Cheap flights explained

I probably wouldn’t usually use Slugger to just post up funny things seen on the internet, but seeing as ‘budget’ airlines business practices and the politiking around City Airport have been a theme here, I thought you’d enjoy this from Fascinating Aida: Paul EvansLiving in London but working all over Britain and Ireland. A left-leaning Labour Party member and blogger. I’m on twitter as @paul0evans1 and I blog mainly at the Local Democracy blog though I’m in lots of other … Read more

Political Innovation no 4: See Change – opening policy research to the public

This is a guest cross-post by Ivo Gormley – originally posted on the Political Innovation site here. Although Government claims to want our participation and wants us to appreciate its policies, it hides the evidence on which it bases its policies in fat documents and reports that are hard to read and only available free at special events at think-tanks around Whitehall. If we want participation in politics in a way that goes beyond choice we need to share policy … Read more

Political Innovation no 3: Assertion-flagging: for less partisan, prejudiced blogging

This is a guest cross-post by Andrew Regan – originally posted on the Political Innovation site here. Most political bloggers are motivated to fight what they see as bigotry, prejudice, and ill-informed, unjustifiable assertion. This is a fine and noble cause, because the spreading of false beliefs – without the evidence to support them – is bad for all of us, as is the displacement of informed argument by mere rhetoric. All the more so when the perpetrator is powerful … Read more

Political Innovation 2: The politics of buying things

This is a guest cross-post by Dominic Campbell – originally posted on the Political Innovation site here: Well, you wouldn’t still be reading had I called it the politics of procurement now would you? (no, stop – don’t go!). No-one who engages with government procurement comes away impressed with it. It’s a process that wastes £billions and rewards process over outcomes. Yet we all know that, deep down, it’s a symptom of a political problem. It is a system set … Read more

Talking to a brick wall: how to make politicians listen?

It took me a long time to warm to advertising agencies. The first time I worked with one I was working in sales management on Fairy Washing Up Liquid. I was due to attend a meeting at which I was to be told what consumers really thought of the brand. I remember my reluctance to attend. Surely, I reasoned, we already knew the answer to this question as millions of consumers picked up the dark green bottles off the shelf … Read more

#Hackgate: An inquiry would go to the detail no one else wants

I honestly thought we’d seen the last of the (or as Dizzy puts it, the unhacked stupidity of individual politicians) #hackgate scandal last summer… According to a lengthy New York Times piece, apparently not. That said, apart from the onset of a judicial review, apart from evidence from ‘unnamed sources’, I cannot see what distinguishes the current situation from the way it was left last summer. The shabby dealings and evasions of News International are the same now as then… But … Read more

Oppression through the policing of clothing

France’s lower house of parliament recently approved a bill to ban the wearing of a burqa or niqab in public. People caught wearing garments “that hide the face” will be fined 150 euro and those who force women to cover up could be fined up to 30,000 euro and face a one-year jail term. Some of those in favour of the ban say it stems from the French concept of laïcité, a model of secularism which upholds freedom of and … Read more

Political Innovation no1: Towards Interactive Government

This is a guest cross-post by Tim Davies – originally posted on the Political Innovation site here: The communication revolution that we’ve undergone in recent years has two big impacts: It changes what’s possible. It makes creating networks between people across organisations easier; it opens new ways for communication between citizens and state; it gives everyone who wants it a platform for global communication; and it makes it possible to discover local online dialogue. It changes citizen expectations of government. … Read more

Launching the ‘Political Innovation’ project

When bloggers meet, I often find that old allegiances (be they left right, or Unionist/Republican) often dissolve into a different political spilt. Those of us who imagine that we ‘get’ the read-write web against the political colleagues that we have who, we believe, fail to foresee the possibilities or the threats. I’ve occasionally witnessed left-right-and-centrist bloggers in (non) violent agreement with each other – not about political direction, but about what is possible in harnessing the power of the web. … Read more

NI – soon to be the towing and clamping capital of the UK

Car being lifted and towed away in front of Belfat Hilton Hotel in 2008

Belfast is the libel capital of the world – Britney Spears took action through Belfast courts a few years ago – and now Northern Ireland is to remain the towing and clamping capital of the UK. Car clamping on private land was banned in Scotland back in 1991. Now as part of the Freedom Bill, legislation will be introduced in Parliament in November to outlaw “cowboy” clamping and towing on private land in England and Wales. (Landowners will be encouraged … Read more

Lost opportunities the common theme of Labour, past and present

Blair looking back and David Miliband .looking in both directions- it’s been a week of contemplation for Labour in unfamiliar opposition, as the coalition absorbs the pressures of government. Ironically the common theme of the former and the most likely future leader was lost opportunities, under Blair and under Brown. From Blair a confession; from Miliband a bold attack on Brown. At the Institute of Government the former Prime Minister laid out his mistakes with some frankness and gave advice to … Read more

Slugger’s comment thread rebuild – redux

You may recall that – a few weeks ago – I posted an idea on how we can add value to Slugger’s comments thread. It met with a mixed reaction, and while some of you liked the idea and saw possibilities in it, there were also some extremely perceptive objections. As a result, we have ruled the idea out of bounds. We are keen, however, to try and give Slugger more of a community dimension for a number of reasons, … Read more

Diane Abbott and Labour’s political monoculture…

Diane Abbot for Labour Leader? Well, she’s sneaking up slowly in the amount of backers she’s got, from herself and David Lammy now up to six. But she is still a very long way short of the 33 she needs to make the leadership contest in September. One problem is, she left her announcement a little late. The other is her Campaign Group colleague John McDonnell jumped the gun somewhat and threw his hat in the right before talking to … Read more

General Election 2010: The PDF Action replay panel at RSA London

Highlights from the beginning of a lively session at the RSA in London on May 13th, featuring Craig Elder (Conservatives.com), myself, James Crabtree (Prospect Magazine), Stella Creasy (Labour Tweeter and MP), Anthony Painter (author of Barack Obama: Movement for Change) and Harry Cole (aka the blogger Tory Bear). Well worth the listen not least because of the variety of the inputs coming in from very different angles… Although sadly there is nothing of the following (at times very lively) debate, … Read more

Friday thread: Improving Slugger’s comments

One of Slugger’s virtues is its comments thread. Unlike a lot of blogs, Mick applies a certain standard and trolls, threats, sockpuppetry and flamebaiting are generally discouraged. This isn’t done perfectly or consistently because it’s a big job to do and involves hours of unfunded work. We do the best we can under the circumstances – and at least half the job is done when people find themselves occasionally clipped. For the most part, commenters are better-behaved on Slugger than … Read more

All in a day’s work for post room staff …

This news flash came through earlier today on London Borough of Westminster’s public alert feed via CommunitySafe. Please could Postal Room staff be made aware of the following : earlier on this afternoon a Parcel containing a doll and organic matter was handed into a Government building Post room. The person handing in the item was described as a Male, approx 60-70 years of age, with White hair and wearing a green coat. The item was declared suspicious and Police … Read more

World Twenty20: Ireland v England

As I mentioned last night, the West Indies rain-assisted win over England provides the slightest glimmer of hope for Ireland to progress to the next stage of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup.  If they can beat England… If the match actually takes place… The rain at Providence, Guyana, has already intervened in the first match of the day.  Which side Duckworth/Lewis will benefit as Ireland take on England is anybody’s guess. Match due to start at 6.30pm.  Ireland win the toss … Read more

Gordon Brown: “You can see the moment his political career leaves his body”

Jon Stewart on why the UK debates don’t matter after the first one… He absolutely hammers UK politics for its triviality… It’s over five minutes, but the end is worth waiting for… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty