PODCAST: A forgotten liberal hero

In June, Mark Pack addressed the Liberal History Group‘s summer meeting on the topic of Forgotten Heroes for a Governing Party.  Further details of the event can be found here.

And who was Dr Pack’s choice? You will have to listen to find out.

PS don’t check the tags

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PODCAST: How do the government’s political reforms measure up to the Great Reform Act?

Soon after becoming Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg promised “the most significant programmes of reform by a British government since the 19th century…. the biggest shake-up of our democracy since 1832.” But how do the Coalition government’s constitutional changes actually compare to the changes brought in by the Great Reform Bill of 1832?

That question was addressed by a meeting organised by the Liberal Democrat History Group earlier this year, with speakers our own Dr Mark Pack (who studied nineteenth century elections and electoral reform for his PhD) and the History of Parliament Trust’s Dr Philip Salmon. Here now for those who couldn’t make the meeting is a podcast.

You can also read a review of Philip Salmon’s book Electoral Reform at Work: Local Politics and National Parties 1832-1841 here.

PODCAST: Who controls the internet?

Here is a full podcast of our fringe last night, “Who controls the internet?”

Libel law reform campaigner and former MP Evan Harris, website pioneer Mary Reid, James Blessing of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) and Jim Killock of the digital rights champions Open Rights Group debate recent issues about free speech and the internet with chair Mark Pack.

Daily View 2×2: 11 June 2009

Ah, another day, another daily view. Suddenly in the blink of an eye, polling day is a whole week behind us. Lives are being lived, new councillors swearing the oath of office and new groups working out how to work with each other in future.

Two big stories

And unlike m’colleague Alix who could trumpet an end to expenses stories, sadly today they’re back with a vengeance, as the Telegraph digs into Shahid Malik.

But never fear – “the recession has ended” ! The Independent is so confident of its analysis that it feels the need to put the headline in quotes. And the rentaquote business people float the unhappy spectre of a W-shaped recession and a lame duck government.

And try “the recession has ended” for size with the 40,000 graduates the Guardian tells us will be joining the jobless roll. (I don’t mean to be flippant about such a serious topic, but those words do sound like they should be sung to the tune of the Lambeth Walk – “joining the jobless roll, OI!”)

Up to 40,000 of this year’s graduates will still be struggling to find work in six months’ time, according to figures compiled for the Guardian that reveal the scale of the recession’s impact on the class of 2009.

The number of new graduates out of work will double compared with last year if unemployment trends follow those of the last recession, careers experts predict.

This will cause a spike in unemployment figures this summer as graduating students fight for a job, and could help tip the number of under-25s who are unemployed over the 1 million mark

Two must-read blog posts

Costigan Quist finds a more than usually illiterate purveyor of barcharts, and points the finger at the Tories who perpetrated it.

Three bars of equal size. One showing the Tories increasing their number of councillors by 285, the second showing “Greens & Others” increasing by 37 and the third, for no adequately explained reason, lumping together Labour and the Lib Dems and showing their combined loss of two-hundred-and-something seats.

I’m itching to link to Jonathan Calder’s top tip that Viz’s top tips are now available on Twitter – or at least a parody / homage thereof. But that might be a little lightweight for such an early hour in the morning, so I shall instead pick Mark Pack’s top tip – a reason to be on Facebook at 5.01 on Saturday morning. Surprisingly, it’s not to upload the previous night’s drunken karaoke cameraphone vids, but the release of all-important easy-to-remember short URLs.

Influential Lib Dems – and, yes, hashtag taxonomy

I had to wait until today, with the final announcement of the top ten Lib Dems, when it was finally clear I had fallen short of Iain Dale’s top-50 influential Lib Dems – despite having variously worked with or for several of those who are in the list.

And yet my reach and my influence is significant. Last Friday, I coined a phrase “hashtag taxonomy” that was resoundly mocked in all sorts of places throughout conference until finally culminating in a name check on Radio 5Live when my new friend and celebrity talking head Helen Duffett managed to crowbar it into a interview on the leader’s speech. And not only did Helen say it, someone actually heard it and twittered about it.

And now I hear the concept will be written up into a paper for an American political science journal by my colleague Dr Mark Pack, so I set to work to think of further poncey phrases that might work in an academic concept, finally coming up with the phrase “cross-media, cross-platform hegemony.” I have thought a little further on that and think now I may have confused my hegemonies with my synergies, so what we really need is cross-media, cross-platform synergy. I have been clear throughout, however, that it is most useful to refer to taxonomy in the singular. Taxonomies threatens getting singularly postmodern.

But I fear all our hashtags and taxonomies and synergies are obscuring how useful this thing that Dr Pack stumbled on last week could actually be. Basically, @partyConference (and I don’t know who they are) suggested a standard style of tag, starting with the # character, for all the party conferences. If you tag a text message with the hashtag, or tweme, ‘#libdem08’ it will automatically appear this page on the website twemes.com

To the best of my knowledge, no-one did anything to create that page – unless it was put there by @partyconference themselves. Or did the website just notice that lots of people were suddenly saying #libdem08 and bring a lot of them together in one place? (Interestingly, at the moment, there doesn’t appear to be a #lab08 page – if you try twemes.com/lab08 all you see is a message tagged #boring…)

But hold on a second minute. It’s not just the twitter messages that can be made to appear on that wee page. Items posted to del.icio.us do as well, as do photos on flickr. This is when we get to the cross-media, cross-platform excitement. Suddenly it’s all very interesting indeed.

You can really see the application of this when a large volume of tech savvy people all go to the same place at the same time. And Lib Dem conference was that place. All I need to do now is convince a few more people apart from me and Will Howells to upload photos, and we will be literally unstoppable.

I can’t wait to see whether the Tories or Labour make owt out of hashtags at their own efforts.

Tweets on 2008-09-16

  • Oh, you are kidding me, how did it get to be 2.30am while I was standing chatting to colleagues? #
  • Tim Farron MP asks if anyone has a bottle opener, so I open his beer with my teeth. #
  • Returning to LDV cupboard after spending hours talking to exhibitors. Voice running out. Shares plumetting. World ending imminently #
  • Asking colleagues to brainstorm vox pop questions. You can play too! #LibDem08 #
  • @markpack great minds… #
  • Memo to senior party talking head – “15 minutes of fame” was Andy Warhol not Woody Allen. #
  • Sitting next to a mother videoconferencing with her kids, which is all enormously sweet. #libdem08 #
  • Trying very hard – and failing – to think of a favourite bus route. http://tinyurl.com/5w7y3y #
  • Watching @markpack ‘s head explode http://tinyurl.com/552knq #
  • Eschewing glee club this year on basis that I already injured my voice in the car last night, just by talking. #

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Tweets on 2008-09-15

  • Watching someone cycle over big letters on road saying “no cycling” #
  • @Toranika Join the liveblog of Make it Happen on http://www.libdemvoice.org #LibDem08 #
  • Googling “pachyderm” repeatedly and not getting the desired result. #
  • Criticising Iain Dale’s hashtag taxonomy. Or <em>lack of it</em> #
  • @markpack not while they’re still taking impressions of fluffy feet as a visa entry requirement #
  • @markpack the person sitting to my right #
  • @markpack I don’t know – why *are* hard-boiled eggs often more useful than sledgehammers in the educational process? #
  • @markpack Microphone works better than speaker realises – common problem: http://tinyurl.com/5cefdm #
  • @iaindale It’s the very model of a modern Zoom H2: http://tinyurl.com/69cp6n #
  • Needlessly retyping Amendment One while someone effortlessly finds it on the internet. Don’t like phrase “after ‘struggling’, insert” #
  • Moving to hall after watching debate onscreen. Room packed. Extra seats opened. Many standing. #
  • Eep. Tax-cuts ho! #LibDem08 #
  • Steve Webb “Chris Davies MEP – a household name (in Liberal Democrat households)” #LibDem08 #
  • Googling Pachyderm still not working, although there is now an advert for Elephant Car insurance which is quite funny. #
  • @GavinWhenman I’m stuck doing a computery job that will finish imminently, at which point I’m a 15 min walk away… but deff headed there #
  • V pretty moonlight on sea. #
  • Can anyone review the Revue for LDV? #LibDem08 #
  • Ouch – not sure they should let him sing in public at the revue #libdem08 #

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