Douglas Carswell

31 DEC 2009

Wiki-politics, DirectGov and the wisdom of crowds

The government is to spend £1 million of your money on TV ads to promote its own Directgov website. Surely the whole point of this internet thingy is that it doesn't require large, corporatist ad budgets like that?

Not so, says Directgov's (taxpayer funded) head of communications. In fact, he tells us, "Directgov will save the government £400m over three years. Therefore this is an investment". So there. You've been told. By an official.

There's one thing politicians need to understand about the web; it doesn't need politicians to make it happen.

If, for instance, one was looking for ways to harness the wisdom of crowds to formulate policy, take a look at what's already there.

Log onto http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Great_Repeal_Bill, for example. See? No government money involved.

The web architecture already exists for wiki-politics. It's the bit in SW1 that's holding things back. Politicians should concentrate on making Westminster properly responsive in order to allow wiki-politics to happen, not on web design.

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