A glorious revolution

without comments

The Independent continues to morph into a daily weekly. You can as easily imagine today’s front page (‘Power to the People’) on the cover of the Economist, New Statesman or Spectator. But this is more compliment than criticism. Today’s theme manages to be both newsworthy and insightful by bringing together 8 news events to point to a shift in the nature of our society. Hamish McRae offers further thoughts about that shift inside (‘The internet has shifted the balance of power’) and the paper then broadens the issue into its Big Question (‘Does the internet liberate or undermine democracy?‘).
But the shift is even more remarkable than they describe. Not only is power shifting (or at least the influences on power are shifting) but so are the people enabling it to shift. The developers who created and run the e-petitions software for No.10, for example, are a fantastically unassuming group of 20 & 30-something web developers, dotted about the country. They certainly aren’t in it for the money, they’re not in it for the power, they just genuinely want to enable more engaged democracy (see also theyworkforyou and writetothem). I’ve met a few of them and been bowled over by their civic-minded ethos for which, I think, we can partly thank the internet itself. The open, shared, constructive progessivism that characterised early internet developers has had a profound and beneficial influence on its subsequent development.
Like the Independent, we should occasionally cheer about the remarkable change technology has enabled and who enabled it.

Written by Martin Moore

February 23rd, 2007 at 1:21 pm

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