Thursday, 17 February 2011

Result, now why doesn't the rest of it work like this?

I read a blog from Scott Adams (he of Dilbert fame) recently about how, if you were to start a democracy from scratch today, you probably wouldn't do it by party lines. In an internet connected world (and I fully accept that this doesn't apply in quite large areas of the planet) there are much more effective and accountable ways of doing things.
The government has backed off on the forestry sales plans, which is a good thing, but, and I shall quote directly from Geoffrey Lean in the Telegraph:
"It’s not just that over half a million people signed a petition against it; over 100,000 actually went to the trouble of contacting their MPs, and more than 30 local groups mushroomed around the country to protect their forests. It’s been a sharp reminder of something governments too often forget, that there is world beyond Whitehall."
There is indeed a world beyond Whitehall, and it's accelerating away from the petty tribalism that hinders our making real progress as a country.
We are communicating directly now, to each other, to corporations, to NGOs and increasingly to our government, but how often do they listen? This is a rare occasion, have no doubt.

There are two things to take from it though, which should give us some hope.
Firstly, the parties are becoming increasingly irrelevant. The tools for a direct democracy are all around us and we are using them in ever increasing amounts.
Secondly, the lobbyists are becoming irrelevant. Organisations are waking up to the fact that their customers are now connected and can, when the need arises, cut out the middleman and speak with one voice.
Lots of companies are picking up on this, they have to because they're bottom line can't handle the impact if they don't.
The governments will have to, or they will fail and fall.

In the meantime of course you can expect all kinds of panicky legislation and massive lobbying, but it's a step forward.

To bring this blog full circle I'll hand you over to Sue Holden of the woodland trust:
As I write, there is a proposal to water down protection for ancient woodland in the planning system. We need your help to defeat this proposal by 28th February.
We must not let public passion and support for our woods and forests die down and now that ownership is no longer an issue, we must not lose sight of the need to increase protection for ancient forests and restore those planted with conifers, a once in a lifetime opportunity for woodland conservation.
Our campaign will continue and we urge everyone to continue to sign our petition and transfer their passion about who owns England's public woods to ensuring that all of England?s woods survive in the future. 
The Government has announced a review of planning policy in England - Read all about it
The consultation closes on February 28th - take action now!

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