ME and Ophelia

Sunday, April 04, 2004

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Are the environment and how to get good government

On March 22, Clive Soley MP blogged:

"the two big challenges of the 21st century are the environment and how to get good government. By good government I mean the rule of law and free and open societies. Can we rise to the challenge?"

On March 24, I responded with the following comment:

Clive, Sorry I'm not clear about your big question here because I don't know what is meant by "the rule of law" and "free and open societies". My concern over the past year is the dissemination of political news and information. The media. Particularly in the UK - and it's public broadcasting service: the BBC. I've just published a post on why I'd vote for the TV Licence to be scrapped and the BBC to be dismantled of its power and left to fend for itself financially.

The media (and I especially include the BBC here) undermines government and its leaders to such an extent that I really don't understand how voters can be expected to vote for what is important and right while they are so ill informed. I find it scary. How can there be "good government" when it's undermined, distracted and manipulated here, there and everywhere answering to a power like the BBC that has not even been elected.

Now that we have moved far from the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949 and into the Information Age - one challenge could be to find innovative new ways to convey correct and factual information so that ordinary voters, such as myself, can understand important and complex issues properly.

For example, terrorism, the history and geography of continental Europe and the Middle East over the past few hundred years. Information needs to be simplified and fed in bite sized pieces, like blogging. We need to learn what is going on - and understand things like, why (I'm now quoting from Andrew Sullivan's report): "the Islamist war against the West existed and grew in strength and potency throughout the 1990s. How it draws its roots from the Muslim Brotherhood of the 1970s and 1980s. And to understand why it is quite candid in its goals: expulsion of all infidels from Islamic lands, the subjugation of political pluralism to fascistic theocracy, the elimination of all Jews anywhere, the enslavement of women, the murder of homosexuals and the expansion of a new Islamic realm up to and beyond the medieval boundaries of Islam's golden past."

I feel the public are a lot smarter than they're given credit for. I believe they can handle complex information. I do not believe the media can be left to go between the public and government. Key is to present information in an interesting and easily digestable way. We Brits soak up all sorts of stuff. That was the week that was, Question Time, Panaroma etc., used to be the thing that people stayed in to watch...we need innovative new thinking on how to convey and understand what's going on in this increasingly complex world of ours. Maybe blogging is the answer. Perhaps then politicians could be trusted more - and in turn respected - and listened to again. I feel quite passionate about this issue. I believe our future could hinge on this issue.

PS If blogging is the answer, perhaps our Prime Minister could start a real genuine blog (not a website or someone writing for him). In days gone by there used to be regular radio spots, fireside chats in the US, President's weekly addressing the nation. Blogging is just a new tool with which to communicate and share.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 4/04/2004
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