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Welcome to ConsideredOpinion.

The world, as seen and controlled by politicians, seems to be very different from the world as seen by ordinary people. We are governed by an ever increasing and overly complex bureaucracy which is beyond even its creators to comprehend fully. Legislation is becoming increasingly myopic; kneejerk piecemeal solutions to immediate crises with no thought to the longterm impact on society as a whole. The trouble with legislation is that it only grows - no-one ever repeals laws these days. The result is that we are sliding inexorably into the 'Brave New World', the 'Big Brother' world, the '1984' world of rule-bound automatons foretold by Huxley, et al..

Cartoonists and satirists rail against this slide. Our television screens carry characters like Victor Meldrew, have hit shows like 'Grumpy Old Men'. At the last two General Elections only a minority of the electorate actually voted - the majority 'party' was made up of those who chose to opt out of voting for any of the political parties.

This site was borne out of the frustration of seeing the folly of the world and feeling powerless to do anything about it. What made the frustration worse was the fact that in dinner conversation after dinner conversation everybody else seemed to be having the same problem. Wherever we turned people were moaning about the state of affairs we find ourselves in.

Trouble is that the 'majority party' is still a scattered group of lone voices; we have no common forum through which to make our views felt. We can lobby our local MP, we can pen letters to the Times, we can organise local placard-waving pressure groups, but these are all isolated opportunities which have limited time exposure, impact on limited numbers of people, and are limited by constraints of publishing space, or by the controlling interests of others. They cannot build a cohesive, ongoing, compelling picture of the depth and breadth of the discontent felt. Nor are they suitable platforms for the positive strategy of arguing and developing well researched alternative common sense solutions to social and other problems.

The internet could provide that right platform but so far has not done so. It is freely available to all; it is worldwide. It is, in the main, not controlled nor censored. It has unlimited space. As a mass-contact medium it is relatively cheap. It is clearly used by individuals to express individual views - a search on Google for 'tax credit errors' produced 14.6m hits with responses ranging from disgruntled individuals to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Its problem is that the serious views get lost in a morass of mundane trivia and throw-away one-line comment which add no useful information, knowledge or insight to the topic under discussion and do not develop arguments to a point of proposing workable solutions to our problems. What is needed is a way to harness and focus the more cogent views into that compelling cohesive picture.

Our hope for ConsideredOpinion is that it will live up to its name; that it will encourage you all to put the world to rights by presenting well thought out, properly researched articles on whatever is your burning issue of the moment. Think of it as a dinner table discussion in which the world is your audience not just a few fellow diners.

We need contributions in the form of considered articles and well researched debate. Having read someone's article, it doesn't matter whether you agree or disagree with the views expressed: if you have information relevant to the topic under discussion, share it with us - because you might just sway someone's viewpoint....and an important part of ConsideredOpinion is the voting powers. Every member can express their views on every topic under discussion by recording a vote of 'For', 'Against' or 'Don't know'. The site will record how the support or opposition to a proposition is influenced by the subsequent arguments as they unfold.