An open letter to the community
Dear Sir, Madam
I am writing to you to share my lessons learned about the political arena in Ireland which is mirrored globally. Five years ago I had the very naive conviction that there was a gap in Irish politics for a web platform whereby civic minded politicians
could engage with the electorate on all matters of public concern. After all, every candidate waxes lyrical on the notion of democracy, implying that should you vote for them, they will work with you for the greater good.
I spent two years in developing the platform publicrepresentative.com to be a vehicle of engagement and transparency. I thought by using the site, politicians and voters would see the common sense end of the spectrum rise to the top and that voters would
be able to see the true levels of engagement and commitment all the candidates give to policy and legislation.
Once released three years ago, I marketed the site by sending mail-shots to all the politicians in the country who were listed on another site. I scraped this third party site and had over one thousand potential Irish public figures who espoused the public
good. As part of the marketing email, I included software which allowed me to verify which recipients read the mail and how many times. Suffice to say, the mail-shots reached a very wide audience and zero interest and I repeated
the process a few times. The benefits of a progressive platform in which unnecessary abuse was filtered out held no interest to them, because the platform warranted public engagement and indeed respect for the public. Ringing their
offices and leaving voicemails didn't fair any better. The electorate were not much better either, as the associated twitter account I created, followed thousands of individuals who exclusively followed or commented on political
areas and there was no engagement or uptake in the idea there either.
The governance of this country boils down to two facets of a society, national debt and blame. Everything in government is predicated on cost while at the same time many of the issues do not. Politicians are ill equipped to deal with problems of any nature
and the only resort is to throw money or attempt to throw money at it while blaming someone else. The electorate respond to crisis after crisis vocally while at the same time never looking at a problem and asking can I think up
a remedy to this. I have yet to see anything by way of a progressive suggestion on Twitter anywhere. And this is right across the board. I was agnostic politically in who I approached in the belief the software would change the
course of politics for the better. All parties were approached.
This endeavour has taken up a great many spare hours in the last five years, and I now realise that the course of history is already decided. And it has been decided by people who can't make decisions. The people who are fit to make societal decisions
are clever enough to know they will die long before any steps to a Utopia are made.
(This letter was sent to both the Irish Times and The Irish Independent, neither of which printed it)