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Entries from March 2013

Politics In The Digital Age: A Transformation

March 23rd, 2013 · Comments

Douglas Carswell MP hosted a meeting at the House of Commons on “Politics In The Digital Age: A Transformation.”

At this meeting we discussed how the digital age could and is changing politics fundamentally. In Douglas Carswell’s Book The End of Politics he suggests that the digital revolution amounts to a transformation in human affairs on a par with the agrarian and the industrial revolutions. It will change the way that human social and economic affairs are arranged. Collectivism without government is going to be possible in a way that was previously unimaginable. The elite oligarchy will be overthrown.

But others are more cautious and believe that Governments and Major Corporations will try to take over and control the Internet and we will see the advent of a new big brother society where nothing will be private and the minutest detail of our lives become the property of the state. The elite oligarchy will not be overthrown. They will continue to rule with a vengeance.

Douglas was first elected to Parliament in 2005 in Clacton. Douglas Carswell  found prominence by calling for reform of parliamentary expenses before the 2009 expenses scandal. In recognition of his efforts to bring change to Westminster, in 2009 Spectator readers voted him Parliamentarian of the Year and The Daily Telegraph nominated him a Briton of the Year. His new book, The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy, was published in October 2012.

Nick Pickles is a Law graduate of the University of Durham. He joined Big Brother Watch as Director in September 2011, with a background in corporate public relations and technology. He will talk about some of the dangers of the digital age and the how the Internet could be used to create a big brother society where our privacy is invaded. Before joining Big Brother Watch he worked with small SMEs and multinational companies in corporate communications, in addition to working in the House of Commons.

Matthew Elliott is the founder and former Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance. He also acted as Campaign Director for the successful NOtoAV campaign in the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum. He believes that the digital revolution creates new opportunities for citizen activism. In 2010 Matthew was described by the BBC as “one of the most effective lobbyists at Westminster” and he was ranked by Total Politics as one of the top 25 political influencers in the UK. Matthew led the successful NO to AV campaign in May 2011. Matthew has written four books on public spending and is a Fellow of the RSA.


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Engaging Communities & Local Government

March 21st, 2013 · Comments

The relationship of local government to local communities is vital to both local democracy and community building. In the last decade there has been some major shifts in thinking about this relationship. This meeting is about the nature of that shift.

At this meeting we would like to create awareness about some of the major issues facing local government at a time of austerity and financial retrenchment. We would like to spark this off by looking at two models of future development in local government - one the co-operative model where users are involved as citizens and the “Barnet” model where users are viewed more as consumers and services are contracted out. Both models recognise we are in an environment where we need to get more from less but they come out with different solutions and these are worth discussion and scrutiny.

Leading us in this discussion will be

Heather Wheeler is Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire. She was brought up in Wandsworth and elected Councillor there at the age of 22. In 1995 Heather was elected onto South Derbyshire’s District Council, becoming Leader of the Council in 2007 and remained Leader until her successful election victory. In Parliament Heather is a member of the Standards and Privileges Select Committee, which oversees the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and recommends any changes to the Code of Conduct or to the rules and punishment relating to the conduct of MPs and

Steve Reed who became the MP for Croydon North after winning the by-election held in that constituency in November 2012. Previously Steve was Leader of Lambeth Council and was named one of the three most influential council leaders in the country by the Local Government Chronicle in 2011 and was the highest-ranked Labour politician in the 2010 Pink List compiled by The Independent on Sunday.

Professor Mike Hardy is the Executive Director of the Institute of Community Cohesion in Coventry. Mike is an established leader in intercultural dialogue with a wealth of international experience including a specific interest in diversity and cultural exchange. He began his career as an applied economist and was Head of Economics and Public Policy at Leeds Metropolitan before moving to a Chair in International Business at the University of Central Lancashire. In 1995, following work with FCO, British Council and European Commission in the transition states of East Europe, Mike moved full time to British Council to continue international work in private sector development.


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