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UK prime minister's e-petitions

Posted on Thu, Nov 23, 2006 at 3:57 PM by Andrew Chadwick

The UK prime minister's site now features an e-petitions section. Use has increased in a very short time. The main problem is that there are no deliberative elements - no forums, no blogs. Just individualised, push-button e-democracy of the 'consultative' kind discussed in Chapter 5. Seems ironic, given that Matthew Taylor, the outgoing chief advisor to Blair, recently criticised the Internet for fostering this style of politics. Still, it is significant. See a lively thread on the Association of Internet Researchers email list and commentary in The Times by Peter Riddell.

Update: Thanks to Steven Clift for posting a link to the ongoing debates at DOwire.org in a Comment.

Edited on: Thu, Dec 07, 2006 4:01 PM


Posted on Fri, Nov 10, 2006 at 7:22 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Looks very promising.

Democrats take House and Senate - netroots wins?

Posted on Fri, Nov 10, 2006 at 9:42 AM by Andrew Chadwick

The US mid-terms are over. The House and Senate have gone to the Democrats. Does this signal the ascendancy of the Democrats' netroots campaign style and the eclipse of the GOP's voter vault strategy? As usual, even the impressionistic evidence is contradictory. Lieberman actually won as an 'Independent', beating 'Net' Lamont. I'm not sure that's a good test for the hypothesis though, given that it was one Democrat against another. Virginia went blue, and that was partly based on the media's framing of incumbent George Allen's racist slur following a posting on YouTube of his 'macaca' remarks. But this was about the mainstream media picking up a story rather than just being about the viral nature of the net. An excellent first take by Nick Anstead.

In the wider campaign, I am amazed that a report from the early summer said that 'only 23 percent of Senate candidates were blogging'. Amazed, that is, that the number is so high. From a base of what at the 2004 Senate elections? Less than 5 percent probably. It's also probably too low due to the fact that it was six months before the elections. Thanks to Wainer Lusoli for digging that one out.

A round-up of stories (will be added to):

  • Howard Dean, described by the Guardian as "one of the engineers of this week's Democratic victory in the US midterm elections", is to advise the British Labour Party on campaigning strategy for the Spring local elections.
  • Pre-poll story from Joshua Holland dwelling on the importance of netroots networks: "Doing so is easier than ever because of the emergence of a nascent but growing liberal infrastructure organized via the internet -- the "netroots," ActBlue, MediaMatters, MoveOn, Progressive Majority, Drinking Liberally and a long list of others are all starting -- starting -- to have a real impact by giving average people the tools they need to share ideas, pool resources and influence the media's narratives. Each cycle they've grown a little bit in sophistication, and each cycle they've had just a little bit more influence than they did in the previous one."
  • Ari Melber article from The Nation reprinted at the CBS News site, sceptical of netroots, but with several critical comments.
  • Joe Conason at Salon on the contribution of Dean's strategy to build the Democrats' netroots in every state.
  • Aggregated table of the 'netroots' candidates at John Kerry's blog.
  • Response from George Osborne of the UK Conservatives.
  • A different take by Matthew Taylor, Blair's outgoing chief adviser on political strategy.
Edited on: Sat, Nov 18, 2006 7:41 PM

UK Information Commissioner's surveillance report

Posted on Sat, Nov 04, 2006 at 10:44 AM by Andrew Chadwick

A major new study of the impact of electronic surveillance (pdf), issued by the UK Information Commissioner but authored by a team of surveillance scholars.

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