I went to see Leslie Riddoch a while ago. She was talking about Norway. She was telling us that Norwegians feel closer to the democratic process because they are organised in smaller units than our councils. Basically they have way more councils than us, but a pretty similar overall population.
Imagine a world where those smaller units can make real decisions for their community. We use the technology to achieve that for frivolous reasons at the moment. I can download an app and decide the fate of a celebrity in a house in North London and I can pretty much guarantee a fair vote with an app because it’ll only let you vote once. That’s because we have a digital ID as a subscriber to that app.
If you take that concept and create a digital ID for everyone, you can ask the people anything you want. How much more democratic can you be?
But it will get hacked, I hear you say. We all fear technology a little. That’s healthy. It has the power to overwhelm us if we don’t control it. I can’t help feeling that I have major reservations about paper, if that’s how this works. Can I say that, paper elections are extremely easily corrupted. I know what happens if I ever try to subvert a network in an office. A well secured network, one person, one vote is so simple to understand if you have control. If you have a network security manager.
I envisage a world where the council propose selling off a park for development. A community group arrange a Blockchain secure network vote, so that the whole community can decide. Give them a week possibly to vote. That’s Democracy from below. We don’t need to do Democracy from above. If the council make their case, the community can vote for or against them. Take that to National Election level and you have a properly democratic process.
I hear so many people say I’m bored with politics, but then you get talking to them. It nearly always turns out that they are extremely interested in politics when they realise that politics is just decisions being made on their behalf, either for their benefit or otherwise. Turns out it’s politicians that they don’t like. Who’d a thunk it?
So do we need them, if we can make the decisions? Well we still need opinion formers, so there is a job there. Someone has to attempt to get the people to follow their agenda. That’s what politics is isn’t it. There is definitely a place for those kind of people and once communities become involved you’ll start to see a more representative democracy. We don’t need the kind of people who represent us now, because we can do it.
That technology is there already. If you have a bus pass, you have a digital ID. As soon as everyone has that digital ID, the world is democracy’s oyster, if we control it. I understand the fear of technology completely. The modern world gets scarier by the minute if you don’t control it, but we can do that with technology that is already in use everywhere, including for the frivolous reasons mentioned earlier.
The Scottish Government are actively investigating #BlockchainDemocracy. This is going to happen folks. It’s very important that the people control it. If that happens it can only be good for ordinary people.