Apologies for the extended absence. I have been securing employment, surfing and spearfishing. Hard life, innit.
I've come across Dan Hind a couple of times before but his opinion article for Al Jazeera contains a familiar concept for regular followers of punkscience. The odd thing is that someone so clearly switched-on and perceptive as Hind can propose the application of such a concept in such a limited fashion. Direct democracy, if you're not familiar with the term, is the idea that all legislative decisions should be open to participation by the entire electorate, instead of solely by representatives elected by some semi-representative process. Sci-fi fans might be familiar with the Demarchist society of the Yellowstone Glitter Band created by Alistair Reynolds in his Revelation Space Novels, where citizens carry implants which convey their personal positions on all matters automatically to a central processing system which arranges policies accordingly (it should be pointed out that demarchy, or democratic anarchy, differs conceptually from direct democracy and the demarchist label is misapplied by Reynolds).
Back to Dan Hind, I say its "odd" that he fails to perceive the relevance of direct democracy beyond mere agenda setting for the media, but that's just another example of how institutional thinking blinds people to the wider implications of their thinking. A problem that is endemic throughout our society. Hind even alludes to the importance of DD for broader society himself:
"Given the constitutional significance of the media - the fact that democracy itself depends on adequate information – we need nothing short of a constitutional change in the way we gather and disseminate that information."
So, we need a change in the way information is gathered and disseminated, but not in the profoundly undemocratic system in which it is applied in the UK and other countries? See? odd. Its like the self-censorship that Hind criticises is manifested in his own thinking. I, of course, being something of an arrogant bastard, am quite happy to let my words trample across other people's intellectual turf.