I’ve been given the chance to post on the ICELE blog about the Budapest Conference. This is what I wrote:
I’ve now caught up on my sleep from Budapest, but not my thoughts.
I have two over-riding themes left over from the event. Firstly was
listening to Etienne Chouard speak about his experience as a blogger
gathering support for his view of the European Constitutional Treaty
against the combined power and reach of the government and mass-media.
It was a very clear demonstration of how e-democracy can work in the
One of the main points I took from his presentation was that it is
not acceptable under constitutional law for those in power to write the
constitution because inevitably it will result in the entrenchment of
those structures of power in an undemocratic way.
The second theme that remains with me from the conference is the
lack of inspiration, challenge and direction. We had too many civil
servants, NGO’s, insitutions and suppliers speaking and not enough
people actually practicing eDemocracy like Etienne and Tom Steinberg.
There wasn’t enough passion to drive us forward, to encourage local
politicians and officers to take risks. We needed to be reminded of the
upsides of eParticipation, and of the downsides of not doing anything.
Local authorities find stepping into the unpredictable world of
eDemocracy risky. We need to remind them why it is a risk worth taking.
In order to do this we need to reach out beyond those in power to
help write the direction for eDemocracy. We need to make sure that the
conversations that occured at the reception, at 2am in the bar, are not
lost, they should be continued in public and we should try to draw more
people into the conversation. Already a start is being made. Cllr Antonia Bance posted some remarks
on her blog and a conversation has ensued. I’m sure these conversations
are occurring elsewhere. If so please let everyone know by leaving a
comment on this blog so we can all contribute.