“Representative democracy was based on the idea that people are thick”

Us Now

I went along to see Us Now on Wednesday and I like it a lot — and not just because it’s got me in it!

The funny thing about being on camera is that you sometimes come out with things you didn’t know you were going to say. In Us Now I surprised myself when I said, “Representative democracy was based on the idea that people are thick. That’s just not the case.”

Now I do believe exactly that, but I’d never thought about it in that way until I said it. To be a bit more nuanced, I don’t believe that representative democracy is going to disappear but I do think it will change. It was one of the things I was trying to get across in the piece I wrote with Tom for the FT Magazine. The infrastructure of representative democracy, which in the UK is really political parties, is struggling far more than people recognise. I don’t think it would take much for any of the political parties to collapse very quickly because alternative ways of organising and financing are very close to having the same efficiency as parties.

As I say in the film I think the really interesting stuff will happen around the edges of government where people use digital tools to organise themselves to deliver services better than institutional government can. The film is full of examples of people doing just that.

I’m not sure what the plan is for distribution of the film but if you get a chance to see it, it’s well worth a watch.

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