Whitehall and bloggers

The Ideal Government blog comments on Gordon Brown's call for Government to make better use of the internet to have an open debate about globalisation and trade.  The Times quotes Mr Brown:

“We have not had these debates successfully. Why are we so much on the defensive on globalisation, why have we failed on the trade debate, why haven’t we persuaded people of the wisdom of what is being done on Iraq?”

Mr Brown said that the positive aspects of globalisation were not being communicated because voices on the internet focused on job losses and other downsides. It was a similar story on world trade, he added.

“One of the failures on trade is that we have not had the debate and on globalisation that we have not been prepared to have the debate,” Mr Brown said

There is not much incentive for government officials to use the internet to engage in these debates – and plenty of downside risks if we overstep the mark.  I wonder whether Mr Brown will do more to encourage it.

3 thoughts on “Whitehall and bloggers”

  1. The reason for the failures of the trade and Iraq debates has little to do with internet debating presence, and more to do with the fact that in the former case the intended beneficiaries are unconvinced, with good reason, of the benefits of further trade liberalisation and the likelihood of developed countries keeping their promises in the absence of any credible commitment mechanism, and in the latter because it’s led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and turned Iraq into a Disneyland for extremism. You’d have to be a pretty good debater to overcome those problems.

  2. "Mr Brown said that the positive aspects of globalisation were not being communicated because voices on the internet focused on job losses and other downsides. It was a similar story on world trade, he added.

    “One of the failures on trade is that we have not had the debate and on globalisation that we have not been prepared to have the debate,” Mr Brown said"

    Which blogs are they reading to get that view then? Obviously not mine or yours.

  3. Adam

    Your comments on Iraq are outside my field of competence.  But on trade: we do have a credible commitment mechanism (and a very effective one) – the World Trade Organization. 

    Owen

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