A welcome return to Andrea di Maio and an issue that he raises, not that I’ve been ignoring him or inferring that he’s said nothing worthwhile in the meantime. In a piece on his blog from 24 September entitled “Eparticipation in Europe – living in a bubble” he successfully notes that whilst most of the money is at a EC level, the need or expectation is at a local one, secondly that those into e-participation have built a self-sustaining community focused on e-participation as an end in itself.
Andrea states that:
“Of course opening additional channels to citizens to intervene more effectively in the policy-making process makes a great deal of sense.
The problem remains of whether this is exactly what people are looking for. In a democracy each of us expects to outsource policy making and participation to one or several democratically elected representatives. While putting us in closer touch with our representatives is a valid objective, so that they get a better feel about our wants and needs is essential, the value of enhancing our individual ability to directly influence parliamentary processes is more questionable.”
This aligns well with my own theory that e-democracy is one of the antimonies of e-government. It was assumed by some to be an integral part of e-government, frequently whispered about but never delivered. With e-government being the natural heir of neo-liberal New Public Management, one could not follow the other – one cannot have marketization of the polis delivering deliberative or direct democracy. All e-particpation can currently offer is an electronic version of the less-than-satisfactory process we have now.
So how do we join the two?