promoting high quality debate is perhaps the most important role of Democracy and the involvement of Parliamentarians on a debating forum, integrated with a voting system, would help to calm Rhodri's misgivings.