Links 18 March 2010

Is this going to be the Internet election? Or is it going to be the election where everyone talks about it being the Internet election? Here’s some evidence that seems to suggest the former, while not ruling out the latter!

There is a pressing need for open debates in which ordinary voters can test candidates’ views and characters. Hustings in dusty churches and echoey halls may now seem consigned to the past, but that is all the more reason to cheer ingenious schemes to fill the gap by electronic means.

The Independent on civil service purdah

The solution is a sharper codification of purdah (on precisely when it applies and which institutions are bound by it) and a move to fixed-term parliaments. The concept of civil service neutrality is too precious for it to be abused in this fashion by unscrupulous politicians.

The story about someone trying to poison the soup at Stowe school has added piquancy for me (much like the soup, boom, boom) as my brother works there. Like the Independent though, I did have a wry smile at the idea of carrot and coriander soup being served at a boarding school. Good on the school and its systems though for catching it before it could do anyone any harm.

The Big thinkers blog at the CoI reports on an interesting project using mobile phones to support literacy.

I can’t help wondering if the discussion about a hung parliament is a little bit like the discussion about an “internet election”. But this leader in the Independent is quite interesting, not just  for what it says, but also the discussion after it, which for a newspaper comments discussion seems to be quite sensible! I do wish they had linked to the survey they refer to though, so we could have seen for ourselves. Comment is Free over at the Guardian seems to have got that element of online comment a bit more sorted.

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