No sign of David Miliband returning to blogging, but he’s starting to make some ‘2.0’ noises at the Foreign Office. His Chatham House speech last week called for an evolution in foreign policy, based on ‘new thinking and new solutions. This thinking can begin in the Foreign Office, but it needs to draw on the widest base of ideas. The new diplomacy is public as well as private, mass as well as elite, real-time as well as deliberative. And that needs to be reflected in the way we do our business.’
It’s backed up by a new section on the FCO website, inviting readers to Have Your Say on the three key questions he says he’s facing as the new Foreign Sec: setting the FCO’s priorities, cross-government coordination, and ‘how the FCO can engage beyond Whitehall’. So far, the first has attracted the majority of the 20-odd moderated comments, despite (realistically) being the least likely to be directly influenced by such input.
But it’s the other two which point directly to the Miliband mentality, as exhibited in previous roles. And tellingly, the pages in question feature Digg, delicious and Reddit buttons. Possibly a first for a major Whitehall department’s corporate site? So far, they haven’t been very effective: a single tagging on delicious (from someone who could be a Labour stooge, judging by her other bookmarks?), and just a single digg (from someone who very much looks like an FCO plant). Personally I wouldn’t be bothered with these, as I’ve never heard of them being especially effective; mind you, at least they show you’re 2.0-savvy. ‘Share on Facebook’ maybe, but that would be all.
The full speech is posted in chunks on YouTube by the event organisers, Avaaz.org – ‘a civic organization that promotes progressive political action on issues such as the climate change and religious conflicts’, co-founded by MoveOn.org.