The mobile phone, IT and the Internet have transformed political protest, Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Matthew Taylor told his party conference this week.
Taylor said the fuel tax demonstrators were among the first of a new breed - protesters in the politics of the information age.
"Where does this new politics spring from? It springs from technology - the mobile phone, the Internet, the media. It springs from globalisation. It started in France - and it is happening around Europe as I speak," he said.
"These new tools are little more than 10 years old. The road protesters were among the first to grasp the power of IT. But as the Internet and mobile phones enter a majority of homes, protest is no longer the preserve of activists, vested interests or extremists. No printing press is needed, no finance required, no membership necessary. It is information, knowledge, power to the people," Taylor said.
"And people are only just beginning to learn the power they have, last week was a very important lesson - and it won't be the last. People power is here to stay.''
This was first published in September 2000