Has the new media revolution changed anything about the way we do politics?

FitzJamesHorse has some provocative thoughts on politics and the internet – not to mention the continuing ridicule of Loyalism. He comes to the ‘sage’ conclusion (again) that bloggers don’t matter. But Facebook and Twitter and YouTube do, he says.

Actually, these are all, in whichever form, micro blogging platforms. In all cases, the primacy of conversation and the capacity to network information and comment are the main shifts from older ‘one to one’ or ‘one to many’ forms of communication.

Has the Internet changed politics in the way it has already hollowed out the media platforms? No question that even in Northern Ireland there has been a marked shift. Back in 2004, Professor Stephen Coleman observed:

…if “older monolithic news transmission of politics is failing”, most political parties have been reluctant to embrace the more edgy dangerous world of the Internet. Here the communication mode is person to person: “Rather parties want something akin to the television production that they can control”.

If Gerry Adams and Peter Robinson want to talk these days, theoretically they could do it on Twitter.  That they choose not to is likely down to a calculation that going at an unplanned public confrontation could cost either man collateral damage or ridicule.

Yes, but has new media changed the way politics is done?

Well, it has undoubtedly had an impact. Although the Bogus Tweet affair had more ramifications for the media involved, but for its use at a critical moment in the campaign, there might be another man sitting in Aras an Uachtarain. It had echoes of a much earlier episode in the US:

The ad hoc group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, effectively neutralised Kerry’s attempt to capitalise on his war record in Vietnam. Its video with several veterans throwing doubt on the veracity of his medal honours, was only shown once on TV in Ohio, yet in West Virginia, where it was never shown, 65% said they’d seen it on the Internet.

As for it’s impact on politics, and the way things are done at crisis points it has put elected politicians under greater scrutiny, but it has not changed the fundamental structure of politics, most of which is still about getting elected and staying popular.

And according to Janan Ganesh in the FT (via Alex Evans)…

The first law of politics is that almost nothing matters. Voters barely notice, much less are they moved by, the events, speeches, tactics, campaigns or even strategies that are ultimately aimed at them.

Elections are largely determined by a few fundamentals: the economy, the political cycle, the basic appeal of the party leaders. The role of human agency is not trivial, but it is rarely decisive either.[emphasis added]

The Internet, and its incessant demands for greater one to one engagement changes none of these fundamentals. But it is changing the climate, and it provides opportunities to flip the asymmetric advantages of incumbents.

For instance, Dean’s only tangible achievement for the Democrats in the 2004 Primaries was to show them how to narrow the fundraising gap with the Republicans. You may have your own views as to whether those insights were wisely invested in 2008.

As yet, few have shown its real advantages in just helping to make good stuff happen.

That’s partly because unlike journalists, (and some politicians) political parties and governments have yet to find a way to love what they fear may one day become the author of their downfall.

So, in your view, has the new media revolution actually changed anything about the way we do politics?

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  • The Raven

    Oh yes.

    At a personal level, it’s allowed us to share and amplify our cynicism, pick up on little nuggets of two-facedness and duplicity and share them, follow the Guardian without buying it, marvel collectively at just *how* the English can vote for Tories, and probably ensure that the turnout for the next NI elections at any level will be less than 50%.

  • Im not sure I agree with…um….myself.
    I DO think that serious bloggers oversell the impact of the Internet.
    Every report that I saw on TV…Westminster 2010 USA last year….seemed to include the words “this is the first Internet Election” and at the next elections, I will hear exactly the same.
    The Internet is really just a place for cute pictures of cute kittens.
    As a serious place for IDEAS…no not convinced about that. Taking the point about the Swift Boat thing, fledgling internet played a part but as I recall it was mostly TV.
    Certainly my small Facebook account is cluttered with negative political messages …and kittens.
    And this is where I make the point about the loyalists.
    No amount of cerebral TV studio debate about Flegs and Parades has really had any consequence.
    The loyalists have simply been made to look a bit daft by their own Facebook pages and carefully selected Facebook and You Tube postings by their opponents have had an even bigger impact.
    Unforeseen circumstances has given the Internet credibility but its not really about an exchange of ideas.

  • Mick Fealty

    FJH,

    You’ve changed your mind? Already?

  • Several times. 😉

  • michael-mcivor

    Twitter can put us in touch with a lot of people in the media game-we can say how much we like/hate them or to suggest better ways that they can report on any given news items-it does not make any difference as there is no change on the way storys are being reported-but would any of us be any different if we were involved in the media/blogger game-I like this new media anyway-very few secrets now a days-

  • FDM

    Protestant Coalition kicked off facebook today where literally “millions of protestants” were reading their content and interacting with them.

  • Neil

    Wonder is there a link to their statement re: attacking the cops being justified?

    Friday night’s attacks on the police were “justified”, a leading member of the Protestant Coalition has claimed.

    Sam McCrory, chairman of the loyalist political party launched less than four months ago, also said that the police “took a very good beating and rightly so”.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/attacking-police-justified-says-protestant-coalition-1-5380396

    He’s since attempted to row back from those comments. Good luck with that. 🙂

  • Alias

    The question isn’t how the Internet has altered politics: it is how, or if, most voters having instant access to more information (good and bad) has altered it. And, based on the evidence, more information hasn’t altered politics one iota. Is there even a reason to suspect that it will? Not that I can see.

    Most folks hyping the power of the Internet for business (where it is useful as a sales tool) are either hoping to profit from that hype or are geeks who believed the likes of Bill Gates and Larry Page et al when they hyped it for profit. If you’re selling consultancy services to political class then you also have a vested interest in hyping its power to that dismal ilk.

  • Mick Fealty

    OUCH!

  • Alias

    Not a jibe at you! Just at the those who tell the political class to shape up when it comes to the Internet… *card-avoiding backtrack*

  • Kevsterino

    Alias is right. OMG, did I …

    Anyway, the effect of making information available is hard to gauge when it seems so few are capable of understanding it.

    I think the internet has actually increased the proportion of the voting public who misunderstand the world around them.

  • I think it is fair to say that most Bloggers and sites tend to attract viewers and contributors with a sympathetic view of the content, ie: People view what reinforces their view rather than what challenges or is opposed to it. Much the same as newspapers.
    For example I wouldn’t be caught buying the Daily Mail in a fit.
    Slugger manages to bridge that gap to an extent. My own blog tends to get diverse views also which I am pleased about.
    Mr Fitz’s blog is a one off. He is a GOB- Grumpy Old Blogger (I could have used a couple of other words there) but he is honest.
    Unlike some of the MSM who pretend otherwise. The strength of the internet is that the imperative is not driving sales. It is provoking thought and debate.
    It ain’t perfect but I think it’s a good thing

  • Mick Fealty

    It was a fair hit Alias.. no question of cards

  • Big Island Exile

    Bangordub

    “ie: People view what reinforces their view rather than what challenges or is opposed to it. Much the same as newspapers.”

    Spot on with that, its disconfirmation bias in action. The more than you try to sway with argument and facts, the less affect it will have, they screen it out. You can almost say that the use of bloggs to try to change most people’s opinions will backfire, it will only reinforce their original beliefs.

  • The last General Election was certainly one of the TV Debate – no doubt to some extent amplified by social media, but the greatest impact media was TV.

    The most irritating thing on TV News is the use of ‘twitter’ and ‘fb’ as if somehow this gives the news some sort of ‘street cred’. Would prefer to have the news, objectively or otherwise, be the news and let the social chitter get on with itself. Social media is mostly opinion, and often uninformed at that. News outlets need to invest in journalism: chitter chatter is just that. If anyone remembers the Guardian ad a few years ago about what you see and what actually happens – a good reminder of YouTube.

    Social media is a resource, but some measured proportionality on its importance would not go amiss.

    Alias, spot on.

  • tacapall

    “The first law of politics is that almost nothing matters. Voters barely notice, much less are they moved by, the events, speeches, tactics, campaigns or even strategies that are ultimately aimed at them”

    Obviously that quote is totally wrong or some people believe different, normally I would not believe nor support a word that comes out of serial about turner Kerry but the puppet does prove a point that the internet does matter in politics, that it is important to those who govern us and thats why it is becoming increasingly important to the British, American governments and indeed dictatorships around the world to attempt to censor the content or the technology we have access to on it.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/john-kerry-little-thing-called-internet-makes-it-much-harder-govern

    “Well, folks,” he said, “ever since the end of the Cold War, forces have been unleashed that were tamped down for centuries by dictators, and that was complicated further by this little thing called the internet and the ability of people everywhere to communicate instantaneously and to have more information coming at them in one day than most people can process in months or a year.

    “It makes it much harder to govern, makes it much harder to organize people, much harder to find the common interest,” said Kerry, “and that is complicated by a rise of sectarianism and religious extremism that is prepared to employ violent means to impose on other people a way of thinking and a way of living that is completely contrary to everything the United States of America has ever stood for. So we need to keep in mind what our goals are and how complicated this world is that we’re operating in.”

    I thought he was talking about here in that last paragraph, its so uncanny and accurate when you consider the actions of unionism these last few months and weeks. By the way Mick whats this lark about –

    “This website (Sluggerotoole.com) attempted to access image data on a canvas. Since canvas image data can be used to discover information about your computer, blank image data was returned this time”

  • I tend to agree that an awful lot of the internet, in terms of politics, is a case of “like” talking to “like”. However I wouldn’t downplay the importance of that. In days of yore people developed their political beliefs or got in involved in politics through partisan publications: newspaper, magazines, pamphlets, etc. The importance of Ireland’s pre-revolutionary “mosquito press” has been emphasised by several historians. From such reading people made the next step to actually contacting or communicating with like-minded others. Now, via the web, you can do both in one step, especially in relation to interactive blogs or fora.

    People of a particular political leaning discover that there are others out there and this reinforces there burgeoning or already existing beliefs. And as we have seen in the Middle-east and north Africa a certain dynamic can spring from that. If the Occupy movement was a relative failure it was perhaps because it was too premature (and too diffuse). However many who cut their teeth in it will go on to other things.

    There is a certain generational divide on how people view the web and its use. Some people refuse to see social media as a substitute or addendum to real world social activity but it is (try watching Jeremy Kyle to see how Facebook and Twitter have become an extension of many users’ lives, or even MTV’s Catfish). If we are making (and breaking) friendships online, playing out relationships online (turbulent and otherwise), why would politics be any different? It does have an effect. We just don’t know what yet.

  • Actually I would argue that it enables a connection, however tenuous, between those who would otherwise never engage face to face.

  • Last month when Mick covered my post on Unionist non-engagement with social media, he suggested that I was wrong to suggest it doesn’t matter that pro/Union folk tend not to get involved to any meaningful extent.

    The task of any political activist is primarily to get more people voting for your cause. And whilst getting some oddbod in downtown Shitsville, Illinois upset with your interpretation of Irish history does have its attractions, ultimately it will not gain or lose the Union one vote in the next Assembly Election.

    We simply don’t have the critical mass in terms of numbers in the UK (never mind N.Ireland) for concentrated online activism to make any difference in terms of switching elections; sure the odd stupid comment on twitter or facebook may temporarily hurl the mug who made it onto the front page of the Tele but does anyone seriously think it will loses them any votes in our partisan electoral system?

    With regards the benefits to be derived from *engaging* with your opponents… forget it. The time would be much more profitably spent researching and questioning the background, history, facts and beliefs which lie behind your own politics.

    The main effect of social media on NI political life, as far as I am concerned, as largely been a negative one. No twitter, no moronic Stephen Nolan Talkbacks and more seriously quite possibly a lot less co-ordinated civil disorder.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    I thought that the general consensus reached by unionists a few weeks ago is that sustained online engagement was beneath them, given how deceitful nationalist/republican commentators are.

  • @oneill,

    All that would be true if the Occupied North existed in a political and cultural vacuum. It doesn’t. The fact is that several thousand “oddbods” in Illinois or anywhere else have the ability to lobby their Congressman or woman for those causes which engage or energise them. And the conflict in the north-eastern region of Ireland is exactly the type of cause that does both. I think your views, with respect, highlight the points Mick was making about Unionists being unwilling or unable to engage outside their Northern Pale.

    The obsessive belief that nothing can change because the British Unionist minority in the north-east of the country say so is patently anti-historical. There has been nothing but change from 1916 onwards as the cause of Unionism lost the whole of the island-nation of Ireland and was reduced to the rump of “Carsonia”. Unionists won’t go out to fight their corner in the big bad brave new world of the internet and so they are losing and loosing hands down.

    Over on FJH’s blog we were discussing the increasing perception abroad of the British Unionist minority in Ireland as the “Afrikaners of western Europe” with comparisons to the 1980s’ Apartheid-era cultural zeitgeist in the West. A similar case could be made for how the Serbs were perceived globally (in the West at least) in the 1990s.

    Rupert Murdoch’s favourite website and news source of the moment is The Vice and guess what? It is openly hostile to the British Unionist minority in Ireland. If you think that counts for nothing in the cultural consciousness of makers and shakers in the US and elsewhere in the anglosphere you are wrong.

  • The daily ridicule that loyalists are getting online is bound to have an effect. The most effective ridicule is via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
    There IS a genuine dilemna as to how “fair” it is…the loyalists are indeed losing this particular battle in the Culture War. Just how decisive the Battle of YouTube is …hard to say but if they dont want to lose the Cuture. War, they need to get off that particular field.
    Its not simply a matter of how loyalists are being portrayed and indeed portraying themselves ….and magnified all over the world.
    There is an exact mirror image where in West Belfast, the Fleadh was being “re-tweeted” and the Police Games was being “re-tweeted”…. completely over the top of course.
    But a nationalist is happy enough on this ground.
    It has driven a wedge between loyalists and the graden centre community.
    It IS the Internet changing politics but not in the high-minded way that the pioneers thought.

  • ASF

    “The obsessive belief that nothing can change because the British Unionist minority in the north-east of the country say so is patently anti-historical”

    That’s not what I said, although if you take the time out to read Karl Popper’s critique of the policy of “Historicism” you’ll see the converse can also argued; ie history does not follow an inevitable course or predefined path.

    No, what I said is that my “online” engaging with, for example, the ever declining number of Irish Americans who are actually interested in the subject of the *British minority* in NI will not influence them in one iota in their opinion of me or my kind. They will harass their congressman on the subject of NI whether or not I waste my evenings for the next decade describing my background and political beliefs.

    I post blogs and help with the Open Unionism FB and twitter feed primarily because I enjoy writing. Regarding the wider influence we may have, we certainly have no illusions.

    FJH
    “The daily ridicule that loyalists are getting online is bound to have an effect.”

    Do you really think so? What kind of effect do you think it will have on the people it is actually targeting? They’ll restrain themselves from battering the next copper because they know their version of loyalty to the UK will be ridiculed the next day on LAD? I don’t think so.

    Again, the main beneficial effect in creating such ridicule accrues to the creator who I am sure enjoy making up their posts and videos.

  • FJH,

    Sorry, just two more point:

    “It has driven a wedge between loyalists and the graden centre community”

    The internet campaign or indeed the wider culture war has not accentuated something which has existed since the demise of Faulkner.

    Interestingly enough, when I checked on the evening of 12th, not one “orange”, “riot” or “sectarian”- related topic was trending on twitter…. in Belfast!

    Now, if the Belfast twitterati were more interested in the latest reality show starlet or Rooney or (seriously) the Ashes than the civil disorder erupting in certain confined areas of Belfast then I have my doubts about the wider world online population.

  • Well frankly I dont know.
    All I know is that there is a large body of unionist opinion which is held to be passive..And although I personally dont like the term “garden centre unionist”, we understand it.
    On two previous occasions …1998 Referendum and 2010 East Belfast they were stirred into action.
    On both ocasions there was a certain animosity in loyalist circles hat a group which could be taken for granted as passive had stirred itself. I tend to think that the Flegs/Parades protestors MIGHT have produced a third Garden Centre moment.
    certainly at the weekend we saw the UUP leader condemn the protestors in a very forthright fashion. Robinson appears to be appealing to the core with stalling on the Maze. The hardcore loyalists seem to have turned on DUP and NI21 seems to be too busy being nice.
    Whether we laugh at the ridicule or agonise that a minority “culture” (loyalism) is the victim of cyber bullying depends on our political perspectives.
    I tend to think it has gone too far…but its probably a good thing.

  • Zig70

    The demise of the printed press is probably more significant and people will get most of their political information from tv and peers. Peer led politics makes it easier for extreme views and that worries me. Instead of us all being enlightened, we live in an information fog that allows parties like UKIP to flourish. Facebook, which I rarely use, seems to be the most significant tool and from what I can see is used more by unionists, but that might be the circles I move in. I really like twitter but most use it for infotainment. I know a few folks who couldn’t tell you who the first minister is and those of us who are politically minded probably have more power through our conversations than what we write online.

  • “few have shown its real advantages in just helping to make good stuff happen.”

    Another good thing the internet can do is to assist the exposure of bad stuff, not just at election time but also in governance generally. I’ve disabled comments on NALIL because some of the topics I cover could expose me to litigation.

    Fitzy has mocked the merits of Facebook but the following BelTel article is mostly a straight lift from comments posted on the Derry Richmond Centre’s Facebook page. In this tale, the centre issued two apologies and a wrong was righted; I played a part in righting that wrong. Unfortunately, when it comes to political governance, politicians and bureaucrats may well resort to spending whatever amount of our money it takes to cover-up errors of judgement or misdeeds.

    The role of modern media probably also needs to be looked at in the context of Freedom of Information. Governments, in order to protect the institutions that act as a barrier between them and the people, are naturally anxious to regulate the flow of information to the public domain. A word in an MSM editor’s ear can stop a story in its tracks or its repetition but this is of little value in the modern media age. It’s then perhaps not surprising that the amount of information available in official minutes has been greatly reduced, sometimes to little more than a list of information free action points.

    The narrative sometimes appears as old vs new media whereas the greater capacity for good and evil probably occurs when they combine.

  • Greenflag

    It’s still early days but it can be said that the internet in it’s latest facebook/twitter etc manifestation certainly helped ‘overthrow ‘ political regimes from Tunisia , Libya , Egypt etc .Theres no question that the Obama re-election campaign was successful as a result of his party’s strong edge in the practical use of the new media to get the vote out .This fact is attested by the GOP now belatedly accepting that they need to ‘copy’ the Democrats in respect of their ‘technology’ in time for the 2014 mid terms and the 2016 Presidential elections.

    O’Neill above is correct when he says that all the internet chatter /blogs /etc etc will not change his vote or attitude and others like him . But it doesn’t have to -to have an impact.. What it does and is doing is changing the political sea in which both he and everybody else swim. To that extent if you are not in the sea you will drown politically or your voice will go unheard /ignored /discounted etc

    Even today it can be said that if a politician is not seen on TV at election time he/she does not exist -at least in the minds of a significant number of voters and thats what matters on election day . . I believe the same will be true of the ‘internet /facebook/twitter eventually and just like TV these media will become more and more political marketing tools just like TV except they will be subject to more feedback from the electorate.

    The political class can no longer ignore the ‘internet ‘ regardless of it’s positive or negative contribution to the exchange of information/knowledge / or spin . Thats the road to Ostrichia a place where the dinosaurs are still said to roam 😉

  • “To that extent if you are not in the sea you will drown politically or your voice will go unheard /ignored /discounted etc”

    On the macro level you are, kinda, right on that Greenflag.

    Tunisia , Libya , Egypt did not have freedom of expression pre revolution. The US has an online electorate of what 100, 150 million?
    See the difference with OWC?

    On our own blog we have had several journos and academics contact us for opinions on various issues.

    In the majority of occasions, however, the narrative had already been pre-written and we were being recruited to give some sort of semblance of “independence” on the issue with a final conclusion still being written pretty much to tie in with their own political prejudices.

    To be fair, journos and intellectuals from the ROI have tended to be a lot more open/minded than people from our own part of the island, Euro Far-Left Hippsterdom or the *Irish* Overseas… but, really, in conclusion, bothering to answer the various emails we’ve received over the years has not advanced the pro/Union cause one little bit.

    Does it (social media) change the political sea we are operating in? In terms of influencing support for the Union where it matters? Nope

  • I think the last two US Presidential elections are interesting exemplars of the impact of social media on politics and political communication, particularly the Obama campaigns. In 2008, Obama used the new-born social media to some effect in targeting a section of the electorate well disposed to Obama as a candidate but relatively disengaged from formal, machine politics: the youth vote. The opposing McCain campaign simply didn’t get it and relied on traditional, apparently less risky campaign channels: media conferences, party rallies, TV news and political advertising to name the most obvious. Yet if McCain had read the runes, he would have seen that among 36 per cent of voters the Internet had already overtaken traditional forms such as newspapers, radio and magazines as principle sources of campaign news, while television as a key source for voters had dropped from 82 percent in 1992 to 70 per cent in 2008. By 2012, the Internet and social media were used by 47 per cent of voters, while TV had bottomed out at 67 per cent (Pew Centre).

    In the 2012 Presidential race, the Romney campaign had learned the lessons of McCain’s disastrous 2008 campaign and employed social media tools to reach otherwise unreachable sections of the electorate but even then it was still way behind the Obama camp in both spending on social media campaigning – only $4.7 million compared to ten times that by Obama (MPRcentre.org) – and voter reach. Still, it was clear that social media had arrived as indispensible tools in political campaigning in the USA.

    But more revealing than these facts and figures is the understanding of the candidates, particularly Obama, that social media have particular uses and critical limitations. While there are still questions of trust and reliability about how we use and receive messages via social media (Twitter especially), the candidates used these tools to do more than just issue hard content such as campaign updates and messages. In fact, they deployed a range of social media to target voters with a variety of soft content to some effect. In a feature for the New York Times online (not dated), Jenna Wortham showed how through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Spotify, Pinterest and Instagram, the candidates kept themselves in the shop window 24/7, showing voters their human side with their likes, their favourite TV shows and cookery recipes and even their top 10 playlist, which users could listen to and download for themselves. Obama’s No.1 was the groovy, upbrat AfroSoul song, Keep Marchin’, by Raphael Saadiq, while Romney might have been advised to rethink when he plumped for Man of Constant Sorrow by the Soggy Bottom Boys. Great song but in a presidential election image management matters too, Mitt!

    It’s tempting to look at the American model and bemoan how far behind our own politicos are here in the North. Tempting but not a fair or reasonable comparison. There is plenty of evidence that politicians and political parties here are using social media to engage in public discussion and comment, some more effectively than others of course. It also seems obvious that they are doing so no less extensively or effectively than their counterparts in Britain or down south. But they do need to get to a point where they use social media more systematically and strategically than they’ve done thus far and reach parts of the electorate no longer reliant on more traditional media sources. At the same time, they need to understand the limitations of social media and realise that even in this digital age, it’s hard sometimes to beat an analogue face at the door.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Does it (social media) change the political sea we are operating in?’

    It does but not directly nor in any dramatic manner like in the Arab countries . Probably not noticeable to those who still favour the more traditional media but like water once it reaches that overflow point /critical mass it gets everywhere .The narrative may have been already written in NI for the preceding half century but while that might provide a kind of levee wall against the rising tide of social media it won’t provide permanent immunity ..

    “In terms of influencing support for the Union where it matters? Nope”

    It may seem like that now but I would add that nothing will be immune from it’s pervasiveness not even support for the Union , and conversely not even support for a UI .

    Give it another decade and it’s political effects will be more clearly evident .As of now those who are using it strategically are not losing it -Those who are not using it (see above AA for a good example ) will be forced to use it or as I noted above end station Ostrichia a port of political oblivion will to pursue the maritime theme of rising tides -hove in sight .

  • Greenflag

    @ Academic Anon .

    Indeed excellent summation of the subject . Thanks btw for the info on the Romney campaign song . One of my favourites 🙂 I guess in the end the people could only see that voting GOP for President would have meant only more ‘constant sorrow ‘ 😉

    ‘even in this digital age, it’s hard sometimes to beat an analogue face at the door.’

    One face – 30,000 doors . While it will always have a place it can hardly be significant in any but the closest of close elections I would think ? Given that incumbent politicians in the USA are almost immune to electoral defeat as those in the old Victorian Age rotten boroughs in England were and that the ‘constituencies ‘ have been ‘gerrymandered ‘ at the behest of both political parties to favour themselves when in power -I can only think that this fact will like the drowning of real political debate under a shower of negative mud flinging in the mass media courtesy of corporate billionaire donations -not be conducive to growing ‘democracy ‘ but instead more likely 🙁

  • Greenflag

    oops to drown it 🙁

  • “Has the Internet changed politics in the way it has already hollowed out the media platforms?”

    Well, not completely hollowed out. Eamonn McCann is still dishing it out:

    But the Ministry now says that the letter between two public servants relating to a publicly-funded event will be kept from the public because its contents “could prove damaging to the effective conduct of public affairs”. Ms. Ni Chuilin has taken this wording directly from Section 36 of the British Justice Ministry’s guidance .. .. Derry Journal

    Eamonn ends with this tease:

    In the end, all will be revealed. If I were involved in some of these matters, I’d come clean now.

  • Kevsterino

    That song was perfect for Mitt. I could imagine him playing ole Ulysses for the Coen brothers in that movie.

    “Yes sir, we are negras”

    ;o)