The words of Blair’s outgoing chief strategy adviser translated for “net-heads”. (As a hostile, self-righteous blogger, I may have got the wrong end of the stick. Never mind, I’m sure nobody else has.)

“We have a citizenry which can be caricatured as being increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government.”

British citizens are unruly and not yet ready for democracy.

“At a time at which we need a richer relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had, to confront the shared challenges we face, arguably we have a more impoverished relationship between politicians and citizens than we have ever had. It seems to me this is something which is worth calling a crisis.”

The actions of politicians in certain areas and their inaction in others has no bearing on this.

“The internet has immense potential but we face a real problem if the main way in which that potential expresses itself is through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill discourse of demands.”

Citizens should not be allowed to participate in discourse or make demands.

“If you look at the way in which citizens are using technology and the way that is growing up, there are worrying signs that that is the case. What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.”

Unedited opinion is generally hostile. There are no stupid or venal politicians. Politicians don’t lie, and if they ever do, citizens should not say so.

“The internet is being used as a tool of mobilisation, which is fantastic, but it only adds to the growing, incommensurate nature of the demands being made on government.”

Citizens should not make so many demands on government. Making demands on government is incommensurate with paying government a quarter or more of one’s income each year.

He challenged the online community to provide more opportunities for “people to try to understand the real trade-offs that politicians face and the real dilemmas that citizens face”.

Although the online community should say less, it should say more. This is one of the dilemmas citizens face that they just don’t understand.

“I want people to have more power, but I want them to have more power in the context of a more mature discourse about the responsibilities of government and the responsibilities of citizens.”

With great power comes great responsibility. If you crawl around on a web all day, you must accept this. (Yes, Uncle Ben.)

“You have to be part of changing that culture. It’s important for people who understand technology, to move from that frame of mind, which is about attacking the establishment into one which is about problem-solving and social enterprise.”

People who understand technology don’t understand problem-solving. They shouldn’t attack the establishment, who do.

Government also needed to “develop new forms of consultation and engagement that are deliberative in their form and trust citizens to get to the heart of the difficult trade-offs involved.”

A medium that allows one to say whatever is on one’s mind is insufficiently deliberative in form. We should trust citizens—as long as they don’t make too many demands.

23 November 2006 · Net Culture

"We have a citizenry which can be caricatured..."

I assume that "caricatured" means "I think the citizenry is like this, but if it backfires I can pretend it isn't me that thinks so?"

The whole thing just makes me go "augh!" Not that that proves me capable of self-government.

Added by K on 29 November 2006.

Yes, some good evasive language there.

Added by Rory on 30 November 2006.

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