“63 Possession of extreme pornographic images
(7) An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, any of the following:
(a) an act which threatens a person’s life,
(b) an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals,
(c) an act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or
(d) a person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive)”
- Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (as it appears on www.legislation.gov.uk)
Okay, now that I have your attention, I would like to take advantage of MoonProject apparently having a soft spot for my writing and publishing every incoherent and drunken raving I purge. Since this fortunate and unexplainable situation might not last for too much longer, I will share with you my admittedly far-fetched trip about how democracy might take an evolutionary step with the help of the awesome technology now available to most taxpayers.
This whole exercise requires naive disregard of the painfully stark reality that most politicians are crooked greedheads and powerjunkies and briefly assumes that at least a few of the elected representatives really have their electorate’s best interest in mind when they vote laws. A little transcendental meditation, if you will. I don’t have the right to vote in this country yet, and therefore no stake in the outcome, so it’s all up to those who do.
Internet and social media are peaking right now – there are more people online in the Queendom than ever before, and the number is growing every day. Politicians, such as elected MPs, in spite of their largely atavistic ways, also are embracing the Internet, slowly but consistently. Social media could become a live platform for voters and all other interested parties to more actively and directly engage in the process of democracy, by keeping in close touch with the politicians who determine our fate for a living.
Voting once every four or so years after a short, sensationalist, superficial and nasty campaign, then forgetting all about it until next time around could do with livening up and other mild adjustments. What if we had a secure platform where Mr Namey Cunningham could log in with say, a National Insurance Number and a bank account to prove he is a person, then check the Parliament’s busy timetable for the next period and vote himself, informally, on laws that concern him – as a poll, to give MPs an exact idea of what their constituency wants, and to also give the constituency a term of comparison; blatant disregard for the public interest would hardly go unnoticed in these conditions and interesting changes in political ‘vibrations’ may emerge. Mr Namey might be confused and show poor judgement, thus re-enacting the Fourth Reich in the UK – some would say and they might be right. Well, that’s why the politicians are there instead of anarchy – they are professionals and they would never let such a thing as the Fourth Reich happen, while at the same time they would get an idea of what the ones who put them there and who also pay for the ridiculously pricy life they live actually think. It would be a form of direct democracy, via an independent platform, and within a few years of this the political game might suffer some improvements because of people taking an actual responsibility in the country they inhabit. Populism would rise, maybe, but so would maturity – or so my cannabis-induced optimism seems to lead me believe.
Regardless of political affiliation and other unholy persuasions you might have, if you are serious about your own future and about the country you happen to live in, you should be serious about who you give your vote to as well. Taking half an hour after Sunday roast to log into, say, www.livelaws.gov.uk (?) and conscientiously and pointedly express your viewpoint on the parliament’s immediate agenda shouldn’t be too big a burden on anybody who reads the news. I have strong reservations, however, about those who only watch television – there’s a deep seated suspicion in my heart that they would be gravely and even terminally bewildered by such a leap of responsibility after sitting on the sofa for twenty years having catatonically watched the world changing. After all, any wild animal bred in captivity needs proper transition before becoming complete master of his own destiny. Ah, Darwin…
On the other hand, this practice would essentially legitimise clicktivism/ slacktivism and us frustrated hipsters who bitch and moan all the time about not having a real say in what goes on in politics, would be forced to keep our mouths shut or find other reasons to complain. “All they want us to do is keep on fussing and fighting” said Bob Marley, whose biographical documentary is making the rounds this week, apropos. I don’t know if it is wise to believe him, because smoking that marrywanner makes you say some weird things which should not necessarily be taken for granted. “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain” is another example. What does that mean, exactly? It could mean many totally different things, like all good metaphors, but I am tragically diverging.
Back to the point – a direct link to those who make our laws. Instead of scattered and poorly conceived petitions, facebook pages, activist hashtags and the rest of it, an official portal would focus a lot of the energy that is put into expressing one’s political opinions online. Imagine a huge funnel being placed over a floodlight that projects raw sewage at the speed of white light and you’re there.
I have attempted to ask smart people at my uni about this – postgrad students and lecturers of both sides of the political spectrum (I will let you decide who is what). The question was “If there was a government website where you could vote laws yourself before they are decided in Parliament, would you be bothered at all?” and here are the answers, as I got them:
Mr Aubrey, senior lecturer, motorcycle rider and ex marketing executive in the tobacco industry – a man of wealth, boats and individualism said “I would only bother to comment if there were a scrutinisable aggregated outcome! I mean that the number broadly in favour and the number broadly against should be declared. It would then be possible to see if the politicians took any notice. Some hope!” Let us pay no mind to the word ‘scrutinisable’, which does not exist, and rather focus on what clearly was enthusiastic agreement with my trip about tech-democracy. I continued to explain to Aubrey that “The idea would be of an independent platform to provide politicians with clear, specific and timely feedback on what their constituency thinks – thus putting some pressure on them to act according to the public interest and eliminating any question marks as to what that is.“ He seemed to like that.
Dr Nick, also senior lecturer and an easy going geezer who is maybe the most intelligent person I have met in this country, has an online profile on the uni website, which says “Nick is interested in how to apply Marx’s analysis of the inner workings of capitalism to the economic issues of today including the current credit crunch, the environment, the Euro, knowledge-based production and issues relating to the process of Globalisation in general. “ To my humble question, he still has no answer, after two weeks and five follow-up e-mails. I cannot spend the rest of my life waiting for my favourite lecturer to get back, so let us all assume he agrees, or not, and be done with it.
Postgrad Peter, studying an MBA in Finance, thought that “It’s definitely a good idea… if I’m honest I would only bother if I was required by law. If not, I would probably find better things to do with my time than fill out surveys for Her Majesty.” Forever pragmatists, these banking and finance types, and all of them keenly aware of the law, at least until they get recruited. Ah, innocence…
It’s 2K12, a year of our Lord, whoever might he be and where. It is still cheaper to lie in a comatose on the sofa than go out, but some of us take the expensive option once in a while, and face reality: it is cruel.