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11.5% of MEPs are bloggers

Some of our regular readers may have remembered that in a recent post, we mentioned that we were undertaking a digital audit of MEPs.  The poor FH souls whose job it was audit all 785 MEPs will go down in history for their services to digital (thanks Jez, Ed, and Karen!).

Anyway we have looked at every MEP to see how they are doing on websites, blogs, facebook wikipedia and so forth. This post will look at the intrepid MEP bloggers. And here they are the key stats:
  • 82 89 90 MEPs have blogs, which equates to just over 10% 11% of all MEPs. A full list with hyperlinks is at the bottom of this post.
  • France and UK currently have the most MEP bloggers (11), with Spain a close second (10). Germany and new kids on the block Romania follow with 7 8 bloggers each. Surprisingly Italy, a supposedly blogging friendly country, has only 2 MEP bloggers and is easily outstripped by Poland who has 6.
  • In terms of groups the socialists are the clear winners with 34 36 37 MEP bloggers and are some way ahead of the EPP who have just 19 20. Meanwhile the Greens, 10 MEP bloggers, are just behind ALDE who have 11 MEP bloggers.

Anyway, for the record, these are the MEP bloggers we’ve found (and been told about!) with hyperlinks to their blogs – if you think we missed any, do let us know:

Adina VALEAN

Alain LIPIETZ

Antonio MASIP HIDALGO

Åsa WESTLUND

Astrid LULLING

Benoît HAMON

Bernard POIGNANT

Bill NEWTON DUNN

Boguslaw ROGALSKI

Boguslaw Andrzej SONIK

Carl SCHLYTER

Caroline LUCAS

Cătălin-Ioan NECHIFOR

Christels SCHALDEMOSE

Corina CREŢU

Dan JØRGENSEN

Daniel HANNAN

Daniel Marc COHN-BENDIT

Daciana SARBU

David HAMMERSTEIN MINTZ

Dumitru OPREA

Erika MANN

Esther de LANGE

Francisca PLEGUEZUELOS AGUILAR

Gabriela CREŢU,

Graham R. WATSON

Gunnar HÖKMARK

Hanne DAHL

Herbert BÖSCH

Ieke van den BURG

Ivo BELET

Jacques TOUBON

Jan WIERSMA

Jana HYBÁŠKOVÁ

Janusz Czeslaw WOJCIECHOWSKI

Jaromír KOHLÍCEK

Jean-Luc BENNAHMIAS

Jean-Marie LE PEN

Joan CALABUIG RULL

Joel HASSE FERREIRA

Johannes LEBECH

Johannes SWOBODA

Jorgo CHATZIMARKAKIS

Joseph MUSCAT

Józef PINIOR

Jules MAATEN

Justas Vincas PALECKIS

Karin RESETARITS

Katalin LÉVAI

Kathalijne Maria BUITENWEG

Katrin SAKS

Laima ANDRIKIENE

Luca ROMAGNOLI

Luis Francisco HERRERO-TEJEDOR

Magor Imre CSIBI

Manuel MEDINA ORTEGA

Marek Maciej SIWIEC

Maria BADIA CUTCHET

Marie-Hélène AUBERT

Marielle DE SARNEZ

Marie-Noëlle LIENEMANN

Mary HONEYBALL

Matthias GROOTE

Miguel PORTAS

Mihaela POPA

Monika BENOVÁ

Ole CHRISTENSEN

Petya STAVREVA

Philip CLAEYS

Philippe de VILLIERS

Pia Elda LOCATELLI

Piia-Noora KAUPPI

Poul Nyrup RASMUSSEN

Raimon OBIOLS i GERMÀ

Raül ROMEVA RUEDA

Rebecca HARMS

Richard CORBETT

Richard James ASHWORTH

Robert ATKINS

Roger HELMER

Ryszard CZARNECKI

Saïd EL KHADRAOUI

Sharon BOWLES

Silvana KOCH-MEHRIN

Stéphane LE FOLL

Syed KAMALL

Thijs BERMAN

Willy MEYER PLEITE

Zsolt László BECSEY

Zuzana ROITHOVÁ

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

August 8, 2008 at 3:22 pm 22 comments

Harvard Political Review and Politics 2.0

Good to see the Harvard Political Review’s online edition turning its attention to the impact of digital on politics.

Interesting point raised in the article – does the use of digital in campaigning encourage undue focus on senstionalist and controversial issues (i.e. misspeaking Clintons, Obama’s pastor etc) at the expense of discussion about substantive policy issues?

August 6, 2008 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

User-generated political parties

Nice development for digital politics in the “ooh-arrghh” west of England. A new political party, the Social Liberalists,  was officially registered by the Electoral Commission end July.

It’s been created by 18 year old Ben Lewis and some of his school mates, as reported in the renowned Western Morning News of Plymouth.

Interesting to see how instrumental digital has been in the formation of the party. According to the founder, the ideas for policies and manifestos only came about because he and his friends had been listening and debating for quite a while on online forums and on websites.

Aside from the ongoing use of internet voting in elections, I wonder if the shaping of future party manifestos and ongoing govenrment policies could indeed use digital to canvass public opinion a little more. This would allow for a more bottom up approach to political priorities.

An example: it was recently announced in the UK that knife crime has overtaken terrorism as the No 1 priority for the Metropolitan Police. Couldn’t we easily use use a facebook poll to let the public decide this sort of thing.

Depends if you’re a pluralist or elitist I guess…

August 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

Website in “average shape” as France takes over

Today is significant. Firstly, it’s 30 degree sunshine in Brussels, and secondly it’s the first day of the French Presidency of the EU. Bonjour.

As a shameful Anglophone, I’ll be dusting down the pocket dictionary, practicing my rolled Rs, and getting ready for six months of unmitigated Frenchness. And hurrah for it, as an initial look at the French Presidency’s website reveals our “citizen-orientated” Presidency is taking its digital communications seriously.

So often EU presidency websites have been about as exciting as the Solvency II proposal (apologies to our Financial Services team, who are all very special). However, it looks like Sarko and co have decided to raise the bar. Here’s how:

PFUE TV: the inspirationally-named PFUE TV (there was apparently a huge debate about whether or not to include the “P” and the “E” :)) is the most striking addition to the usual presidency stoge. The channel has, at the moment, limited content and is horrendously slow to load – let’s hope that something more dynamic than speeches by Fillon and Kouchner will be added over the next six months (more Carla Bruni please!).

EVENTS MAP: the French events map is a cool idea and uses Google Earth to identify events taking place in France over the next six months. Nice thinking.

CALENDAR TEST: As a public affairs professional it tends to drive me insane when I cannot easily access Council meeting documents. So I’m going to try it now…and I’ve failed; well I tried to get info on the ECOFIN Council next week, and there’s no agenda there yet. I guess it is still early so the jury’s out on that one.

WEATHER: I’ve noticed other Presidency sites have done this, but who in their right mind goes to an EU Presidency website to check the weather. I’d say that there’s a huge cloud gathering over Lisbon following the recent storm in Ireland…(oh dear)

Other thoughts on the French Presidency from our colleagues in Paris are more than welcome…

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July 1, 2008 at 6:15 pm 1 comment

An EU apprentice to a US master?

Barack Obama has been recently dubbed in the press as the “Master of Facebook Politics” (see this great NY Times article entitled The Wiki-Way to the Nomination).

This is old news to anyone with even a vague interest in digital public affairs, but now it seems that the mainstream press are waking up to Obama’s pioneering use of social networks in his campaign, especially when it comes to raising money.

Clearly, he was more effective as this than the cash-strapped Clintons. So much so, that many are saying that Obama was effectively elected by the internet.

With this in mind and looking ahead to the Presidentials, it is worth noting that Obama has 953,000 Facebook backers to McCain’s 142,000, according to www.techPresident.com.

With European elections looming, I wonder if any “pennies will be dropping” with some of our more reserved MEPs. Reading the recent Times and Telegraph articles about Obama’s digital success must surely wake a few of them up.

We estimate that at the moment about 2-3% of MEPs have their own Facebook groups (some of our rather unfortunate junior FH colleagues are currently undertaking a rather arduous digital audit of our 780 or so friends on Rue Wiertz). When we get around to it, we’ll post the full results on this site.

Anyway, some notable MEP facebook groupies currently include: Michel Rocard, Ashley Mote, and both Jean Marie and Marine Le Pen. However, I suspect the number of MEPs using such social networking tools will rocket as soon as they realise the financial implications for their upcoming campaigns.

June 12, 2008 at 12:33 pm 4 comments

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me blog.

We recently read on BadScience about the Dore miracle cure for dyslexia, a £2000 treatment which has been associated with NASA space technology (denied) and a research study that ended with the resignation of five members of the editorial board of the journal Dyslexia. Additionally both academics who have spoken out against the treatment and patients who merely said it didn’t work for them have been threatened with libel action.

However, the rights and wrongs of this situation are not the point of this blog posting, but rather the way in which traditional media have blindly supported the cure as a miracle treatment whilst ignoring any evidence to the contrary. The blogging community on the other hand have covered the other side of the coin and analysed the situation using science over ratings.

Proper representation of scientific fact is one of the challenges we often find ourselves faced with in public affairs. Blogs and social media may be the answer to having our clients messages communicated, objectively and supported by factual evidence over sensationalisation.

Despite the amateur nature and lack of control on blog reporting, the blogosphere often proves to be more reliable in many ways. Blog authors have no higher authority telling them what (or what not) to write and many of them have the insight which no journalist could have – some of the bloggers who revealed the Dore case were not only Phd researchers but also had personal experience with dyslexia and autism. Put in contrast, the mainstream media may be trained journalists, but often have no scientific background, and work towards viewing and sales figures.

Hats off to Ben Goldacre of BadScience for highlighting this victory of the blogosphere, and to the science bloggers out there pursuing the truth, based on hard science.

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June 5, 2008 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

Just another social networking site?

A new social networking site has just hit the digital shelves, but rather than existing solely to aid procrastination, this one appears to have a point to it.

myparl.eu is a political forum and social networking tool for parliamentarians in Europe, including both MEPs and MPs of the member states. On top of allowing European politicians to poke each other and update their relationship status, the site aims to encourage networking between various levels of political strata in Europe and foster debate about legislation at the national and European level.

Topics of any kind can be discussed, but debate will be encouraged on three themes in particular: the Future of Europe, Energy and Climate Change and Intercultural Dialogue. It seems myparl.eu have also managed to get their hands on some interesting coordinators for these forums including: Stanley Crossick, founder of the European Policy Centre, ex-EP Vice President Elly Plooij and David Kral, founder of Prague think-tank Europeum.

The site is for parliamentarians, by parliamentarians and although plenty of MEPs are already digitally inclined, this may entice those at the back of the pack to enter the age of politics 2.0. The project also appears to be a renewed attempt at involving member state parliamentarians in European affairs, with a view to addressing the democratic deficit through networking and open debate. 

The project is being sponsored by the European Commission, and is due to be officially launched in October this year.

June 3, 2008 at 11:38 am 2 comments

A whistle too far

The EU’s most prominent whistleblower – Dutch MEP Paul van Buitenen – was in the news again this week after he gave the EU’s anti-fraud office (Olaf) the names of two MEPs he believes have been involved in expenses fraud.

Van Buitenen says one of the two is a former MEP, while the other is still serving. To be honest I’m not sure this is a revelation to anyone and no way as dramatic as van Buitenen’s previous whistle blowing efforts (check out his Wikipedia entry which gives a full description). My gut reaction is “only two!!”. Remember those MEPs of the past who have run for EP office simply to benefit from immunity and avoid prosecution back home for various financial misdemeanours. Now doubt we’ll see more of these shady types in next year’s election lists.

But how does such a transparency-obsessed MEP use of digital to communicate his message? A cursory look at his website suggests that he follows his clear mantra of complete openness. Check out his blog which gives a step-by-step update of what he is up to. Moreover, my guess is that he is one of few MEPs to publish complete details of his income online.

But then again could we expect anything less from an MEP who has the following quote by Albert Einstein plastered across his site:

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

April 18, 2008 at 6:30 pm 2 comments

Politicians behaving badly

Shocking behaviour at the weekend as Hello Magazine pin-up Nicholas Sarkozy verbally abused an unfriendly bystander at the Salon International de l’Agriculture. When have French farmers ever deserved such treatment?

Happily, video footage of the incident is all over Youtube. The clip I saw already had over 200,000 hits – see below


A question – is it a good political strategy for politicians to lose their rag on TV? Remember the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Perhaps this is all part of a cunning plan to use the power of digital to boost Sarko’s flagging Carla Bruni-inspired ratings…

Another example: Type former UK Deputy Prime Minister “John Prescott” into Youtube, the first entry you get is the infamous “John Prescott Punch”.

As one Youtube comment put it: “I think there should be more public vs. minister fights. Imagine the TV ratings.”


In fact, the internet is awash with politicians behaving badly – mass Parliamentary brawls being ever popular with Youtubers. Bolivian, Indian, Jordanian and Russian MPs have all taken their differences a bit too far in the past. But absolutely no-one can match the carnage often seen in the Taiwanese Parliament – see this compilation:


Such a crying shame these scenes are never repeated in the EP. The only fun we have is when Berlusconi comes to town.

February 25, 2008 at 10:43 am 1 comment

The inconvenient truth about celebrity eco-activism

Environmental campaigning has changed beyond recognition since the advent of the online world. Never has it been easier or cheaper to knock up a website, start a campaign or create an online environmental community. Slowly but surely, policy-makers have taken note.

And now Hollywood and its celebrity A-list are jumping on the bandwagon. In the wake of the success of Al Gore’s The Inconvenient Truth, the latest addition to the world of celebrity eco-activism is the Leonardo DiCaprio (narrated, produced and written) docu-film, the 11th Hour. The film features interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev, Stephen Hawking, former CIA chief James Woolsey and other scientists and experts on the environment.

(more…)

July 18, 2007 at 9:38 am 1 comment

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A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at www.fleishman-hillard.eu

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