The website and conversational politics project www.PoliticalInnovation.org launches rather more officially today with this piece by Mick Fealty, published simultaneously in the Telegraph and Slugger O’Toole amongst others. There is also a nascent Facebook and Google group site you can join – both of which I can’t recommend too highly.
First I must declare an interest in all of this. I’ve had an on-and-off fascination with creating a repository of all kinds of political DNA for quite some time now – ever since I first thought up the idea in my MembersNet days. The idea came to me, in fact, after two weekend seminars I attended on Labour Party thought. I found them fascinating and felt that – in an ideal world – such an experience could be automated via online tools, extended to all thought from all sources and shared amongst a much wider audience.
In the real world, of course, corporate sponsors (whether straightforwardly capitalist or more labour-related) would probably insist on the incorporation of only certain kinds of thought into any such web-based database. The broad and unrestricted content I would far prefer where possible would never attract the rather more limited interests of such philanthropists.
Even so, I wondered if it couldn’t be worth pursuing as an idea – worth pursuing as a project.
This idea, essentially an academy of online thought, then transmuted into something else rather more complex when I came into contact with the music website www.Last.fm – a powerful data-mining site which has the ability to learn your likes and dislikes and suggest appropriate content for future listening. Similar in many ways to quite a few web tools out there, it’s nevertheless a most effective encapsulation of what I suddenly realised could be done in the field of political thought.
An automated online tool for learning, debating and stretching horizons. Not simply a provider of what you’d like to listen to but an expander of what you might one day become interested in following up.
Without wishing to steal Andrew Regan’s thunder, most of what this concept I hoped could lead up to has already been achieved – and quite mightily I might say – in the website www.Poblish.org. And if it is not exactly there in current functionality, it could, quite easily, with an appropriate demand and support, become a constructive and conversational element of an educated and educating British body politic.
Conversation across the whole political spectrum, in fact.
That is what this project is looking – bravely and wisely – to achieve.
It should, in a world of evermore strained political relations and yet evermore shared fates and destinies, receive the most generous welcome we can possibly offer it.
If you find yourselves intrigued by the web and its potential application in constructive politics, please find it within yourself to get involved in www.PoliticalInnovation.org.
For this could lead to a much brighter future for us all.
And, God knows, we need it right now.