Yesterday, a new political party ‘Proud of Holland’ launched its party manifesto in the Netherlands. Or to be precise, postponed to launch its party manifesto because it will develop an online platform where people are involved in writing a new party manifesto. Visitors of the – to be launched – website will be asked to vote on polls and to help define a new strategy on an online forum – a wiki-like format.
Co-creating a new political strategy
Sounds as a good initiative, doesn’t it? Take the pulse of the rank and file of the party and ask the people what they actually want and how they think about particular topics. Certainly if you consider the rise of utilizing the wisdom of the crowd. Co-creating a new political strategy together with the people whom are – in fact – affected by the outcomes of that co-created strategy. However, I have my doubts for a number of reasons.
- DIGITAL DIVERSITY | There is still is digital diversity nowadays and therefore you might be asking whether or not the party’s program will reflect the opinion of the complete grassroots support.
- CHANGING THE STRATEGY | The political leader don’t want to elaborate on what she will do when the outcomes of the co-created strategy are not in line with her own vision. In other words, will she adapt her own vision or will she change the outcomes of the strategy defined by the wiki in the case they are not in line?
- LIFE HACKING?! | Online polls and wiki’s are sensible for fraud and underlying software can easily be hacked by people that want to affect the strategy. The process of defining a strategy is therefore not transparent.
- COMPLEXITY | In the science of public, there is a continuous discussion whether or not people are able to take decisions on political issues. Politics is continuous balancing the pros and cons for the whole society. It is not about defining the most promising and optimum strategy and solutions are an outcome of a political process. Besides, political leaders are paid to do their job, to make that though decisions and as a society you vote on a specific party because you believe in their vision and you think that party is capable of making the decisions which affect your life and the life of your children.
So, I have my doubts about the practicability of a wiki-like format to define new political strategies. We vote on political leaders because we think he or she is able to make the tough decisions with respect to the rank and file of the party and you don’t want to be bothered again and again on particular issues.