Douglas Carswell is the English Tory MP whose private member's enterprise yesterday helped to get rid of the Speaker of the House of Commons - a man who has had his snout, hands, and feet in the trough of the MP's expenses scandal, and who even more importantly has tried everything he could do to prevent the scandal being investigated. So - good riddance to a corrupt (and completely incompetent) functionary, and well done to a parliamentary newcomer for helping to bring about the first resignation of a Speaker for 300 years. But when he was interviewed on Newsnight, Carswell came out with a phrase in defense of his action which seemed to me like a bolt of lightning opening the way to the future - 'Open Source Politics'.
I have written about the benefits of Open Sources here, here, here, and here. It's an approach to technology which is powered by an ultra-democratic sharing of information, making software and data available free for people to use as they wish. And it has resulted in a revolutionary transformation of the way things are done - both in business and information technology. But I have never heard it used in conjunction with politics before.
He introduced the notion of 'open primaries' whereby local people select their own members of parliament - not having them parachuted in by the party apparatus, as is still the case in the rotten old-fashioned system we have now. This was supplemented by the equally attractive idea of recalling and de-selecting MPs who failed to serve the interests of their constituents. It's a bottom-up approach which clearly has enormous potential - even though it's likely to frighten the establishment, because it's so radical - which is perhaps why it appealed to me. When I checked, there's an entry on Wikipedia explaining more. I imagine copies of his book The Plan will start flying off the shelves pretty soon now.