No minister at Stormont’s ‘Openness and Transparency from the Executive’ debate

The Assembly motion on Openness and Transparency from the Executive finished about a hour ago, and featured. Not one currently serving Minister was in attendance. That’s little short of contempt. Current debate at Stormont Openness and Transparency from the Executive has precisely ZERO @NIExecutive Ministers in attendance. pic.twitter.com/RyrNqqVCVw — Mick Fealty (@mickfealty) October 4, 2016 A point reiterated by all parties in the (actual) Opposition. The ‘government’ distinguished only by its absence… Now just three MLAs from SF sitting in on the … Read more

We need a national conversation

A deep and wide process of engagement with citizens to co-create a future vision for N(n)orthern Ireland could help jolt our peace process and our politicians out of the stalemate we find ourselves in.   I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in a few far-flung places, including Pakistan, DRC and Rwanda – each of which have longstanding conflicts, many strongly driven by an inability to peacefully resolve issues over tribal, ethnic or religious identity. One thing that’s undeniably … Read more

Friday Thread: Are we really just selfish, stupid and lazy? Or…

Thinking a little further on the Open Government theme, here’s a thought for a Friday afternoon from Dave Meslin’s The Antidote to Apathy TedX Presentation: I propose to you today that apathy is we think we know it doesn’t actually exist. Rather the people do care but we live in a world that actively discourages engagement: consciously putting obstacles and barriers in our way. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics … Read more

Open Government: In what practical ways can citizens increase their engagement?

How to make Open Government practical or realistic possibility? As Matilda has pointed out there’s no pro forma method for going forward. In some countries it’s felt that it’s better if citizen start things, because few trust the government, and in other places, vice versa. In research into priorities amongst #OpenGovNI network members participation comes out as the top priority followed closely by knowledge, and vision and openness and data. In practical terms though, the question ahead of the network will … Read more

Late DigitalLunch: What would OpenGovernment in Northern Ireland look like?

A date for your diary.  On Wednesday 14th January we’re hosting what we hope will be a vigorous and enlightening online discussion on some of the newly launched Northern Ireland Open Government Network. We’ll also be joined by Peter Osborne and, I hope, other members of the independent #OpenGov Network. Guest speakers will include John Barry of Queens University Belfast, Tim Hughes of Involve, and Matilda Murday of Democratic Society, each of whom will make very short presentations on what can be done … Read more

On Open Government: “Everything good proceeds from enthusiasm…”

Brian Eno in interview. However cynical views of the increasingly visible shortcomings of our democratic systems, people remain passionate as ever about the ‘wetware’ of politics itself, even if the democratic institutions struggle to retain a respectful place in their public affections. And we are not just talking about Stormont. Steven McCaffrey’s profile of the launch of the Open Government Network takes a realistic view of prospective of Stormont opening up to its citizens in a meaningful way. He cites their … Read more

#OpenGovNI: Why a loose, distributed and eclectic network is vital… [updated with audio and video]

A key irony noted by Tim Hughes of Involve is that conversations about Open Government can very quickly become wonky and technical, and as a consequence begin to close out the ordinary citizen with techno jargon and insider speak. Wednesday’s launch of the Open Government Network Northern Ireland at Malone House in Belfast was moderately successful in broadening their catch beyond ‘the usual suspects’. [Listen back to the speeches and watch the keynotes.] Keynote speaker was Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton admitted there has been a … Read more