We've got 'em scared
"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.Thus spake Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair's outgoing chief strategy adviser. This and the other comments extracted in the BBC report (via) of his speech is indicative of a government in denial. Things are fine and the only reason anyone thinks otherwise is because of distortion by the media and their blogging accomplices. We are to take it, I assume, that Iraq is on its way to becoming a top holiday destination; the prison system still has armfuls of surplus capacity; the NHS is in commendable health; and we're well on the way to confronting climate change. The government is, contrary to Taylor's implication, getting a good kicking because it deserves one.
"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."
The patronising sod also averred:
"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.Note the way that the "citizenry" have become a homogenous block. It is not that some want "sustainability" and others lower fuel prices. Both positions are held universally. One suspects that years of studying opinion polls looking for potentially popular strategies to adopt, Taylor has lost his ability to think like a real human being. In his, no doubt troubled mind, we are all little more than numbers to be crunched and then sold back to ourselves as the latest media-friendly press release.
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 this were 1996, the Blairites would be all over the internet blogging about the assorted evils of the incumbent Tory regime. They were more than happy to attack their predecessors in "shrill" and even "self-righteous" terms. That being the case it's a tad rich for them now to decide that doing just that isn't very nice. Not that Blairite hypocrisy should come as a great surprise, mind.