Happy new year, I hope it’s a good one for you.
I wonder if in 2010 we’ll collectively react against digital media (or at least the social networking bits of it) and reclaim face-to-face friendships and physical media, especially with the playing field duly levelled. One of the first obvious things one noticed going online yesterday was the number of people who used Jan 1st as an opportunity to take a break from Tweeting or reduce their Facebook presence. The first widget I saw being touted was the new app that assists your complete virtual suicide, carefully removing you from Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and the rest. The link is here (lovely noose logo). Facebook have taken it seriously enough that they’re trying to lock out the link. Tempting, right?
Beyond that, watching last year’s resurgence of vinyl releases, maybe the closer we get to an entirely digitised culture, the more people will react against it and produce works in the older ways? Maybe tupperware didn’t kill pottery after all? – though let’s see what happens to the book industry (bringing up the rear), before jumping to conclusions. It is hugely important that we don’t run straight back into the arms of the same old physical/analogue media moguls.
The best thing that could happen in UK politics in 2010 would be a hung parliament. Maybe we’ll even get two elections this year, as they wriggle and stumble their way towards their new paradigm. I think a hung parliament would be the best outcome for everyone, all of us, regardless of party politics, because we need a period of non-majority, to allow the whole infrastructure of government to shake off the moronity.
First, a hung parliament kick-starts the process of re-empowering parliament itself. MPs will be held to account like never before – but beyond that they need their responsibility and actual job back – giving individual MPs greater authority on scrutiny of government and the opportunity to vote on their conscience. Secondly a hung parliament will make politics itself more exciting, just when we need it to be. Every issue would be closely fought and, with MPs empowered, that in turn re-engages us as constituents to push our own MP’s vote in a certain direction. Thirdly a hung parliament will be especially ace if the Greens get a couple of MPs. Don’t scoff, it’s genuinely possible – the bookies have Caroline Lucas as the favourite in Brighton now and that chap up in Norwich is also doing great work. Over the past few weeks the Tory-led council down here badly damaged their chances of competing still by totally fucking up their reaction to the snowfall. Finally I think a hung parliament will also disempower the evil bastards running the corporate media in the UK. Or maybe it won’t but in my head the wider spread the democatised power, the harder it is for them to own it.
Power shifts away from the centre and back towards us, while social media shifts from away from leisure and entertainment geekery, towards properly useful mainstream toolage. Over-optimistic as usual.