The story of former Environment Secretary John Gummer publicly feeding his daughter a British beef burger during the BSE crisis is still one of the classic politician-and-child photo opportunities of recent memory.
Sadly, it seems the Spanish Agriculture Minister’s PR team didn’t quite muster up the same photogenic magic when Rosa Aguilar wanted to show her faith in Spanish grown cucumbers.
You would have thought a salad would have done the job too
Rosa gets stuck in...
Posted: June 20th, 2011
Comments: No Comments
Earlier this week, Ed Miliband took to twitter for a Q&A session under the hashtag #askEdM.
So did a number of activists who were certainly not EdMili supporters. The Mail in particular highlighted this claiming Ed’s session had ‘backfired’. They were part of the camp that thought somehow the questions put to Ed would damage him. They included whether he felt “bad about stabbing your brother in the back?” “Why don’t you buy some Vicks?” “Was Brutus an Honourable Man? Discuss.”
The result? Lots of folk proclaiming success (on both sides) and lots of Westminster bubble noise about how brilliant the idea was. It’s seemed to me that the anti-Ed brigade has managed to drum up more media coverage and (in a rather self-congratulatory way) mocked the people who had the idea in the first place.
My view? I’ve better things to do with my time than send inane questions to the leader of the opposition on Twitter. (This to me definitely falls into the ‘twatter’ category) More to the point, it’s entirely laudable and as US politics (and more recently Mumsnet politics) has shown, reaching out online (if done like a normal, coherent human and not Gordon Brown) can actually improve political dialogue and win new support.
Not one of the ‘funny’ questions will win the tories a single vote. Moreso, if Labour’s comms team wasn’t totally incompetent, they’d have been hailing Ed’s resolve in sticking with it in spite of the ‘nasty’ and ‘juvenile’ efforts of others to disrupt a genuinely open minded coversation that Ed was reaching out with. (as evidenced, however weakly, by Ed responding to some of the negative questions.)
Social media is an opportunity to re-engage people who have been forgotten or neglected by recent political events. It’s also an opportunity to behave like petty schoolchildren infront of a worldwide audience. On one side of that line you can shape the future, while on the other you can complain you don’t like what’s happening.
This is a classic case of the Westminster bubble being very excitable about not very much, and the rest of the country watching on asking what on earth everyone is babbling on about and when they’ll start talking about things that really matter.
55.1% - Share of vote secured by the Coaltion
“The Coalition has no democratic mandate” - PCS Union
19.8 % - Proportion of PCS members voting to strike
“clear majority in favour of a strike” - Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union.
Concerted union effort to block the Government’s plans to restore the country’s finances to good health - and address a huge black hole in public sector pensions - is justifiable if that is what union members want. When less than one in five union members vote to strike, that is not the same as what union members want.
The time has come to seriously ask whether a few union barons - raking in salaries higher than the PM - are really acting in the best interests of their members or whether they are rallying a hardline minority for personal and petty political reasons.
The time has come for union ballots - like those at company AGMs and voluntary bodies - to have a minimum turnout to be quorate.
It’s almost like they’ve not seen the thick of it…….
As Malcolm Tucker’s helpful picture illustration demonstrates, it’s sometimes handy to check the alignment of text before someone stands infront of it.
Here endeth the lesson, Mr Miliband.
Posted: June 13th, 2011
Comments: No Comments
The UK Government is currently considering the possibility of a UK-wide firewall, which (simply put) would give the Government the ability to block access to websites from the UK.
The argument has mainly been made around file-sharing sites, and to a lesser extent child pornography, and of course the Government insists that it would never be used for political reasons.
Yet the example of the Arab Spring and the subsequent activities of Governments in shutting down social networking sites (or more disturbingly, setting up spoof sites to entrap potential trouble makers) should not be forgotten.
It is entirely possible that as part of the super-injunction/privacy debate that website blocking could potentially be on the cards - neatly demonstrated by the High Court judge who warned “the internet is out of control.”
The internet is beyond the reach of Governments. So the natural response of Governments is to seek to bring it back under their control. The first step is to block sites sharing illegal music. That path leads to not being able to read about Tienanmen Square or organise demonstrations - it is not one that a civil society should permit.
However, there is a further option - for social networks to become ISPs.
The power of a shared satellite network, providing internet access to users without reliance on physical cable under the control of Governments, would have the potential to topple the Great Firewall of China, free protestors to organise demonstrations and globalise free speech beyond the reach of overactive judiciaries.
Eventually, universal internet access will be a humanitarian cause. What it needs is someone to take the first step, and aim for the stars.
Today, yet another well versed report calls for a significant re-think of the ‘war on drugs.’
The usual establishment knee-jerk reaction has its roots in 1920s prohibition and moral panic - yet continually fails to recognise the fallacy of both.
Looking back to August 11, 1932 when Herbert Hoover accepted the Republican nomination for President, he was clear what was needed.
“Now, our objective must be a sane solution, not a blind leap back to old evils.”
It remains as true today as it was then. Constitutional amendments were required to end prohibition - I fear far more will be needed to end the war on drugs.
Posted: June 2nd, 2011
Categories: Campaign Issues
, Ideas for living
Comments: No Comments