Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Profile for davenewman

Green Party prospective candidate for the Pottinger Ward in Belfast City Council. Worked for 15 years on e-democracy and e-participation (e.g. Formerly a Lecturer in Information Systems at Queen's University Belfast, and ran the Appropriate Technology Centre at Kenyatta University, Nairobi. MA (Materials Science), Ph.D. (Appropriate Technology), M.Sc. (Artificial Intelligence).

Latest comments from davenewman (see all)

davenewman has commented 329 times (1 in the last month).

  1. Comment on Friday thread: “In this country we need to be extremely vigilant about the stories we choose to tell ourselves”
    on 23 March 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Do too many people let the stories take over all political decision-making? Do they live in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, where million-to-one chances come up 9 times out of 10 to fit the story, rather than our roundworld where scientific evidence and uncertainty play havoc with simplistic narratives? Would bookmakers rather than novelists make better politicians, as they are better at judging uncertainty?

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  2. Comment on David Cameron and love bombing the Scots
    on 9 February 2014 at 1:16 am

    The Yes campaign is not a single force, as claimed. It includes the Scottish Green Party and others, as well as the SNP. Several Greens I know are going to spend the summer campaigning north of the border.

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  3. Comment on Young people and the upcoming elections
    on 3 February 2014 at 11:34 pm

    We had an 18-year old candidate in the Oxfordshire County Council elections last year.

    As for Pete Seeger, not all look the same. Peggy Seeger now lives in Oxford, where at 77 she wrote and performed a song to save a local swimming pool (, and joined the Green Party. (Labour are closing it down to build a new one in a Labour-voting ward.)

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  4. Comment on Mandela legacy for NI: A real, hard fought and never-ending quest to improve society for all
    on 7 December 2013 at 9:09 pm

    A correction to the the claim by tmich that the South African government’s advance into Angola hindered the ANC. It was the defeat of the SA Army by Cubans that started the process that led to the National Party giving up hope of surviving alone. Very quickly Namibia became independent, ruled by SWAPO.

    At the same time (1980), the Soviet Union sent a destroyer from Vladivostok to Maputo to counter a threat to Mozambique. The SA Army had been coming over the border to attack ANC houses in Matola, a few miles SW of where I was living in Bairo do Jardim, Maputo.

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  5. Comment on Tough messages for the SDLP: Open up policy gaps and start speaking human again.
    on 30 November 2013 at 12:01 am

    The SDLP is not the only pro-European party. Given the success of the Green MEPs in the EU Parliament (e.g. the Common Fisheries Policy) most Green parties in Europe are pro-European.

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  6. Comment on “The lack of a truth recovery process means that tribal myths will continue to trump actual memory”
    on 4 November 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Aren’t commissioners part-time jobs, with a full-time director under the figurehead?

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  7. Comment on DUP-are they really the voice of Unionism?
    on 27 October 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Since this discusssion has widened to include non-unionist parties, what about the other successful opposition party, the NI Green Party.

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  8. Comment on “This is just the latest example of the (First) Minister(s) failing to spend monies…”
    on 22 October 2013 at 5:11 pm

    In the old days, this money would have been handed over to a community and voluntary sector organisation, and they would have asked groups to apply for it. It might have gone via NICVA, the Community Foundation, or the EU office.

    That was not always perfect, but they had an incentive to distribute the loot quickly and do something with it.

    The point is to quickly get the money out of the hands of politicians and civil servants, as both have incentives to delay.

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  9. Comment on How to win a Scottish Referendum – ten iron laws…
    on 5 October 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Close relations across water divides?

    Tanzania (Tanganika + Zanzibar) works OK, with some political differences.

    Cape Verde islands and Guinea Bissau split up after trying to be one country after independence from Portugal.

    Equatorial Guinea has an island and a mainland bit, one of which is more harshly treated by their dictator, but everyone suffers.

    Canada and Newfoundland get along (although there is the joke of the man who moved from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland raising the average IQ of both places).

    Alaska and Hawaii are divided from the continental USA. This produces some odd politics. Maybe the USA should sell Alaska back to Russia, with a discount if they take Sarah Palin.

    Then there are archipelagos: Indonesia, Philipines, Seychelles, Maldives.

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