Author Archives: Carl Miller

The Independent View: Grassroots 2.0

With Conference season upon us once again, Parties reach out to embrace their wider membership of activists, supporters and sympathisers. This brief popping of the Westminster bubble is of course vital: a safeguard stopping Westminster disappearing into its own parochial obsessions.

Party Conference is only one of a number of ways of dipping into the wider public mood, of course. Polls, focus groups, constituency surgeries, party machinery and, indeed fora like Liberal Democrat Voice all allow views and concerns to (sometimes) percolate up to the leadership. And some politicians – such as Tony Blair at his height – seem to have …

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The Independent View: A blueprint for social media intelligence

The controversy over the Government’s plans to legislate for Internet surveillance, the ‘Communications Capabilities Development Programme’, has exposed a deep division within the Coalition. Into the dispute that has simmered since some details were first leaked earlier this month, David Cameron himself has weighed in to say that the proposals are necessary to stop crime, whereas Tim Farron has threatened to kill it “if we think this is a threat to a free and liberal society”.

This rumbling outrage surrounding CCDP testifies to the importance of a principled, publicly argued grounding for any kind of intelligence. It is exactly …

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The Independent View | ‘Truth, Lies & the Internet’ – how we need to educate our children for the digital age

The Internet can be a hugely liberating force. Bypassing the traditional gatekeepers — publicists and editors — the ‘public sphere 2.0’ empowers pressure groups, citizen journalists and researchers to hold the powerful and the responsible to account, armed with far more specialist expertise, analysis and facts at our fingertips than ever before.

But the Internet can also trap and snare. Now that the floodgates of self-published and user-generated content have opened, there is also an unprecedented amount of utter nonsense floating around in the digital aether: from genuine mistakes to selective half-truths, hidden bias and outright, naked …

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The Independent View: Confronting conspiracy theories is a classic case of civic society trumping central government

Conspiracy theories, an increasingly popular dinnertime conversation, are often otherwise dismissed and ignored. At most they are regarded as the amusing yet ultimately harmless hobby of a fringe, irrelevant few. They are neither of these things. They are a powerful social phenomenon. In many contexts they demolish trust between government and communities. In some, they are dangerous.

On Sunday, Demos released a report, The Power of Unreason. In it, we looked at the role that conspiracy theories play in radical and extremist groups. Analysing over 50 such groups, we found conspiracy theories to have a strong functional value that play …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | 29 Comments
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  • User Avatarrichard underhill 6th Aug - 2:17pm
    Hopefully the next Lib Dem leader will avoid the mistake which Paddy Ashdown made of crIticizing one of the previous leaders, despite his fashion in...
  • User AvatarJulian Hawkins 6th Aug - 2:17pm
    Peter - I am one of a small group of GLD members promoting a carbon tax plus dividend in the party, and what you describe...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 6th Aug - 2:16pm
    Peter Martin, you say you don't think a Labour or Lib Dem government would have done any better, but as you know the report into...
  • User AvatarJulian Hawkins 6th Aug - 2:14pm
    David - thanks for your comments. A lot of the work on planning to reduce emissions has already been done, and is in the policy...
  • User AvatarMichael Bukola 6th Aug - 2:13pm
    Thanks for the comments being Made so far. @James - Completely respect the distinction between The Black and White Mistrel Show and the Real McCoy,...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 6th Aug - 1:51pm
    Kieran, welcome to the Lib Dems. The move from Labour to the Lib Dems is not an easy one, but it's one that has been...