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Posted by Richard Saturday, May 28, 2011


Three weeks ago, if you had typed in "referism" into Google, you would have got about 130 results. And you would have found yourself reading, amongst other things, about: "a Comparative Study on Diversion in Juvenile Justice between China and Germany Authors".

Now, you will get over 3,000 entries, by far the bulk taking you to the idea of an annual referendum on the budget. Douglas Carswell MP shows up as well, but he is far behind the curve. In his blog (illustrated above) he shares our concern about lack of control over spending, but suggests that select committees should be given the task of approving the budget.

Amusingly, one comment reads: "Hands up all those who think that dragging a politician in front of a bunch of other politicians is going to make any difference". Two other commenters put Carswell right on "referism", with links – that is why his blog shows up on Google.

It is likely, though, that Carswell will consider himself far too grand to follow the links, and it is almost certain that he will never pursue the idea. MPs are the custodians of the status quo. You will get window dressing from them, but never any truly radical ideas. They run a mile from those.

Two independent bloggers who do pursue the idea are Raedwald and Cranmer, and we also have Wittering from Witney and Purple Scorpion on the case. This is how blogging should work, when it works at its best – something the MSM has never really understood, which is why so many of its clogs are sterile.

The free use of links illustrates a community, and a willingness to share and debate ideas – and is the power of the blogosphere, contrasting with the MSM and many of the MPs, who have a dog-in-the-manger approach. They are happy to have people link to them, but are very selective about the links they offer. Look at Carswell's "blogroll", demonstrating a narrowness of view and a meanness of spirit.

What comes over from the Raedwald and Cranmer duo are fair and interesting reviews, expanding the concept and doing something that all good blogs do – they add value, giving their readers something extra. And what I like is the idea that "referism" is neither the child of the left or the right. It should have equal appeal across the political spectrum. To any serious democrat, it should also appeal.

However, the concept is going to struggle for recognition. It offers a true devolution of power, to the people, and those who believe it is their role to rule us are never going to give up power easily. I am still comforted, though, by the thought that there are more of us then there are of them. And just for once, "us" are setting the agenda.

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