Matthew Taylor

Tony Blair’s outgoing policy chief has said he fears the internet could be fuelling a “crisis” in the relationship between politicians and voters.

What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.

He challenged the online community to provide more opportunities for “people to try to understand the real trade-offs that politicians face and the real dilemmas that citizens face”.

In one sense, he’s right: the big problems in politics are not about politicians, they are about competing and incompatible demands.

What prevents these difficult problems being even seriously addressed, however, is the venality, stupidity and mendaciousness of politicians.

It’s not the public who are ignoring the real issues, it is the politicians.

If we were to get politicians who were not venal, stupid and mendacious, the real difficult problems would not go away, but at least they could be faced.

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