Virtual government; going web 2.0

Whatever country you’re from you’ll know how expensive it is to run a government. The person representing your area has to travel a lot for sessions at the centre of power. And what do they do when they get there?; shout & argue with each other for one!

Here we’re asking you to think about running things differently; by virtual government (or utilizing Web 2.0 technology). Each constituency gets a fully kitted out media centre where your representative hooks up to the government debates as needed. The best bit; you and other voters get to go along too, reminding your representative just who he/she is working for.

Vote above. Make your vote count.

PS. Of course we’ll let them meet up occassionally – just so they can catch up on power gossip and remember who their friends (and enemies) are.


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13 Responses to Virtual government; going web 2.0

  1. Dan Thornton says:

    Why on earth would virtual government mean that I need a representative? I already have access to a laptop and mobile, and I’m far better positioned to use them than the average politician.

    Web 2.0 is about democratization, not saving elected officials a bit of time out of their day!

  2. matt says:

    I know what you’re saying there Dan but, people still need to be able to go along and see their locally elected representative if they need help with something, or indeed to campaign on a particular issue. I’m not talking about doing away with people representatives all together, simply how the system of parliamentary process is run and how we as voters can be more involved.

    Regarding time spent in a politician’s week, currently an MP would spent one day a week in their constituency (if we’re lucky). The virtual government proposal not only saves on unnecessary CO2 emissions but also allows that politician to spend more time in their own constituency, getting things done locally.

  3. Jose says:

    A virtual government that rules in accordance with the Law would be Utopian.

    There wouldn’t be opposition and it brings to my mind the translation systems that are sold where translations must be re-translated because they are practically incomprehensible.

    Virtual governments would – and that should be a great achievement – not be bribed, but here again let’s not forget hackers and pirates.

    The huge costs we are affording now would be obviated.

    In my opinion what would really mean a considerable saving in political costs should be to do away with the personal representatives. We would elect votes in parliaments and one only representative should press a button as many times as votes correspond to the particular party.

    You may imagine what would ensue if you wish!

  4. matt says:

    Hi Jose

    Welcome to The Coffee House.

    I’m not sure there would be no opposition party as it depends on who is voted into each constituency, unless you really are talking about replacing elected representatives with direct voter participation on all issues before a slimmed down parliament, run by officials (unelected)?

    Trouble is, people don’t generally find the time to consider all the evidence put up for consideration before a policy decision is made. Currently politicians are meant to do this for us but of course they often follow the party line (and therefore may switch off from considering any policy detail).

    As we all know Switzerland is considered the king of voter participation via referendums (referenda). Are these used in Spain at all?

  5. Jose says:

    Virtual government versus virtual opposition? I cannot imagine it, wouldn’t that be going too far?

    In Spain referendums are held when there may be changes that affect the Constitution.

  6. the Grit says:

    Hi Dan,

    I think you miss the point, which is that we’ll still need representative government since the general electorate doesn’t have time to be familiar with all the minutia of the decisions made by said government. Heck, most members of the US Government don’t have time or expertise to understand the details of the issues before them and have to rely on the committee system to put individuals with expertise in that area in charge of general decision making in that field. Ah… Ah… Ignore that while I check to see if I can afford a laptop.

    Hi Matt,

    While I voted affirmative in your poll, it won’t work over here, mainly because the concept doesn’t take into account all the fancy parties in Washington and that being several hundred, or thousand, miles away from home on a regular basis makes it so much easier to keep a mistress. There’s also the fact that, from an environmental point of view, in our country the trips of lobbyists hither and yon across the nation to catch some face time with various Congress-people would easily double or triple the impact of everyone involved making a trip to one central location. On the other hand, it might make sense to move our Capital closer to the center of the country. And, now that I think about it, we’d probably be better off if all of our legislative representatives were required to walk to the Capital.

    Excellent post by the way.

    the Grit

  7. matt says:


    Just think, faceless lobbyists reduced to emailing their targets. 🙂

    Dan is young, in his twenties. They’re disillusioned with politics but still believe in utopian solutions (ie. a little simplistic).


    Yes, opposition has to exist! It works by debate and vote, with the technology allowing on screen the face of the person as they take their turn to speak. All participants would have to look at the speaker of the house, as we call the convenor here in the UK. Along the bottom of the screen all participants are shown with their face within a little box (just how we voters like them – egos boxed in) 🙂

  8. Jose says:

    LOL. Well, but what will happen to the political witticism? That witticism that was the essential in politics?

    Yes, I know it has gone with the wind and every time politicians are blunter, without a tinge of cleverness, not that cleverness learnt but the one that is born with the individual.

    Anyhow, we can always dream, can’t we?

  9. matt says:

    We have something called Question Time in the UK which is run by the BBC and has been going for decades. It’s a weekly ‘ask the invited politician’ a topical question format and is hugely popular with the public. It’s televised and on radio.

    I guess I’m looking at a version of that but, hooking each local area directly somehow into the political decision making process … utilizing web 2.0 technologies. Businesses after all use ‘conference call’.

  10. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    Ah, young and disillusioned with politics and the world. Good times; good times. Still, I’m always ready to take a look at simplistic Utopian solutions because, heck, one day someone may come up with one that works, and wouldn’t it be sad if we missed it?

    As to y’all’s political system, the main feature I want us to adopt is that bit where the Prime Minister has to stand before Parliament and take questions on a regular basis. Dang, but that would do us a world of good. Besides, lots of our elected representatives could do with the exercise provided by all that standing up and down 🙂

    Hi Jose,

    Interestingly enough, at least to me, the original political election system in the US was based on just the sort of thing you’re talking about. This was most apparent in our method of picking a President, which is the only office that is decided nationally. Our Founders, back in the days where rapid communication and travel weren’t available, figured that each small local area should choose a person, or persons depending on population density, to get together and choose a President.

    The idea was that, since most people back then, and now for that matter, didn’t have time to or the ability to find out all the necessary information on the candidates needed to make an informed choice, they would select a representative(s) from their community that they trusted to do it for them. This is referenced in the Constitution as the “Electoral College,” for reasons that I don’t know. In the beginning, these people were free to vote for anyone they wanted, and, as our early history shows, that worked out pretty well. Then, over the years, the individual States started to put restrictions on who their delegates could vote for based on the results of the general election in that State, and things have gone down hill from there. Our old system gave the potential Presidents a chance to address a few hundred informed people and state their case. These days, our President is mostly chosen based on how much money they have to buy advertising on TV. Still, as you wisely say, one can always dream.

    the Grit

  11. earthpal says:

    Hi guys, I haven’t time to read up all the comments here so apologies if I repeat anyone, but just to say I voted yes. It’s a great idea but I would like reassurances that there was no chance of corruption or dishonesty. And it would exclude all those citizens who don’t or can’t use the internet.

  12. matt says:

    Hey EP

    Those that don’t have the internet can participate in the local media centre conferences where their MP debates (tele-conferencing) with his/her fellow MPs on current policy issues.

    France I believe helps with the funding of internet connections for some citizens which is something that could be looked into.

    Thanks for voting.

  13. matt says:

    As of today it’s about 50/50 with those ‘for’ or ‘against’ a slimmed down system of democratic government, using some sort of web 2.0 technology to help this process along.

    I find this very encouraging as people don’t normally like to see major changes put in place, for anything. Maybe the pace of change we see today in all aspects of our lives and wider society makes this general proposal easier to digest?

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