Brown's big ideas for real-time information

Looks like my source was right: Gordon Brown has plans for the internet. There’s a lengthy interview in today’s Guardian, conducted with Jackie Ashley last Friday. Of particular note:

The Labour party may not realise what is about to hit it. Brown believes the days of political parties as “small organisations of people who are accused of talking to themselves” are over. In future, constituency parties will become local hubs, building links with other networks and groups, and using new technology to reach out way beyond their usual supporters.
Brown expands his theme: “There are so many different forms of communication – writing, phoning, the internet – at the moment we’re not doing enough to keep people informed and to show people that when they have a view, we’re prepared to listen to them.” So we may become like New Yorkers, who can access “real-time information” about what is happening in every precinct of the city on the internet, whether it is crime, health or education.
There are ideas here, big ones, but throughout the time my tape recorder has been running Brown has remained guarded in his language. As soon as we are talking off the record he becomes a different person – enthusiastic and genuinely excited at the thought of being able to change politics. … He is certain he can win the next election by sorting out health, education and housing, and by ushering in a new style of politics. If the public could see this side of Brown they would warm to him more.

Communication? Networks? Internet? Big ideas? Blimey. The next month could be a bit quiet, but the following 100 days might be very interesting indeed. It’ll be a heck of a challenge… but when Downing Street says ‘do it’, the civil service really doesn’t get a choice.

One thought on “Brown's big ideas for real-time information”

  1. Hi Simon, I found your blog through a link on Jeremy Gould’s blog.
    It’s good to hear that finally the net is going to be utilized to a greater extent. (That real-time stuff sounds like something out of 24!)
    I’m a student, and when I visit a government website, I find it really boring, and full of information that I don’t really care about. I’ve always wondered why it isn’t used as part of the democratic process.
    At university everyone uses facebook etc to make political statements, post videos of political speeches, etc. Why aren’t there online referendums? Why can’t we have a chat with ministers? Why can’t we be more involved in the political process?
    If Brown realises that the internet can be used as part of the democratic process, and as a hub to ensure my views are heard, then I think it’s about time.

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