So, the Labour party lost the election, and so far we have two people running for the leadership, who happen to be brothers.
They both have websites, with links to twitter and facebook accounts. They both pay handsome tribute to the idea that we, the people, should let them know our thoughts, ideas and suggestions.
• Ed Miliband’s website has no email address on it.
• David Miliband’s ‘blog’ has comments switched off.
They both seem to want us to enter our details – phone number and everything – but when it comes down to it, don’t seem awfully keen on us telling them anything. The sites are focused on the more urgent task of how they can efficiently talk to us.
If they were serious about taking on board people’s ideas, and really wanted to help people collaborate on the future of the country, then the internet has some tried and tested tools that help people work together.
Perhaps they could install MediaWiki? Wikipedia is based on it, and it’s free. Imagine dozens of people reviewing and discussing a manifesto, line by line. Maybe a forum of some kind? Some pretty small groups manage to maintain a forum.
Administering such sites would be time consuming, of course. But that is like arguing that surgery is too time consuming for doctors to waste their time with.
Listening to the people is a politician’s job. We want to talk to them. Do they really want to listen?