Tuesday, 6 April 2010

More intelligent debate on Twitter than in parliament #debill

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.

7 comments:

Vics said...

#DEBill; just further proof that democracy is truly dead in this country.

I can't believe that a law was allowed to be voted and passed by people who clearly had no grasp of the basic concepts required to understand what it was they were voting on.

..against the express wishes of their constituents at that.

George Credland said...

What amazed me was the few MPs who spoke of the outrage at the way it was being introduced largely voted for it anyway.

Glib assurances from media industry lobbyists that public wifi access shouldn't be impacted.

That much of the debate was peppered with childish Star Wars jibes shows the level of seriousness that MPs attach to the issues.

Hardly any news coverage as the debate was masked by the election announcement.

Kev King said...

The DE bill mashup http://debillitated.heroku.com/

Anonymous said...

What a hoot! Someone who works at one of the most undemocratic universities in the UK lecturing us on democracy!

Chris Sexton said...

Who's "us" in this context? Just wondered....

Anonymous said...

Who's us? Well, normally when people write web blogs, it's for a collective audience (so the 'Us' would be anyone who read the blog). But even if you change it to 'remarking on democracy', the irony remains the same.

Jack said...

Good post Chris - and last night's debate and subsequent vote on this bill was a farce!