Edward Snowden on Twitter: What Happens Next?
R ecently Edward Snowden joined twitter and by all accounts its caused more than a few ripples across the social media world, which is why we have opted to comment on the man and his actions in the broader sense.

This is not a piece about the rights and wrongs of his actions, this is not a piece on the rights and wrongs of his government and by association that of our UK government. This is an observational piece, a commentary on the world as we see it today. So what kind of world do we see?

The dynamics are changing, we live in a dangerous world, its full of upheaval, strife, wars beyond our shores that are having affects on us wherever we are; there is climate change and fear of change, there is religious extremism, pervading all parts of humanity, there are natural disasters, pestilence, and fear of a global pandemic of the likes that could wipe out a huge chunk if not all of humanity.

What can we do to combat this change? Nothing really…change is inevitable, its how we manage change is what counts most.

For the under thirties in the world, they will not remember the cloud of the cold war that hung over humanity and the policy of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) adopted by the soviet regime at the time and that of NATO also. Living in London then would have meant certain obliteration or pretty much anywhere in the West within minutes of the button being pushed in the Kremlin.

This weekend saw celebrations and thanksgiving in a United Germany marking 25 years of the reunification of Germany and the positive words said by Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom herself was born and raised in the East of Germany under Soviet control since the end of WW2, some historians might say that the war never really ended, it just morphed into the cold war.

In that very same weekend we saw Prime Minister Cameron say that he would be prepared to push the red button in response to the baying press of the UK after the newly elected left wing leader of the UK Labour party said he would not be prepared to push the button if he were leader.

The debate has moved on from a theoretical question to an existential one. The whole idea of unleashing Nuclear armageddon on the world is a level of stupid bordering on insanity that the world could do without. Do we not have more pressing issues as a global community to contend with such as climate change, extremism in all its forms, bigotry and the migrant/refugee crisis?

The dynamics of the world are changing faster than have ever done before, the digital revolution has helped facilitate this change, technology that underpins that change largely came from the west, manufactured in the east and consumed by north south east and west. When we collaborate we have excelled. The facilitators of collaboration have emanated from democratic nations. The facilitators of oppression have only stifled humanity. The creative, the innovative, the propellants of change, the type of change that lifts millions out of poverty, hunger and starvation have all come from the democratic world.

The question is not whether which system is better, that argument has been won decades ago; the question is how do we continue with the best of democratic freedoms in a digitally dynamic world. Democratic nations have not had it right from the outset. The principle of democracy is sound, but its implementation has been lacklustre at best. What we have in the world today is the ability to keep our governments in check in far greater numbers and across the globe far quickly through the use of social media than ever before.

The West may not have got it right all the time, what the West has the ability to recognise its faults and learn from them, it has the institutions of learning, freedom of the press, judiciary, and civil services to monitor and evaluate and elected representatives that administer that change for the betterment of society as a whole.

Ok there are some that say that it’s not so great, ok there are some that ‘whistle-blow’ and flee when they highlight wrongdoing. Could it be said that a whistle-blower in a more repressive regime would have got to see the light of day? The question is not whether democratic principles are sacrosanct in a democratic world they are. The question is whether our elected representatives are the guardians and executors of those principles or not? When they are, we have it right, when they are not, we have the system to remove them from office, and vote for a new leader or party or system of government be it left leaning right leaning or occupying the centre ground.

The centre ground has almost always won out but it does require compromise and dilution of principles. Is that a sell out? We think not, we call that compromise. The only system where one argument wins out over all others is a dictatorial system and that is not we want do we? So getting back to the rights and wrongs of democratic principles. There are systems of governance today that are worth quantifying as we see them.

On the one hand you have families or royal households that rule either in a totalitarian manner or a ceremonial manner with a parliament that either rubber stamps the will of the leader or is the seal of approval. There are systems of governance that allege to be for the people, where everyone is free to choose but they are given one choice and one choice only.

There are systems of governance that offer you stability through familiarity, with leaders in office that espouse freedom and democracy but stifle free speech and the will of the many to live as they wish be it in same sex couples or mixed race relationships without fear or persecution.

There are systems of governance where one party rules but have lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty within a generation but at what cost to the environment?

There are systems of governance where, a military leader ousts a so-called democratic regime seizes the reigns of power and lines his pockets whilst the population suffers.

There are systems of governance that reject democratic principle of the freedom of an individual to choose their faith and enforce a strict doctrine that attempts to sterilise the world of its diversity when its scripture cites that the creator made us different in order that we come to know each other.

There have been systems of governance that placed the superiority of one race over another which set about to exterminate a people on the basis of that warped ideology. The free thinking, right minded, morally and ideologically sound came together to overthrow and paid in the lives of their population and armed forces to whom we owe a huge debt.

There are systems of governance, where the individual has the right to live in peace, to have access to healthcare, welfare, education, training, employment, freedom of religion, freedom of sexual orientation, freedom of choice, freedom of expression, freedom to debate, freedom to criticise, freedom to say and do as they please as long as it does not impede the freedom or rights of others.

We acknowledge that it’s not perfect, it has its faults, it has lapses in systems and processes, thats because it’s a human creation, the greatest flaw in any system or process is the human element but conversely its that very human element that has either been the architect of such a system or has adapted and honed a system for the betterment of the many and the isolation of none in principle. In practice we have found lapses, but it is within that very system that allows for an individual to affect change, redress and justice through the very system that it seeks to change or amend for the betterment of all who live within it.

Given the choice of the above, we know where the vast majority of people would rather live, don't you?

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