Giving users control..there’s business and there’s politics

Well there's user engagement, co-creativity, yadda yadda yadda an all that crazy web 2.0 jazz. And there's being British. Which funnily enough isnt as negotiable as the online whathaveyou. Apparently its OK not to approve of the Iraq war. Its OK to demonstrate and boycotte companies who do things we don't approve of. But its not OK to take it our on OUR BOYS when they come marching home.

Its OK to frown about the government's ethnical foreign policy (what?), their support of extraordinary rendition and complicity in torture. To shrug it off because we won't vote for them when they finally call an election. But then we are being encouraged to keep prisoners locked up who chances are will leave Guantanamo more radicalised than before they went in because of what the UK aided and abetted. Keep them locked up because they're a danger to us?  That's the equivalent of shutting out customers who complain too often.

If you want to take radicalism out of the system you need to give the radicals a reason to stop being radical. Which may mean in the short term that life becomes less secure. But in the long run we gain nothing by locking up people we don't trust.  Our legal system won international respect when  we punished people for crimes they have committed – not for crimes they want to commit.  And while government use incarceration to remove trouble makers – you are actually creating new trouble makers in another part of the system. Its a bit like quantum mechanics.  Until our politicians realise that they are creating terrorists we won't be safe.

In business we have been forced to give users control. Even though it goes against the grain.  It seems this is a lesson politicians have yet to learn.

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