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Budapest Continued August 1, 2006

Posted by Shane McCracken in Budapest symposium, Commentary.

shane_mccracken.jpgI’ve now caught up on my sleep from Budapest, but not my thoughts.

I have two over-riding themes left over from the event. Firstly was listening to Etienne Chouard speak about his experience as a blogger gathering support for his view of the European Constitutional Treaty against the combined power and reach of the government and mass-media. It was a very clear demonstration of how e-democracy can work in the real world.

One of the main points I took from his presentation was that it is not acceptable under constitutional law for those in power to write the constitution because inevitably it will result in the entrenchment of those structures of power in an undemocratic way.

The second theme that remains with me from the conference is the lack of inspiration, challenge and direction. We had too many civil servants, NGO’s, insitutions and suppliers speaking and not enough people actually practicing eDemocracy like Etienne and Tom Steinberg. There wasn’t enough passion to drive us forward, to encourage local politicians and officers to take risks. We needed to be reminded of the upsides of eParticipation, and of the downsides of not doing anything. Local authorities find stepping into the unpredictable world of eDemocracy risky. We need to remind them why it is a risk worth taking.

In order to do this we need to reach out beyond those in power to help write the direction for eDemocracy. We need to make sure that the conversations that occured at the reception, at 2am in the bar, are not lost, they should be continued in public and we should try to draw more people into the conversation. Already a start is being made. Cllr Antonia Bance posted some remarks on her blog and a conversation has ensued. I’m sure these conversations are occurring elsewhere. If so please let everyone know by leaving a comment on this blog so we can all contribute.

Shane McCracken



1. Cllr. Gavin Ayling - August 1, 2006

The conversation on attendee’s blogs certainly hasn’t started to flow yet — I suspect we, like you, are still gathering our thoughts!

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