This blog piece has been a little while in the making. Earlier, in March, the effort to try to better understand what was going on in the American Presidential Primaries prompted a trip to Washington DC. Probably overdue and making good, finally, on often made promises to visit, this was a chance to meet old friends and gain a first hand sense of what was going on.
Here was an opportunity to hear the views of people involved in education, lobbying, journalism, policy and politics. With the exception of the ex-pat journalist, of whom I would not presume to ask political affiliation, everyone else was a Republican. Anyway, morning TV included CNN, MSNBC, CBS, etc, as well as FOX. Balance restored.
At the time of the visit Trump was still in the end stage battle with Rubio and Cruz, and Clinton still had some months to go of a slugging match with Sanders before getting over the line with the delegate vote required.
So in a few short days, what sense could be made of American politics generally, Presidential primaries in particular?
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With the new larger Local Councils up and running there have been a number of stories in the local news about the cost of rebranding – new logos or, in this recent case, a new coat of arms.
There are many arguments for spending on rebranding to create an identity for a new body where it is about bringing a community together, good and bad. Very often this revolves around the final visual identity, the logo, and whether it is considered good or bad design.
Whatever the cost of the process this is voted on by Councillors and agreed by Councillors. So to not be prepared to reveal the cost where the spending was “unanimously supported by all parties at Monday night’s Council meeting” seems a little odd and overly-secretive.
If Councillors they are prepared to defend the project on which the money was spent, Councillors should be equally prepared to reveal how much is cost. After all it is the local rate-payer, the taxpayer, who is funding the ceremonial trappings of Council. It is the taxpayer to whom the Councillors are accountable.
The Government is currently looking at Freedom of Information requests, and their cost. Here is a very small example where a Council is not being open, not being accountable. In the total budget it may not be a big item, but it tends to a reluctance of elected representatives to be very forthcoming about how much of our money they are spending and allowing the taxpayer, and voter, to make up their own mind on what is value for money and what is not.
The Government should not be looking at the cost of Freedom of Information requests, instead it should be working harder on more open and accountable government at all levels that reduce the need for FOI requests in the first instance.
Nothing much changes in Northern Ireland politics, on the surface.
So when three of eighteen Westminster seats have new Members of Parliament does that represent significant change, or just a wee bit of a shuffle? What do the percentages and numbers mean for the Assembly elections in 2016? Read more… »
Class War: the changing face of a political culture.
As a political activist at University, nationally, Class War was a very loud and visible presence on the student and youth political scene. Not so much politics as political culture.
Bashing the rich seems to be a mainstream political cause to the Left of British politics today, indeed of ‘Progressive’ politics everywhere. Didn’t work out for President Hollande in France, but the Left has always been big on rhetoric and short on delivery. Read more… »