Posts tagged ‘politics’

Global votes, local perspectives

carte des démocraties soi-disants
Image via Wikipedia

The great thing about being a bit of a political junkie is there is always an election going on somewhere. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia there are 123 democracies in the world. They may not all be perfectly formed, but as Churchill said…

Happily we have people on the ground in an increasing number of them. In an effort to harness this network in one place our Public Affairs website has now grown to include “Global Vote”. It seeks to list forthcoming elections, provide some key background and most importantly some local insight from our people on the ground. Currently, we’ve contributions on everywhere from Germany, Czech republic and Portugal to the Virginian governor’s race.

It’s still developing, but is worth a look even at this infant stage. Comments on how it could grow are most welcome on this blog.

James

P.S. A blog post is somewhat overdue on how to keep a blog going in the summer period when two thirds of the office is not in the office and the other third is experiencing one of the busiest Augusts in living memory. Who says Brussels shuts in August. Apologies for those readers who await our every meandering with baited breath.

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September 10, 2009 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

Do MEPs tweet, blog and Facebook? We find out.

  * Description: Strasbourg, European par...
Image via Wikipedia

Today we launch the results of our European Parliament Digital Trends Survey – www.epdigitaltrends.eu It examines how Members of the European Parliament are using the internet to communicate with their voters as well as how the same MEPs use the internet to inform their daily legislative work. As such, we hope that the results are interesting both for MEPs and for Brussels public affairs practitioners.

In summary MEPs are using the internet to communicate to voters but are not yet for the most part using all the tools available. No doubt MEPs have come a long way since the last elections, but there is still a road to travel.

For public affairs practitioners we believe that our results support the view we espoused when we started this blog 2 years ago. Like all of us MEPs are going online for information to inform their decisions. To be effective, our public affairs strategies need to integrate digital communications into their toolbox of tactics. Digital can not replace traditional tools such as contact programmes and media relations it complements them, rendering our activities more effective.

On the microsite  www.epdigitaltrends.eu you will find the following:

  • Our main results with supporting statistics
  • An e-brochure
  • A full report
  • A library of downloads, including graphs and the raw data for you to make your own analysis and graphs
  • Commentary from MEPs
  • An opportunity for you to post your own thoughts
  • The charities we supported in conducting the research
  • The methodology we used – sample size etc.

In the coming days we shall be taking time to reflect on what the different parts of our results mean for public affairs practitioners in Brussels on this blog.

Thanks to all MEPs who participated and to the hardworking FH team who made it all possible (everyone in the office played some role but in particular I’d like to thank Mike, Reg, Veronique, Liliana, Julie, Carey, Aurelie, Tim, Michele, Jay, Clara and Rosie)

We look forward to your reactions to the results on the microsite and to having a debate on this blog about what our survey says about digital public affairs.

James

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May 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm 2 comments

Which MEPs are Twittering? I know a few…

Following on from our digital audit of MEPS last year, we now want to know which MEPs have caught the Twitter bug…

These are just a few we’ve found so far:

  1. Graham Watson
  2. Matthias Groote
  3. Katrin Saks
  4. Benoit Hamon
  5. Eoin Ryan
  6. Neena Gill
  7. Arlene McCarthy
  8. Peter Skinner
  9. Jim Nicholson
  10. Mary Honeyball
  11. Andrew Duff
  12. Daniel Caspary
  13. Jules Maaten
  14. Jeanine Hennis
  15. Sophie in ‘t Veld
  16. Daniel Cohn-Bendit
  17. Åsa Westlund
  18. Anna Hedh
  19. Kathalijne Buitenweg
  20. Helga Truepel
  21. Colm Burke
  22. Joost Lagendijk
  23. Gunnar Hökmark
  24. Dagmar Roth-Behrendt
  25. Alexander Alvaro
  26. Jorgo Chatzimarkakis
  27. Richard Corbett
  28. Ed McMillan-Scott
  29. Rodi Kratsa
  30. Vincent Peillon
  31. Urszula Gacek
  32. Jean luc Bennahmias
  33. Catherine Trautmann
  34. Bernadette Vergnaud

If you have come across any, please let us know. We shall update this list as we get new names.

Rosie

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P.S. As we mentioned in a previous post, the utility of Twitter is still not clear to us. We do find Daily Show host John Stewart’s opinion about Twitter quite humorous: “They’re struggling because they confused new with good.”

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March 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm 12 comments

Interactive Medvedev

I’ve just watched President Medvedev’s first podcast. A picture speaks a thousand words and here’s a man who wants to demonstrate his importance. He has three computer screens, two mice (one for each hand?!) and more phones than I could count. Disappointingly there was no sign of the red telephone

Medvedev follows other leaders in bypassing mainstream media to talk directly to the nation and show their more cuddly side. Britain’s politicians have been running neck and neck in who’s more interactive. Tony Blair became the first PM to produce a podcast which he made with comedian Eddy Izzard and David Cameron, the leader of the UK Conservatives, grabbed attention with his webcameron in 2006.

Britain’s royals, could perhaps be credited with starting this tradition thanks to their annual King or Queen’s speech which has become a much commented-on institution.

Good luck to President Medvedev, in future posts and in answering all those phones whilst keeping an eye on three screens and navigating his two mice…

Tim

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October 8, 2008 at 5:03 pm 1 comment

Obama and the iPhone

Image representing IPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

There is little doubt that if queues to vote for the Democrats on November 4 are comparable to queues on the release of the iPhone, then Obama will be a happy man.  Last week Obama’s team announced that the link between Obama and the iPhone ran deeper, with the creation of an application for the iPhone which encourages friends and families to vote.

The imaginatively-named ‘Obama 08 Phone App’ has a ‘Call Friends’ option that prioritizes contacts by key battleground states and asks users to call their friends in those states to vote for Obama. The software also enables users to receive updates about the campaign and set reminders to call friends on Election Day. Chris Hughes, the director of online organizing for the Obama campaign explained, “A contact has a lot more value when it is from someone you know than when it is from some random person,” said Chris Hughes, the director of online organizing for the Obama campaign.

Amid such talk, it is easy to forget that the subject of the conversation is political campaigning. Indeed, categories such as “Not Interested,” “Considering Obama” and “Already Voted,” are more suggestive of an online dating tool. Herein lies the ingenuity of ‘Obama 08 Phone App’: the obvious question as to why friends would want to sort their contacts into anything other than alphabetical lists is lost in the originality of the application.  The software plugs into the millions of American iPhone lovers and Obama supporters in the hope that the passion for the former might be mirrored in support for latter on November 4.

Obama’s use of digital tools provides interesting insight into political campaigning in the 21st Century. His website has links to no less than 16 social networking tools, as well as the now almost standard TV channel. Whilst not all of the platforms are likely to appeal to the European voter (indeed British iPhone lovers are unlikely to fall for a ‘Brown 08 Phone App’), the US election does offer innovative ideas for politicians on this side of the Atlantic.

Hatty

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October 7, 2008 at 12:25 pm 1 comment

Politicians lie: it’s a fact

The wind blows, it rains in Brussels and politicians lie.  These are facts. While we remain powerless to do much about the first two, a US website has launched an attack on lying politicians. The St Petersburg Times of Florida and Congressional Quarterly of Washington, DC – two of America’s most trusted, independent newsrooms – created www.politifact.com, a fact-checking website that helps voters separate fact from fiction in the claims made during the 2008 presidential campaign. The PolitiFact team checks the accuracy of speeches, TV ads, interviews and other candidate claims and communications, rating them on the ‘truth-o-meter.’ In the event that a politician should, shock-horror, make a u-turn on a particular policy, there is the ‘flip-o-meter,’ with increasing degrees of flipping leading to a ‘full-flop.’ A page dedicated to the candidates collates the data, showing the degree of truthfulness of the individual candidates.

Currently, Obama seems to be running away from McCain in the honesty rankings, with most of Obama’s statements underpinned by some grain of truth and only once were his ‘pants on fire.’ McCain, meanwhile, must be running out of pants to wear, with six fires to his pants and a roughly equal number of true and false statements.

www.politifact.com is an interesting addition to the cynical world of politics. Bringing political statements under scrutiny could not only increase public confidence but also make politicians more aware of the need for consistency and truthfulness. Lying politicians might be a fact, but it is certainly not a fact that we should accept as readily as the weather.

Hatty

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October 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm 1 comment

Let them eat cake!

Given that the roof fell in on the Strasbourg Parliament building over the summer, MEPs supporting the one seat campaign have staged an event in the European Parliament to protest about the fact that they have to trek down to Strasbourg where they all don hard hats (see video above). Laughing at how they look aside, we have a feeling that despite the continued protest the French will be quite prepared to let them continue to eat cake.

James

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September 25, 2008 at 3:21 pm 2 comments

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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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