defending democracy in a technocratic age
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Technocracy versus Democracy

If we are willing to give up our democracy, there are those who are willing to take it from us. Increasingly, we are letting a small, unelected minority of “experts” – economists, heads of industry, investors and financiers run our lives and run our governments.

TechnocracyWatch (Twitter: @TWatchUK) is campaigning for transparency in government, transparency in lobbying, and for greater openness and accountability in the dealings between public servants and big business. As the Prime Minster, David Cameron said – at Davos, in January 2013:

“We need more transparency on how governments — and yes, companies — operate.”

But transparency without scrutiny is meaningless. It’s not just that government should be open – the people and press should be peering in. As Minster for the Cabinet, Francis Maude, said in 2012:

We know transparency helps root out corruption, exposes inefficiency, and highlights incompetence. But for transparency to strengthen the hand of democracy there is another critical element: the searchlight of a free and rigorous media.

The opportunities and rewards of openness the world over are enormous. Yet to realise them governments will have to change and adapt under the spotlight of transparency.

TechnocracyWatch is part of the effort to apply scrutiny to government. Its aim is to promote political engagement, and bridge the gap (perceived or actual) between the individual and ‘they’ who do politics. As the Hansard Society’s 2011 Audit of Political Engagement states, worryingly:

People are far more positive about the efficacy of getting involved in their local area than about getting involved in politics. They see politics as something that other people do, something distant from them.

TechnocracyWatch believes: politics is something we should all do. That we mustn’t let democracy fall through the gap between people and politicians. It believes, as Thomas Jefferson put it:

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.”