Is this going to be the Internet election? Or is it going to be the election where everyone talks about it being the Internet election? Here’s some evidence that seems to suggest the former, while not ruling out the latter!
There is a pressing need for open debates in which ordinary voters can test candidates’ views and characters. Hustings in dusty churches and echoey halls may now seem consigned to the past, but that is all the more reason to cheer ingenious schemes to fill the gap by electronic means.
The Independent on civil service purdah
The solution is a sharper codification of purdah (on precisely when it applies and which institutions are bound by it) and a move to fixed-term parliaments. The concept of civil service neutrality is too precious for it to be abused in this fashion by unscrupulous politicians.
The story about someone trying to poison the soup at Stowe school has added piquancy for me (much like the soup, boom, boom) as my brother works there. Like the Independent though, I did have a wry smile at the idea of carrot and coriander soup being served at a boarding school. Good on the school and its systems though for catching it before it could do anyone any harm.
The Big thinkers blog at the CoI reports on an interesting project using mobile phones to support literacy.
I can’t help wondering if the discussion about a hung parliament is a little bit like the discussion about an “internet election”. But this leader in the Independent is quite interesting, not just for what it says, but also the discussion after it, which for a newspaper comments discussion seems to be quite sensible! I do wish they had linked to the survey they refer to though, so we could have seen for ourselves. Comment is Free over at the Guardian seems to have got that element of online comment a bit more sorted.
I know this has been around a while, but it truly is a genius idea. A folding plug.
I liked this article about Macedonia for the author’s example of what makes him feel English
Having been in England since the age of 11, I have a foot in both camps – or, more accurately, find myself foreign in both places. I used to speak no English, then accented English, then accented Macedonian, and now I struggle to remember Macedonian words. This duality is no hardship to me – I’m equally happy to apologise when someone steps on my foot as I am to go around the house closing windows to avoid promaja.
Reminds me of a time when I stepped on a woman’s foot putting my bag on the overhead rack on a Eurostar. As she was British she said “Oh, I’m so sorry”. I said, “I stepped on your foot, I’m the one who is sorry”. “No, no” she insisted, “I should have made a noise.”
An interesting issue, whether to take your husband’s name when you get married, that is slightly on my radar at the moment. I think I’d have bothered less if I’d got married at 24, say, than now. Then, I didn’t really have a sense who Antonia Mochan was. Now, I’ve really got used to being her, and would find it really difficult to relate to Antonia Boyle. Having said that, I’m not going to get all upset if someone does call me Mrs Boyle once I’m married, but I don’t think I’ll change it.
Some ammunition to counter those that say that Britian is historically a white place – evidence that Roman York’s highest social strata were multiracial.
Neelie Kroes encourages you to contribute to two public consultations
Two important consultations are now live. First, we are asking citizens and businesses and other interested parties consultation on how can we guarantee access to communications services in the digital era. The key question is: are our rules appropriate for the digital age? Should they be expanded to cover broadband access, for example? The consultation will run until 7 May 2010. Separately the Commission is asking for views on use of Radio Spectrum 2010-2015, between now and 9 April.
A comment is free post on the new ECR grouping in the European Parliament
It’s also obvious that a fair few of the Tories eastern allies are rather keener than they are, for instance, on the redistribution of money from richer to poorer countries, on the CAP, and even on the euro. As the leader of a parliamentary party that is shortly likely to become more rather than less Eurosceptic, that could prove awkward for Cameron.
Charlemagne on the issue of journalists leaving the Brussels press corps and why.
It is mostly economic pressures that are shrinking the Brussels press corps. But there is a political problem too, as Jean Quatremer and others admit. The malaise gripping Brussels has its echo in a growing sense that the EU project is just not where the action is.
Charlie Brooker says it right on the climate change debate:
Hey, I’m no scientist. I’m not an engineer either, but if I asked 100 engineers whether it was safe to cross a bridge, and 99 said no, I’d probably try to find another way over the ravine rather than loudly siding with the underdog and arguing about what constitutes a consensus while trundling across in my Hummer.
And to make you smile, a fabulous picture from CuteOverload
Charlie Beckett on which media will matter in the 2010 General Election
But here’s the headline news for election 2010: Mainstream Media is Back.
As a political sciences graduate, with a terrorism studies postgrad student in the house, I found Dave Wearing’s article on political sciences quite interesting. Should it even have the word science in it – the debate re-ignites…
I have yet to be convinced by the idea that the study of politics can be apolitical and value-neutral. Our choice of research topics will inevitably reflect our own political and moral priorities, and the way in which that research is framed and conducted is bound to reflect assumptions which – whether held consciously, semi-consciously or unconsciously – remain of a moral and political nature.
Charlemagne – one of the best blogs on European issues, even if I don’t always agree with him – gets to grip with Greece
EMPATHY is always in short supply in recessions, even within the European Union where we are all supposed to understand each other instinctively. But really, the cross-border debate on Greece is depressingly simplistic.
Will Hutton talks some sense on the position of the VP/HR.
Ashton’s problem is not her power, but her lack of it. Before the meeting in Córdoba, she badly needed the letter David Miliband and Swedish foreign secretary Carl Bildt co-wrote saying that EU foreign ministers should get behind her. The world, and EU member states, needed more of the European Union, not less.
Charlie Brooker takes on the leaders’ debates:
if Nick Clegg spends the first 50 minutes rousing the audience with his fiery, lyrical rhetoric – as per usual – only to sneeze unexpectedly five minutes before the end, leaving a giant pendulum of mucus dangling off the end of his conk, the unfortunate mishap would be looped and repeated ad nauseam on every rolling news bulletin for weeks to come. He’d be Mr Snot. And do you want to vote for Mr Snot? No way. What if he sneezed on the nuclear button?
Thought provoking article from Adrian Hamilton in the Independent on the whole Greece/Eurozone/UK thing
Some useful information on saving energy from the Guardian
Some b-roll of Commissioner Ashton in Haiti. Council TV Newsroom is looking pretty good!
And as it was getting tweeted about earlier, here’s a link to our new(ish) site which is regularly updated with “Euromyths” and our letters to the editor – which don’t always get printed, so at least there’s a trace.
A not oft-heard argument that the European Commission is more democratic than the British Cabinet
Ilana Bet-El in the Guardian on why Member States only have themselves to blame if they don’t think Ashton is doing well.
Michael Crick reminds me why Michael Foot’s death is a big deal
And because we want the best possible proposals for events in answer to our call for proposals
Possibly my favourite blog, which engages in regular fisking of tabloid stories.
Edited at 16.10, 3 March 2010 to add:
MEP Mary Honeyball is impressed by Herman van Rompuy.
I’m going to blatantly filch an idea from the fabulous currybetdotnet and link to items I’ve found elsewhere on the net that I like, or think might be interesting for anyone that pops by. Needless to say, I don’t endorse any content, and my linking to them here certainly doesn’t imply that they reflect priorities, policies or views of the European Commission. Sometimes it’s just good to read…
Mary Kaldor in Comment is Free: Europe has spent too long besieged by regulation culture and market obsession, forgetting its original purpose: peace
Jonathan Holmes in Comment is Free on why arts should be subsidised.
Europe Minister Chris Bryant draws attention to the contribution of the EU Media programme to many of the films shortlisted for BAFTA.