Saturday, April 24, 2010


When men were originally figuring out civilisation, democracy was as much an experiment as a process. In Athens, males who had earned the right to vote were citizens, and all citizens were expected to participate in the governance of the people. Important posts were filled from the pool of citizens by lot - effectively removing all of the ridiculous expensive machinations that we see in our political machinery in the UK today. Anyone who was interested could be involved, but being interested didn't start you on the road to overwhelming power or control over your fellow man - it simply meant that your voice was relevant.

We've lost many aspects of true democracy in our current electoral system. Most British citizens have a vague understanding who represents them. Most British citizens probably don't know what their representative stands for, or if indeed they actually represent their views. Most laws are discussed by some minority of the total Representatives. Most Representatives vote along the lines their party dictates, rather than with the majority view of the people they represent. Most laws are aggregates of confusing, and potentially totally orthogonal, legislation - often bundles of smaller rulings to one end with something unrelated slipped in there that goes under the radar.

Given the way they vote, given that there is absolutely no demand of accountability (i.e. checking that when they vote they vote for you) - is it any wonder that our political system is mostly steered and fought for by moneyed interests and the media? Do you have the time and effort to put into trying, single handled, to steer a political agenda?

I think there are better ways to run a society. Technology has the potential to be an enabler of a true direct democratic process. It has the ability to inform and corral results with no bias, and it has the ability to provide a platform where any relevant voice can be both heard and counted.

I'll be putting some effort into establishing my vision of that platform over the coming year. If you're interested in helping, please get in touch.

(Addendum - the gender bias in this post is pretty evident on second reading, which is both of historic interest and something I find disagreeable. rest assured I believe that men and women should have an equal voice in society.)

1 comment:

  1. Tim,

    As you go through this process you should certainly check out the Oxford Internet Institute ( They've been doing some great work on the impact of the Internet upon political discourse, with an eye on the long term possibilities.