Today was a very dismal day if you've been following the progress on the Digital Economy Bill. Despite a vigorous campaign against it, thousands of letters and emails to MPs opposing it, numerous critical analyses of it on blogs and in newspaper articles, it passed its second reading tonight, in a very, very poor demonstration of our democracy in action. Only a handful of MPs turned up to debate it - I estimate about 30 to 40 started, but there was less than 20 at some points. The LibDems who'd promised to oppose it, backtracked, and it was patently obvious to us watching the debate live that virtually non of them present understood technology at all. There were one or two enlightened MPs who spoke against it - but not enough.
This is for something that for several hours today was a trending topic on Twitter - worldwide, not just in the UK - so, more people talking about it, debating it, and understanding the issues on a social networking site than in the place responsible for it becoming law. There were some very spurious arguements in its favour, quoting figures with no citation or verification, and obviously provided by the rights-holders.
In the words of one tweeter, @alnya - " a bill proposed by the unelected, debated by the ignorant and voted on by the absent". Excellent description.
Oh, and in case you wondered, my MP did NOT get back to me - despite me emailing him four times - all polite. As I'm in the mood for naming and shaming, it's Richard Caborn, and as he's retiring now, I copied my mails to the prospective parliamentary candidate, but he didn't reply either. So much for our opinion counting.