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 …

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    What's wrong with the idea? This party gets itself totally bogged down on issues that very few people worry about, whilst campaigning against extending COVID r...
  • Peter Martin
    “Personal responsibility”, as Johnson and his ministers like to put it with a libertarian relish, has replaced emergency legislation as one of the main...
  • Paul Barker
    The point about Government or any messaging is that what matters is what people Hear. Whatever the Government meant to say, what most people Heard was " You don...
  • matt
    This says it far better than https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/22/england-covid-ethics-personal-responsibility "Since Boris Johnson declared...
  • John Marriott
    @Catherine Jane Crosland On the subject of wearing face masks or coverings of any kind, you may be right that this act does not afford the wearer massive prote...