Tag: David Cameron

Stuff I've seen June 27th through June 30th

These are my links for June 27th through June 30th:

  • Poynter Online – Youtube Launches Citizen reporter Support – The site has just unveiled a new effort to improve and promote videos that are newsworthy: the Reporters' Center. The Reporters' Center launched Monday with about 35 instructional videos from professional journalists on how to handle a range of reporting challenges, including: understanding privacy issues (and staying out of jail), shooting video with your cell phone, fact-checking assertions, conducting a good interview and covering a humanitarian crisis safely.
  • Building Britain’s Future: the next step to better policy discussion online at Helpful Technology – "a fair crack at how we might present big policy documents online. To me, this is one of the big challenges in digital engagement right now: we have a fair number of tool options for consultations, and are getting better at applying the ‘classic’ social media tools of Twitter, YouTube and Flickr – but the practicalities and small-p politics of presenting large documents in anything more than a downloadable PDF are still daunting. Like Digital Britain or New Opportunities, BBF is not (primarily) a consultation, so has to struggle with the thorny question of what to do with feedback and whether to solicit it at all."
  • http://mypolice.wordpress.com/ – MyPolice.org is a web-based service that fosters constructive, collaborative communication between communities and the police forces which serve them. MyPolice originated at (and won!) Social Innovation Camp, June 2009. Sicamp is a challenge to turn back of the envelope ideas which use the web to tackle 'stuff that matters' into a reality. In just 48 hours.
  • Reuters Editors » Blog Archive » Rethinking rights, accreditation, and journalism itself in the age of Twitter | Blogs | – Reuters understands hat social media can also be journalism: "To a 23 year-old athlete, used to putting out a “news feed” of every detail of her personal life and training on various social media platforms, there simply isn’t a distinction. Her life IS a news feed. Her blog IS a publishing platform. Her Facebook page IS the daily newspaper of her life."
  • The Conservative Party | News | Speeches | David Cameron: Giving power back to the people – "Information is power – because information allows people to hold the powerful to account. This has never been more true than today, in the information age. The internet is an amazing pollinator, spreading ideas and information all over the globe in minutes. It turns lonely fights into mass campaigns; transforms moans into movements; excites the attention of hundreds, thousands, millions of people and stirs them to action. And constantly accelerating technology makes information infinitely more powerful.

Government cancels Parliamentary vote following internet campaign on MP's expenses

Early this week My Society urged us to write to our MP’s to insist that the new Freedom of Information Bill should not be used to conceal MP’s expenses.  I sent this to Lynne Jones:

I was really concerned this week to read reports in both left and right wing biased newspapers that parliament is moving to conceal the receipts for MP’s expenses, not simply from open public scrutiny but also from FOI requests.

To be confident that MP’s are spending public money fairly we need that process to fully transparent.  I do hope hope you will do everything you can to ensure that’s the case.

She replied:

I am not sure exactly what we are going to be asked to vote on as yet but I am opposed to special provisions that would exempt MPs from disclosures that other people in other public sector organisations have to make. So as to be accountable, I will put something on my website next week.

Today Tom Steinburg of mySociety tells us that their campaign has worked. Clay Sirky describes it as victory for transparency. Let me give you everything Tom says says:

The vote on concealing MPs’ expenses has been cancelled by the government!

In other words – we won!

This is a huge victory not just for transparency, it’s a bellweather for a change in the way politics works. There’s no such thing as a good day to bury bad news any more, the Internet has seen to that.

Over 7000 people joined a Facebook group, they sent thousands of emails to over 90% of all MPs. Hundreds of thousands of people found out about the story by visiting TheyWorkForYou to find something they wanted to know, reading an email alert, or simply discovered what was going on whilst checking their Facebook or Twitter pages. Almost all of this happened, from nowhere, within 48 hours, putting enough pressure on Parliament to force change.

Congrats – the internets and the mainstream media work together, plus of course the Conservative Party withdrawing their support for the Bill.

How much government money is spent in your neighbourhood? cons08

So how much? Add it all together: policing, benefits, health, road repairs.  The lot.  How much?  You don’t know, in fact it probably cant be done.

That is what Dick Atkinson realised 15 years ago. He runs the Balsall Heath Neighbourhood Forum and he wanted to know just how much public money was sunk into his patch each year.  he wanted to see if he could help spend some of it better.

Dick has written about this in many of his books and pamphlets. More importantly he has argued the case year after year as politician after politician came to visit his court in the pyramid building where the forum his based.  Among them the Tories.  David Cameron has visited Balsall Heath at least three times to my knowledge. He’s stayed here to find out more about inner city living.  He gave a Chamberlain Lecture (link to mp3 Chamberlain forum here) on civil renewal in a small church in the Seven Streets Neighbourhood.

Yesterday – as one of the Birmingham bloggers invited to the Tory Party conference – I bumped into Alistair Burt MP.  He too has visited Balsall Heath and told me that Dick’s wish is close to coming true:


I’ve had a rootle around and can’t find much more detail of how this idea of a Sustainable Communities Statement does or will work.  He wasn’t the first person to mention it here.  Greg Clarke, shadow minister for the cabinet office (is that Tom Watson’s shadow or Phil Hope’s), also mentioned this at an NCVO fringe event held at BVSC on monday. So where’s the real detail on how much easier it is to count public spending in your neighbourhood? Will it work or does is simply apply to traditional boundaries, such as constituencies? Anyone help?

Other Birmingham Bloggers who were also at the conference:

Dave Harte on posh tories.

Alex Hughes fabulous flickr cartoons.

Deirde lines up the lolitics fodder.

Jon Bounds learns ten things and ponders why few MP’s really blog.

Simon Gray mostly shared his thoughts through flickr.

Praguetory is still composing his after having a camera nicked.

Dan O’Doherty at Birmingham University Conservatives thinks Cameron should be pm – shocker.

What is a Birmingham Blogger doing at the Tory Party Conference?

Tory women in heels

That’s what I kept asking myself, and I wasn’t alone. Other members of the Birmingham bloggers’ group who’d registered to cover the conference were also considering what they might write, if they should right anything. Why were they there?

I know why I was there. Because I was invited.

It a huge occasion and I’m delighted I went. One blogger has described this invitation to local web folk as a charm offensive. Well charmed I have been. Partly by the warm and relaxed welcome from Rishi Saha, the Conservative’s head of social media, but also by the sheer scale and energy of the event. It is the first conference in Birmingham I’ve found with such a huge fringe. Events leach into the rest of the city centre. One massive conversation, much of it in very high heels.

It is also the only conference where it is not just up to us as a city to make a good impression. Sure we need to be our normal hospitable self, but equally the Tories need to make a good impression on us.

I’ve been to Conservative party conferences before as a BBC political reporter. I’ve covered huge events in Birmingham – notably the G8 conference. That was easy. I knew my job was to tell the overall story – the mainstream consensus. If possible I should also find an exclusive something – but that something still had to satisfy a mass audience – or rather the editors who judge what interests that audience. This time it was harder.

Then it dawned on me why a blogger should got to any political party conference: to write about the things they normally write about.

My niche is that curious overlap between active citizenship, citizen journalism, social media, mainstream journalism and local government.

It is a mishmash of a place and any party conference is riddled with material that fits my normal area of interest. Oddly this only occurred to me late this afternoon.

Tis the fringe stupid: Bloggers are perfectly suited to one particular part of a major conference – the fringe. It is there the fit happens, the wider the range of blogging interests present the greater the depth of coverage we will get from these events.

So tomorrow I’ll be back to share a story or two and hopefully they will be the things my normal readers want to to read.

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