Not Saussure

September 1, 2006

Collaborative government goes somewhat awry…

Filed under: Politics, UK — notsaussure @ 3:54 pm

Oh dear, oh dear…

David Milliband, our Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and keen blogger, has set up a wiki on the Defra Website for his ‘Environmental Contract’.

What’s one of those? Apparently,

We believe [not sure, but I think that’s ‘We in the Government’] that the environmental problems we face, particularly climate change, represent the gravest threat to human life and prosperity, and to the natural resources and assets on which it depends.

We believe that current levels of western consumption are unsustainable, and that what we cannot and will not extend to every citizen of the planet should not form the basis of our modern existence.

We believe that each of us has the capacity to play a part in tackling these problems and that action by individuals will be needed. But too often we are dissuaded from doing so by doubts about whether our actions will make any difference, and whether they will leave us unfairly disadvantaged.

We propose this environmental contract as a way to overcome such doubts, by creating a framework which makes clear our own responsibilities towards the environment, and the responsibilities we can expect others to bear in return and the actions we can expect them to undertake.

And the partners in this ‘contract’, you and me, are invited to contribute to developing this framework by editing the wiki.

It didn’t take too long for the problems asking the great unwashed for their opinions on this publicity stunt initiative in open and collaborative government; the site’s now completely cleaned up and there doesn’t appear to be any way of editing it.

However, before anyone at DEFRA twigged to this, here’s what it looked like come revision 159 (in case they take it down, here’s a snapshot ). Samples include:

We believe that the environmental problems we face, like sharks (which are largely caused by incompetent governments in backward, hegemonic countries) represent the gravest threat to human life and prosperity, and to the natural resources and assets on which it depends (apart from psycopaths with nuclear capability who have never been near a battlefield front-line in their life and if they can possibly help it never will). Besides which we just can’t help but meddle, interfere, impose our views on others, and generally use taxpayers resources in ways that are wasteful except in our own self-aggrandisement.

We believe that current levels of worldwide consumption are unsustainable, and that what we cannot, because of European Community straight jackets, and will not, because of blatant self interest, extend to every citizen of the planet should not form the basis of our modern existence.

and

What tools can be used to deliver the environmental contract?

Spade, Organic Yoghurt Stirrer, Old washing up liquid bottle, Sticky Back Plastic.

To deliver the environmental contract, we believe policy-makers need to use a range of different approaches and tools. These tools need to:

* Remove the Thames barrier and put in place a row of coracles

* Create the right incentive frameworks to shape individual choices * Communicate and engage with people effectively

* Utilise simpilisitude to congruate philiteens

* Show that government practises what it preaches

Tools that remove barriers include:

* Providing simple, trustworthy and timely hen attacks.

* Offering convenient and well targeted personal advice and support for action.

* Providing essential infrastructure

* Equipping people with necessary skills

* Hammer

Hat tip: Devil’s Kitchen and Mr Eugenides

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1 Comment »

  1. […] The fun which some folks had with David Milliband’s Environmental Contract wiki has not, of course, found favour with everyone; Simon Dickson complains about it in a comment in The Daily Telegraph and at greater length in his blog: […]

    Pingback by Vandalised DEFRA Wiki (II) « Not Saussure — September 2, 2006 @ 8:05 pm


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