Ed Balls, technology, and empowering people

Today at work, the children took a well deserved mini-trip to the local police station to have photo’s taken, meet the dogs, try on the handcuffs and see the day-to-day activities of their bobbies first hand.

I, unfortunately, couldn’t go as there were two adults already accompanying the trip, and, as a matter of circumstance, the mini-bus couldn’t fit me on due to lack of seats.

Fine, I thought, instead I shall go back into the classroom and have a quick look at Liberal Conspiracy, see what they have to offer today.

Sunny Hundal had written a piece promulgating his disappointment of New Labour’s disavowal of its centre-left roots, noting that despite not having anywhere else to turn, leftwingers should put their weight behind the party rather than leave it up to the Tories to fill the gaps (I admit that I’ve simplified his main arguments).

I largely agreed with the article. Though I would have changed two things about it.

Firstly, the problem is that some other options have cropped up for Labour leftwingers, some may well remember Lord Ashdown’s boasts that there were defections to his party around the time of the last local/European elections. Not to mention the Greens and smaller parties.

What a worrying prospect it is when one of our leading opinionists mentions; “That anger [of the expenses scandal] has now concentrated on the shattered Brown administration, whose manifest failings could destroy Labour’s chances of winning another election – maybe forever, if the Liberal Democrats and Greens take over what remains of the centre-left.”

The second thing I’d change is to do with when Sunny mentions; “So at this stage it makes more sense for Labour sympathisers to gear up for the General Election in 5-6 years time and figure out what are the big arguments the party needs to make and the coalitions it needs to build.” I say why wait until then. I see the realistic purpose of his mentioning this time period, but, the Labour party has the innovation to prove itself worthwhile of a progressive ticket, this is just obfuscated by blind obedience (to the Labour right) and kop-out rebellion (often, I should add, not always!).

Sunny, rather ambigiously, ends his entry with the question (not yet answered in the comment space below) “how can technology play a part in that in [influencing the Labour administration’s appeals to its centre-left homebase?]”

Well in thinking about possible ways technology can play a part in a progressive Labour party, I was thinking about what direction Ed Balls had pointed to in his recently published White Paper, with his proposal of;

“Setting up social networking websites for all schools to allow mothers and fathers to share “advice and information”. A series of trials for individual schools will be launched in September under a deal with the parenting websites Netmums and Dad Talk.”

An effective means of cyber-communication could mean more power for teacher-parent learning facilitation, and bring about new interactivity to the classroom, exactly how the Labour party have intended, with their ideas on empowering people in the public services.

Technology is a useful tool for communication, and could be the key to bringing about change in the public sector, and democracy itself.

So, in response to Sunny’s concluding question in his entry today, the Labour party, and Ed Balls especially, are already there.

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