Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Government climb down - the rebirth of democracy?

I reported the Government plans to sidestep the FOI legislation a couple of days ago. Since then there has been a mass popular campaign and a Government climb down - though they have only put their anti-democratic plans on hold, so we cannot rest on this.

The BBC report mentions the campaign, that I am proud to have been a small part of, saying:

An internet campaign by MySociety urging MPs to vote against the change attracted more than 6,000 supporters on the Facebook website.

Peter Facey, of pressure group Unlock Democracy, warned if the vote had gone ahead it would have had "a catastrophic impact on the reputation of Parliament." He urged the Commons to publish all expenses details "at the earliest opportunity".

The report on Radio 4's PM program astonishingly failed to mention the mySociety campaign. These are the statistics from TheyWorkForYou:

  • over 7,000 members on the Facebook group
  • 4,000 messages sent to MPs
  • a mass Twitter campaign in help from help from Stephen Fry

If we are to maintain a hopeful view of the world then we might be seeing the start of a real e-democracy. As I said in my New Year predictions, "E-democracy will show signs of coming of age". The situation will become clearer with the next mass campaign. In the mean time, I'm off to email Radio 4 to tell them that it was not the politicians that stopped this idea, it was the people.

BacAtU has written another good blog on this is topic.


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