David Miliband, the environment minister tipped to be the next Labour Party leader by a friendly Westminster press, says “a new spirit” is afoot in the UK, brought about by Web 2.0.
Miliband said the web had polarised debate into competing extremities, where the truth was decided by whoever shouted the loudest. Traditional engineering values, where things work, had been replaced by a “Permanent Beta” mentality where the vendor tries to escape its responsibilities by selling the company before it has to fix its own bugs.
He also lamented the devaluation of expertise in favour of what he called “a permanent idiocracy”. He painted a picture of high streets decimated by home shopping, and an atomised and fragmented society that could only express itself by blogging into the digital ether. The political class, Miliband concluded, had a duty to temper this dark side of technology.
Impressive stuff, or what?
Of course he could have said all that – but unfortunately, he didn’t.