Increasing numbers of passengers let the train take the strain … apart from a 10 year decline on the Enterprise

Monday morning’s Belfast Telegraph splashed with the front page story that passengers numbers have fallen by 22% on the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise train over the last decade. The ‘exclusive’ – based on figures in DRD’s Future Railways Investment consultation document [pdf] that was published in January – was picked up by Talkback at lunchtime as well as other news programmes. The actual consultation ended in April, though this isn’t mentioned in the paper! And in some ways, it’s never too late … Read more

Information needs political advocates to make it free…

We hear a lot about the great value of FOI’s. And there have been some great instances it has brought a lot of telling detail to light. But most of the time you really need to know exactly what you are looking for, often right down to the time of day the subject line, etc. More often however just heavy negotiation required to unlock the complex mechanism endows the discovered information with a heightened meaning it may not deserve in … Read more

#PDNI: Consultation in Northern Ireland is too often tokenistic…

listen to ‘Northern Ireland consultations described as tokenistic’ on Audioboo Rhion Jones who spoke at yesterday’s event in Belfast Castle argues a creditation scheme could help focus public consultation away from the tick box exercise it currently is… 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

#PDNI: Consultation in the 21st Century for Northern Ireland and beyond…

Consultation is a bit like sex. If you are not enjoying it, you are probably are doing something wrong. As you will already know from Alan there was a fascinating seminar (that sadly I couldn’t get to) which asks how policy-making might be done in the age of austerity? It hardly bear repeating that the world has changed. The internet from its very earliest days as a home for software building geeks to share ideas and harsh banter, has allowed … Read more

The Scotland Office with some object lessons on how not to do genuine consultations…

The Scottish Referendum consultation – out of practice or out of place? (mp3) Slightly caustic overview of a consultation (rather hastily, it seems) launched from the Scotland Office, from the Consultation Institute… Amongst the hardest hitting criticisms from Rhion Jones are the lack of open questioning, the use of false binaries, and falls short of the UK Government’s own (of which the Scotland Office is an integral part) 12 week recommended period for Consultation (erm, it was one week on … Read more

“more to do with their reluctance to take the hard economic decisions…”

As Andy said in his post yesterday Many people were surprised when Sinn Féin did not take the influential Enterprise, Trade and Investment portfolio after last May’s election, even though it was theirs for the taking. I have heard it said that this absence of interest in the economy is partly due to a lack of confidence in economic matters: although the IRA prisoners who became Sinn Féin leaders were famous for their attention to their studies when they were … Read more

Reminder: BBC Trust consultations into BBC News Channel, BBC Parliament and 5 Live/Sports Extra end soon

BBC Trust logo on wall

Quick reminder that the BBC Trust’s public consultations about BBC News Channel, BBC Parliament, Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra finish in the next few days. BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra – online survey (closes Wed 13 July) BBC News Channel and BBC Parliament – online survey (closes Tue 19 July) Each service provided by the BBC is reviewed at least once every five years. The online surveys will pick up your views on … Read more

Coalition Government: Experts in pseudo-consultation and historic U-turns

There are two types of Government consultation. There is the kind of consultation that provides people with a background on a specific issue, enables people to respond to Option A, B, C, etc, so that the general public respond accordingly with A, B, or C or with perhaps some written submission, and then the Government responds accordingly. The other sort of consultation is the one in which a general briefing is provided by Department X within a narrow perspective, which … Read more

BBC Trust is looking for your views on BBC News Channel, BBC Parliament and 5 Live/Sports Extra

BBC Trust logo

Slugger readers will be delighted to know that the BBC Trust is currently reviewing the service licences for BBC News Channel, BBC Parliament, Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra. Each service provided by the BBC is reviewed at least once every five years. You have until mid-July to provide your feedback. BBC News Channel and BBC Parliament – online survey BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra – online survey The online surveys will pick up … Read more

“We all want to see full transparency in politics…”

Northern Ireland Minister of State, Hugo Swire MP, has launched a public consultation [pdf file] on the confidentiality arrangements that apply to donations and loans to Northern Ireland political parties.  The closing date for the consultation is 25 October 2010.  From the NIO press release The Minister said: “We all want to see full transparency in politics and on the funding of political parties in particular. “But I accept there have been real concerns in Northern Ireland about intimidation which has made … Read more

You’ve gotta fight for the right

As previously noted (SF and DUP seek to restrict right of Public Assembly) proposed legislation (not approved by Justice Minister) could seriously undermine the right to Public Assembly. This theme has been picked from two very different angles. The News Letter reports, Rev Brian McClung, minister of Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church has serious concerns on the impact to open air religious meetings: Freedom of peaceful assembly, which our forefathers fought and died for, instead of being a fundamental right will now become … Read more