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The keynote speaker at last week's e-democracy 07 conference, Professor Stephen Coleman, draw a direct parallel between interactive TV voting scandals, and people's loss of confidence in political engagement processes.
Deceptions over the naming of the Blue Peter cat, and location of the pink pig in Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway might seem trivial - but were enormously important in terms of trust, he explained in more detail in an interview after his presentation.
People assume that if you are asked to make an input there is a consequence, and that consequence is transparent, tangible and makes you feel you have influenced something. People feel cheated when that doesn't happen
I started from that basis because I wanted to say that politics is often a very similar experience for many people, and the question I wanted to ask is whether e-democracy is the panacea to that feeling of frustration and being cheated, or is it in fact a part of the problem.
They key issue, said Stephen, was that people want to be respected. If politicians and officials are to be trusted - as they wish - then they have to respect people.
After 10 years of the Internet in politics, the argument that it makes a difference has been won.
The question now is how do we re-establish rules of the game that make it fair, make it meaningful to provide real efficacy for people - that's where we need to be thinking now - not shall we do it, but how do we do it. For me that has to be about a contract between the public and politicians that sets out very clear standards of engagement.
If you are asked, whether it is to sign an e-petition, or to engage in an online consultation, or to send an email to your MP, there have got to be transparent procedures for what is expected to happen to that and where the process is.
Stephen went on to say that e-democracy has not significantly build trust between politicians and voters - the Consumers to Business relationship. What has happened is that social networking has developed the Consumer to Consumer relationship. That is where new ideas and better collective action is being developed. Government now has to have the humility to enter that social networking space to learn, and to make sure that there is equality of voice for the potentially socially excluded. What we need - among other things - is a common online space which is trusted and protected for online deliberation.
BBC conference report: E-petitions: Godsend or gimmick?