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The potential for technology to influence and aid the democratic process is fascinating. It will possibly be pre-eminent constitutional issue of the early 21st century.

It strikes me however that two things are important here and have to be considered here.

Firstly, how blogs such as this one interact with the "mainstream" media. This relationship will be critical for the development of blogs as a part of the political process. At the moment there is a tendency for blogs to be seen as peripheral to the news, rather than an active part of it. Increasingly political stories and comment will be a multi-lateral process rather than one of writer and reader. The dynamics of news needs to change, and I believe will do so.

Secondly, for this relationship to become mainstream it needs to widen its participation. At the moment we tend to get a proliferation of contributors making comments and engaging regularly. Increasingly we need to see a wider section of the public making comments occasionally too increase the legitimacy of blogging as a democratic function.

I would expect the difference between representative and direct democracy to narrow as the relationship between the different political institutions changes.

It is the quality of the comments, rather than quantity, that counts.

Aboriginal Canadian, Deputy Ed? Never heard of that before! Check your story mate.

Quality of course Selsdon man is terribly important, and I must say one of the things I was trying to get at is the potential for blogging as a part of a news story not just a reaction to it.

Very striking that one of the major factors in Harper's impressive showing is his promise to deliver a middle class tax cut and shift the burden down the scale.


Not striking at all and not really relevant.

Aboriginal Canadian, Deputy Ed? Never heard of that before! Check your story mate.
I heard the phrase from Canada


Whilst we try to run a successful conservative campaign here, I would have thought it would be vastly relevant to look at what has worked elsewhere. And given thatits a topic on the CanCons in the first place......

I agree, Andy. Whatever conclusions one draws, one should always be looking around at experiences in other parts of the world. To consider them 'not relevant' like Andy is silly. Some people seem to think that Conservatism begins afresh every time Cameron comes up with his latest wheeze.

I meant
To consider them 'not relevant' like Rob is silly.

I take the point about looking at successful strategies elsewhere and as I understand it that is the purpose of the International Democratic Union. But I’m still uncomfortable. We need as David Cameron has said repeatedly "to do the right thing" and I think that means making judgements based on the political situation in Britain. It's sometimes too easy to support a particular agenda by saying, this worked in that country.

Some of us promote a conservative agenda because we believe it is better for people - better for people in America, Briatin, Canada, Australia, Germany... Of course we have a conservative agenda. Otherwise we'd be managers and civil servants (that's not a put-down of civil servants; but it's different from having a political vision).

"But a Conservative victory on Monday won't signify a shifting of political opinion in Canada, which remains a very liberal country, but rather an intense dissatisfaction with Paul Martin's leadership over the past two years which has been called adrift and purposeless.

Bart Ramson is a Liberal Party supporter and blogs from Calgary, Alberta."

Found this on the BBC weblink that was given above. Hilarious how, on both sides of the Atlantic, Liberals manage to delude themselves into believing that the electorate naturally supports them. Whether this is actually the case in Canada, I don't know, but this comment reminded me of similar and frequent waffles by Lib Dim supporters in local press around the country.

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