Big Fish… Little Fish

A great image by way of @SenatorLudlam’s Twitter feed, for which many thanks and good luck:



… the point of which is also reflected in Margaret Mead’s great quote:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”


Please Read Me

To understand what this site is attempting to do, you can read my first post “Welcome to the Virtual Party” as an introduction to the whole idea of a “virtual” party.

We have a Blog area where you can create your own magnificent Posts and comment on other people’s attempts at same. We also have a Forum area lovingly maintained by Lady Fly (@beforeyoucanfly). Please visit the forums and chat with other scintillating fellow travellers on a wide range of topics. Access is via the menu at the top of the page.

Some necessary housekeeping: I was hoping to make this site freely available for people to blog and comment on but the forces of greed have intervened.  I am already receiving many comments each day which are spam, advertising cheap shoes or whatever.  If I let people comment freely, the web site would quickly become unusable.  Therefore, I need to check that a comment is a real one before “letting it through”.   Once you have one comment allowed, further comments are not held up. This also means you have to register before you can comment. Again apologies but the greedy low-lives in this world make this, unfortunately, a requirement. So, although I  don’t like those “Your comment is waiting to be moderated” messages as much as the next man, it seems our more entrepreneurial colleagues make some sort of gate an unfortunate necessity.  I’ll try and get to the Comments page regularly and let slip the valid dogs of commentary with appropriate alacrity.

Hope you understand and can find the time to both comment and contribute 🙂


Peter Bayley

None of this is new…

A society is a group of people interacting and communicating towards a mutually-beneficial outcome.   Communications, then, is at the core of what binds a society and communication has recently become an important social phenomenon, surfing a wave of innovative technology to become affordable, ubiquitous and, most importantly, bidirectional.  Unlike previous attempts at wide-ranging communication, the Internet allows everyone for the first time in human history, to be both reader and writer.

Democracy is a mechanism for formalising the wishes of the members of a society.  As such, it is another way in which a society communicates how it feels.  The potential for technology to improve the democratic will has only recently become available but its potential is enormous.

Interest in the meeting point of  human society and ways of communicating is not new.  What IS new is the enhanced ability of ALL members of a group to actively contribute, using, but not limited to,  the current “social” technologies of FaceBook and Twitter.

Others have considered these issues before us and we can only benefit from familiarising ourselves with their thoughts.  To this end, I would like to suggest we all contribute links to and quotes from other sources of information and opinion on this exciting new “Techno-Social”  world.  We can read each other’s contributions and thus enrich our discussions.

I will start the ball rolling by pointing to an interesting site by Pia Waugh @piawaugh and Will Grant @willozap  called Society 5.   It was launched two years ago and has not really taken off so far, but that doesn’t diminish it as a source of some interesting writings on the ‘Social Internet”.

Pia’s a rather dynamic young lady in Canberra whom I have yet to meet, but whoi I follow in twitter and who inspires with talk about Open Government, Open Society and Open Information. 

Pia and Will also mention, on their site, another initiative, also in its infancy, called “Distributed Democracy” which you may also find of interest.

I leave it to you to read and comment, but please also contribute your thoughts and links to things that moved you and so might move us.

In the end, it’s not important which of these many, halting attempts at starting a discussion succeed or fail. The beginnings of such a comprehensive subject as how we live together on our ball of dust will necessarily be messy, confusing, even cacophonous.  That fact in no way reduces the importance of continuing the discussion and just talking together.

Party Objectives: The government is here for a term, the people are here for life and the decisions of government should reflect this. draft

The aim of the Virtual Party is to offer, for all Australians a true democracy not the current perverse sense of democracy which, currently works for politicians and party lines and against the people of Australia.
All people will have the opportunity to vote on almost all points before the government. The only items which will not be offered through this system of voting are those relating to national security where the exposure would leave our country open to a disadvantage security risk in a global field. You will have the ability to vote for or against all domestic policies and laws which would come before the government.
Initially, we will try to bring pressure to bear on members of the government and mainstream parties to vote as you the public have asked/indicated would be your preference.
If this fails to achieve the desired objective/results, we will seek to assist the election of an independent candidate who is willing to take your voice before the government.
If this option also fails to reach the desired result, we will register as a political party in its own right and seek suitable candidates to run for seats/office where your voice will be our voice ensuring our mantra of a true and free democracy will vote accordingly.
The Australian Constitution says, an elected member will re-present on behalf of the people. Over many years and many governments this simple yet crucial phrase has been perverted in the vested interest of politicians and parties to read, the member will represent the people. The difference between these two phrases is that they are miles apart in interpretation. Currently, once you elect a member, your voice is lost for the term of the government. The party policy must be adhered to by any member of the party. If your views differ from the patties view you are ignored and try as you may through demonstrations, petitions etc. you have no voice and no way to change that which you have a right to change. Your views and or dissent have no effect. Promises are lies in waiting.
Example: In recent surveys the Australian people have been asked if they would support same sex marriage. Although this is a philosophical and an emotional issue, more than 80% of Australians were of the affirmative in acceptance. Yet, the government refused to make the necessary amendments and accept the will of the people. The church and the state collude and conspire to prevent democracy and to refuse your right to have change.
We will not prevent you from being progressive but support your desires for change, seeking to repeal unjust laws and amendments to the constitution which remove or restrict your rights but only if the Australian public/citizens numbers support those changes and repeals.
The separation between state and church along with affiliations with big business and unions will not happen under our banner. No contributions to campaign funds be accepted by business interests or unions, we will remain independent to all interest except those of the Australian people.
Ladies and Gentlemen, This is true Democracy.

Mission Statement: draft

Points: – 1) transparency – The web site will show the number of people who voted in the affirmative and the negative for each item before the public for voting
2) Democracy – We vote how you have asked us to vote. Not the way of a party line (as there is no party line with in the Virtual Party, it is a true democracy). We do not vote for what we believe is the best action to take but as the numbers for the affirmative have shown or told us is the desired action of the people.
3) Pros and Cons debate papers – Groups from either side of an argument will be asked to submit papers outlining the reason they are for and against issues to be voted on. These papers will be published on the web site for all members of the public to read before you make cast your vote for action to be taken by the party.
4) An Open Party – We will take on board any ideas or issues you want raised and addressed through forum pages on our web site. Items which raise sufficient interests and awareness will be elevated to points we will take on the people’s behalf, to the government. Your passion and your ability to raise awareness will be key to getting sufficient votes to have your issues elevated to item 3) pros and Cons section of the web site.

Welcome to the Virtual Party

This is an experiment.  A comment casually dropped during a twitter conversation somehow became a meme and a stimulus to further thoughts.

“Virtual Party” – what do we mean by “Virtual”?  – not real? insubstantial?   How about “Party”? – all the rigmarole of candidates, elections?  Well, maybe – or perhaps, “eventually” or “in good time”.  You won’t find easy answers here, at least initially. What we’re hoping for is, as we said, an “experiment”.

The core idea is this.  We are all familiar with the political system called “Democracy” as it is practised in much of the world, notably in the West.   Democracy, especially the inclusive kind we currently practise,  is, itself, a relatively young experiment.  There are no guarantees it will survive.   It is understandably unpopular with the elites, diluting their ability to mandate and requiring them to convince us that their power over us is good and should be supported.

We are also aware that the way the world communicates is changing rapidly and fundamentally.  An exponential growth in the tools of information has meant, for the first time in human history, the vast majority of society can both inform themselves and inform others.  We can get together in completely new ways.  We can filter so we amplify some voices as we mute others. The planet is buzzing with our voices, much of the content inane, but some, totally profound and life-changing.

The Virtual Party seeks, in the first instance, to be a discussion on the opportunities presented by the intersection of these two ideas, the democractic process by which we organise ourselves as a society, and the potential of new information opportunities to enhance that very organisation.  What happens when we stick universal communication and universal democracy together?

The potential is substantial.  Democracy is unique in that it allows everyone a say, at least in theory.   This is also one of its weaknesses  as it requires all those “says” to be canvassed and collated regularly.

The Social Internet parallels the universality of Democracy by also allowing everyone a say.   The Web allows everyone to both publish and consume commentary.

Inevitably, there are huge practical problems in allowing everyone exercising their right to have their say on every issue.  So a mechanism is needed by which each person can allocate their vote to another person who would use the vote on their behalf, thereby allowing all voices to be represented and thus heard.

The person trusted with the vote acts as a delegate much as Members of Parliament do.   In our current democracy,  this processes happens every three years, on election day.   Technology could allow a more frequent voice and more-nuanced profile of voting preferences by allowing people to support different delegates for different issues. Delegates could, in turn, delegate the votes they represent to further representatives.  Of course votes could be both re-allocated and withdrawn at any time, further strengthening the flexibility people have in how their vote counts in overall policy directions.

This blog entry is little more than thoughts from one of the interested parties as he populates a web page in support of the experiment.  Hopefully, much more erudite and illuminating content will join it as other like-minded individuals are encouraged to declare themselves and participate.

Democracy’s greatest weakness (that it “lets in the riff-raff”) is also it’s greatest strength (in representing everyone, including us, the riff-raff).  To paraphrase Winston Churchill,  “Democracy is the worst political system – except for all the rest.”  There’s just a chance that the wise application of the gift of communication that technology has provided us might make our democracy just that little bit better.  In pursuit of that lofty goal,  “Long Live the Virtual Party!”