At a session about the changing power equation, Gordon Brown, the man ready to move into No. 10 Downing St., is giving a rousing and enthusiastic endorsement of blogs and a charge to politicians, telling they they must listen and join in the debate. “You cannot make political decisions now without people being included in the decision,” he says. “The age of the smoke-filled room is over.” He argues that political leaders must go to convince people on policies such as trade and globalization; they must engage in big, national debates. He says that politicians are “catching up” with the people online.
Rupert Murdoch says that when big media gets it wrong, blogs are making them right. He also says that big media has much less power today.
Jack Ma, head of Alibaba in China, the ecommerce company, gives an endorsement of internet censorship — in the form of pornography and violence — and then even says that after 2,000 years of imperial rule, democracy would not work there. I find that argument, which I hear at events with people from inside China, frightening. Murdoch later takes it on, gently, saying that China believes this control is the role of the state and here we believe it is the role of parents. Brown says he is opposed to censorship in any form but that we need to understand the added pressure parents are under and help them.