Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging in The UK

Posted by: on Sep 9, 2010 | No Comments

Stuart contributed a chapter, ‘The Rise of Consultation’.


The rise of consultation

Now that we all live in the Coalition Government’s ‘Big Society’ that means getting more and more used to our opinions being sought on a range of issues, from the services offered by Councils, to where new developments are built or whether NHS services in your area needs to change.

This trend is only set to continue and social media such as blogs and twitter can help to democratise decision-making, allowing more people to get involved from a broader cross section of society.  Engagement will no longer focus on the needs of a few well resourced NIMBYS but should instead take a broader view of those who will take part and how to allow them to do so.

Over the past twenty years we have moved from a situation where decision-makers did not need to listen to anyone to one where they have to listen.  The availability of technology alongside increasingly onerous legal requirements on organisations to consult and listen mean that online campaigns, blogs and social media have provided people with the power to make themselves heard.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government uses twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube as ways of keeping the public informed, but is also championing engagement as a way of helping to make the big decisions which it faces.  It is using the internet and social media to consult on major planks of its agenda such as the Spending Review, and which laws and regulations should be got rid of.  The ‘Your Freedom’ website encourages feedback and the comments left are a mix of tweets and more considered blog posts.

The Coalition’s Programme for Government promised a range of new measures which will encourage participation at national and local levels.  David Cameron’s Big Society has three core strands – social action, public service reform and community empowerment.  All of this to create communities with ‘oomph’.  However, this ‘oomph’ will only be delivered if it is made easy for the public to participate, and what easier way to do this than limiting contributions to 140 characters?


Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2010/11