Lies, damned lies

October 10, 2012

In a blog that is loosely attributed to a former American president it’s about time I quoted one of his most famous attributions – “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time” – Abraham Lincoln, (attributed) 16th president of US (1809 – 1865). Any attempt to fool people by those with any responsibility for their governance should be treated promptly and publicly. In the UK we have seen the incidence of lies and untruths about the recent past that are currently being revealed increasing, whilst those in authority cringing at the delayed revelations, can only bring themselves to say that matters have changed since then.

Open data may have some of the answers but this requires a basic lack of trust on the citizen side for them to know and suspect which data they need to analyse. This may be compared to  Heather Brooke carrying out Freedom of Information requests to reveal the UK Members of Parliament expenses scandal. This is unlikely to have been revealed, even with open data, without a smell of corrupt practice. Her Majesty’s Members of Parliament and other elected or appointed officials need to treat Her Majesty’s subjects with less disdain and should be treated harshly for breaches of their trust.

Which would come cheapest and easiest – the provision of open data or principled behaviour by those we are expected to trust? This would be transparent and open government on the cheap, but government that we should be able to expect.



April 14, 2011

This blog actually started in December 2007 when the first post was published all about NI14 (has everybody forgotten about ‘avoidable contact’ now?), my first questionnaire was actually (and importantly) posted on the 14th April 2008. The date was chosen since it was the anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, perhaps not something to rejoice over but it was a memorable date and  he was known as the Great Emancipator! Get it? He issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 which freed the slaves in those States not in Union control – I recently had to explain to non-English speakers what emancipation is , it’s not a common term these days, but emancipation is all about freeing the object from whatever form of bondage it is subject to. 

The term Great Emancipator was abused not long after that when it was used to promote the newly developed sewing machine as the liberator of womankind! No one obviously thought about the sweatshops that were to follow.

Listening one day to Gillian Welch and her song April the 14th Part 1, it occurred to me that e-government was envisaged as a similar emancipator to the sewing machine but not as the Great Emancipator, hence I called the blog The Great E-mancipator.

It’s three years on since that first questionnaire. I submitted my PhD dissertation in July 2010. I successfully defended the thesis at viva in September 2010. However a few changes were requested, which delayed the signing off, however these were recently accepted…so happy anniversary to my research, the PhD may be finished but the blog will continue.

Happy birthday

February 12, 2009

The 12 February 1809 saw the birth of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, it was also the birth date for Charles Darwin, who may be described as the great emancipator of the mind with his theory of evolution. Human beings were no longer constrained to the belief that they were created a few thousand years before but were the product of millions of years of natural selection. They also both share the honour of having their portraits on currency notes in general circulation in their respective countries! What is the connection to e-government? Well, I believe that we need freeing from the slavery of managerialism and NPM to be able to transform government, along with needing to make the citizen the focus of the eco-system of government for them to survive as citizens. Happy birthday to the great emancipators!

14th April 1865 Death of the Great Emancipator

April 12, 2008

One hundred and forty three years ago President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated – He is known as the Great Emancipator. I have chosen the date to promote this blog (The Great E-mancipator), although you will realise I have been adding content for a few months as I collected my thoughts as my dissertation started taking shape.

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