“Identifying gleefully with the anti-government techie culture may become a problem once they actually are the government.”

I haven’t worked out how far I travel with Rafael Behr in last Sunday’s Observer. But he does have a tendency of coming up with really excellent writing on technology and politics. Here he is on the ultimate fate of the Tories enthusiastic embrace of the web ethos:

The Tories are sailing towards power on a strong technological tail wind. But for Cameron and Co to think that translates into a long-term political advantage, let alone a cogent ideology, is delusional. They look admiringly at the energy of social networking sites and at the voluntarism and entrepreneurship that characterise web innovation and they see in it a vast store of civic power. If only, they think, that could be harnessed to meet the social obligations that Labour thinks belong to the state. This is the Holy Grail of so-called compassionate conservatism: to pull back the tide of government, confident that civil society will grow organically into the gap. But there is no substance to it, no evidence, just wireless faith.

What will actually happen is that chunks of the public sector will be parcelled out to online providers, but instead of mass privatisation it will be called post-bureaucratisation. And when it emerges that Facebook and Mumsnet are not quite equal to the task of supplanting the welfare state, social policy will be back to the old, analogue drawing board.

Read the full article here.

Comments are closed.