Saturday, 18 November 2006

Matthew Taylor

I realise I am slow on the uptake on this one, and that Mr Eugenides and Iain Dale among others have excellent posts up about it, but I can't resist having my twopennorth as well.

Here is a man - an unelected government advisor, no less - complaining about the baleful influence of blogs. Here is what he has to say on the subject of citizens of the United Kingdom saying what they wish to say:

But it [the web] was too often used to encourage the "shrill discourse of demands" that dominated modern politics.

But he said more needed to be done by the web community in general to encourage people to use the internet to "solve problems" rather than simply abuse politicians or make "incommensurate" demands on them.

-incommensurate!!! I love it! This coming from a representative of an organisation which confiscates money and creates criminal offences! I, for one, think creating a criminal offence of "leaving the wrong stuff in a recycling box" is an incommensurate demand upon citizens; but we are instead guilty of actually expecting our rulers, our leaders, the guys who send men to their deaths, create or destroy jobs, and ration healthcare, to do their jobs properly.

Speaking at an e-democracy conference in central London, he said modern politics was all about "quality of life" and that voters had a "very complex set of needs".

Well, perhaps that is true. Not me though, I want to live in relative security, keep as much money of mine as is possible, and not be told what to do by crooks, swindlers, incompetent buffoons, and the purely malicious.

"We have a citizenry which can be caricatured as being increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government," Mr Taylor told the audience.
Like "teenagers", people were demanding, but "conflicted" about what they actually wanted, he argued.
They wanted "sustainability", for example, but not higher fuel prices, affordable homes for their children but not new housing developments in their town or village.

If you would like to see a wonderful example of the contempt today's ruling class has for the people, there it is. We are all political adolescents, psychologically conflicted, selfish and unrealistic. I am interested as to how exactly the good Mr Taylor thinks that "sustainability" equals higher fuel prices. Well, for me at least, I would like a good and healthy world, but I don't agree that the way to achieve it is to punish and bully working class and other not-massively-well-off people out of using transport, leaving it exclusively for the likes of him, like it used to be.

But rather than work out these dilemmas in partnership with their elected leaders, they were encouraged to regard all politicians as corrupt or "mendacious" by the media, which he described as "a conspiracy to maintain the population in a perpetual state of self-righteous rage".

How can a loose network of inidivually run and self supported blogs, with no power or hold over anyone, consitute a "conspiracy"? How can citizens getting together informally to discuss their views - with however much swearing - be on the same level as shadowy meetings of the powerful? I suppose the subtext is that of Hilary Clinton's "vast right wing conspiracy". Incidentally, politicians, especially the socialist or progressive kind, supply an excellent line in "self righteous rage" themselves, forever wanting to "smash", "destroy", or "break" things they see between themselves and power. And if Mr Taylor thinks that "self righteous rage" is not appropriate for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Iraq, the destruction of our constitution, and corruption in the highest levels of government, then he is either as cynical as they are, or as irredeemably stupid as they are.

He went on: "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."

and I don't need to be the Devil, Iain Dale or Mr Eugenides to point out that it is the lying mendacious bastards you have been serving, Mr Taylor, who are wholly and utterly responsible for that crisis. Not the public.

"I want people to have more power, but I want them to have more power in the context of a more mature discourse about the responsibilities of government and the responsibilities of citizens," Mr Taylor told delegates.

Part of the problem, he added, was the "net-head" culture itself, which was rooted in libertarianism and "anti-establishment" attitudes.

Translation: I don't think there should be room for a vigorous, open debate without restriction, and certainly no room for serious and profound attacks on the people who have given me lots of work and money. It is particularly distressing that the most successful blogs often seem to be the right wing ones. I had nothing to say about media crucifixion of the last Tory government but the people attacking this one are beyond the pale.


UK Daily Pundit said...

Glad you have lifted your no comment policy. I would have been unable to thank you for the link otherwise. Although you have the wrong url.

Have reciprocated anyway. Cheers.

The Tin Drummer said...


url should be ok now.

Thanks for the reciprocity (is that a word?)

james higham said...

Yes, yes, the man is not just a moron but he's softening up the blogosphere for the hit.

Praguetory said...

I'd like to hear how the government can leverage off the excellent debates that occur on the blogosphere not how to stifle those debates. Well done on the FiveLive interview. Good stuff.