While, arguably, some politicians do get it, others – epitomised by the Labour Party’s outgoing chief strategy adviser, Matthew Taylor, speaking as an individual – don’t quite. He does identify the problem though – “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.” But he points to the interweb as being a primary problem… although his analysis lacks depth.. as Guido points out in his counterblast.. and at the Guardian, there’s a timely assessment of Blair’s [previous] Big Conversation..From the BBC report
The internet, he told the conference, was part of that “crisis”.
“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.
“If you look at the way in which citizens are using technology and the way that is growing up, there are worrying signs that that is the case.
“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.
“The internet is being used as a tool of mobilisation, which is fantastic, but it only adds to the growing, incommensurate nature of the demands being made on government.”
He challenged the online community to provide more opportunities for “people to try to understand the real trade-offs that politicians face and the real dilemmas that citizens face”.
What I’d add is that although the criticism of shrillness is not entirely out of place.. it doesn’t fit with a government, and a general class of politician, which seeks to avoid a direct answer to a direct question. Of which we have a few examples recently…