Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair’s chief adviser on political strategy for the next few days at least, reckons it’s all our fault if e-democracy remains a distant dream. The BBC reports that, in comments to an unidentified conference, he said:
‘We have a citizenry which can be caricatured as being increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government… The internet has immense potential but we face a real problem if the main way in which that potential expresses itself is through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill discourse of demands…. At a time at which we need a richer relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had, to confront the shared challenges we face, arguably we have a more impoverished relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had. It seems to me this is something which is worth calling a crisis.
‘What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.’
If that isn’t an attack on Guido Fawkes, I don’t know what is. And whilst I agree with the sentiment (and have said as much here in previous weeks), I don’t think it’s at all fair to tar the entire blogosphere with the same brush. There are too many good people out there trying to stimulate good political debate. Yes, it’s embarrassing that Guido remains the #1 most visited UK political blog… but even a quick glance through Iain Dale’s Top 100s would reveal countless more constructive attempts.