My favourite high school English teacher used to say, in her folksy American way, “If you don’t have a ticket, don’t show up for the game.”
That was her way of saying that if you haven’t reached the level of competence or experience that you need to make a meaningful contribution to the task at hand, don’t make a fool of yourself by pretending otherwise.
Last Monday I spent three and a half hours watching the live stream from the House of Lords as they debated the attempt by four securocrat Peers to push the Snooper’s Charter into law through the procedural equivalent of a brute force attack. Today I spent three more hours doing the same. The process was essentially the gang of four’s attempt to declare themselves entitled to officiate on the game despite not having tickets, or indeed, ever having played it.
During both debates one Lord made a memorable cameo without saying a word.
It’s alright, mate, it’s just a debate about fundamental liberties and national security. As you were.
I don’t expect parliamentarians to be experts on web development, encryption, or mobile messaging (although those whippersnappers in the gang of four could learn a thing or two about coding and encryption from their elders).
Nor do I expect them to run through the streets flying the tricouleur and shouting slogans of liberty.
But in matters which will decide what sort of society we are and what sort of society we want to become, I do expect them to, you know, stay awake.
So what about you? What’s on your ticket?
About the author
Heather Burns is a digital law specialist in Glasgow, Scotland. She researches, writes, publishes, consults, and speaks extensively on internet laws and policies which affect the crafts of web design and development. She has been designing and developing web sites since 1997 and has been a professional web site designer since 2007. She holds a postgraduate certification in internet law and policy from the University of Strathclyde. Learn about hiring Heather to write, speak, or consult.