Recommended reading… what China will do next, the failure of humanitarian intervention and a vision for online consultation

Here’s what’s been keeping me enthralled on the commute this week…

1. With China projected to overtake the United States in terms of economic output within the next ten years, many commentators are again speaking of a new ‘Asian century’ and the ‘decline of the West’. At Chatham House recently, Niall Ferguson drew on the last 600 years of world history to offer an insight into the changing global balance in terms not only of economics but also of geopolitics and ‘soft power’. Transcripts, video and audio are on http://chathamhouse.org.uk/events/view/-/id/1945/.

2. Adam Curtis consistently causes me think again about what I think I know. His new documentary series, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is classic Curtis fare: sinsiter music + archive footage + dogma + elites perpetrating that dogma + scathing critique = licence fee well spent. But I am an even bigger fan of his blog, and this article on the ‘idea of humanitarian intervention‘ I found provocative against the backdrop of Mladic’s arrest, extradition and trial.

3. Consultation is a ‘set piece’ of government. Doing it better online is a coalition commitment. But how? As well as tackling search, usability and agile development on a centralised government website, an Alphagov sub-team also turned their attentions to consultation and policy engagement. What they came up with was a succint and persuasive proposal that deserves attention and further development, particularly what it has to say about ‘layering’. There’s an introduction from Neil Williams and a copy of the deck on the Alphagov project bloghttp://blog.alpha.gov.uk/blog/a-vision-for-online-consultation-and-policy-engagement.

Recommended Reading… from FCO, Chatham House and Race Online 2012

Britain’s Foreign Policy in a Networked World‘ by William Hague, FCO

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, gave a speech outlining the Government’s vision for UK foreign policy on 1 July 2010. The transcript is on the FCO site and you can also watch the video recording on the FCO’s YouTube channel.

British Attitudes Towards the UK’s International Priorities‘ by Chatham House and YouGov

This survey tests views both of the general public and ‘elite’ opinion-formers concerning the key themes of future UK foreign policy and international relations. Part of the part Rethinking the UK’s International Ambitions and Choices series from Chatham House, the survey demonstrates divergences between these two groups.

Manifesto for a Networked Nation‘ by Race Online 2012

The Networked Nation Manifesto sets out bold and detailed plans calling for urgent action to get millions more online by the end of 2012 with key roles for government, industry and charities.