Open Unionism


A forum to discuss new ideas and perspectives on Unionism…

Keeping voters onside online…

The article below was published in today’s News Letter ‘Political Review 2010’. Check out the print version – it’s amid an eight-page supplement with contributions from Liam Clarke, Graham Gudgin, Alex Kane and Malachi O’Doherty.

Online has superseded mainstream media as the place where politics happens. The liveliest, most insightful exchanges of views and information on politics are taking place online and within social media platforms. (Yes, I know this is print media but keep reading anyway.)

I’m obsessed with social media. Increasingly, political parties here are becoming obsessed by it too.

May’s UK general election was hyped as the first online election. But it didn’t work out that way. Nothing has emerged which can yet emulate the influence of in the States. Nevertheless, online communications has evolved steadily here. Lots of our reps are getting pretty good at it.

The election in Northern Ireland dragged lots of candidates online. Yes, seasoned bloggers like David Vance and old media veteran Mike Nesbitt really knew how to exploit the medium. But there were some accomplished newbies. For example, this was the election that saw the emergence of and his twitterstream.

William Ross does not fit the identikit of new media communicator. But with a little help, he did a good job. And that is the point. Social media platforms have an aura of complexity when in fact clever techies have built them for amateurs like you and me.

Even so, some people just don’t get it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Filed under: political innovation, ,

Open Unionism presentation from #picamp

Below is the presentation I gave at last weekend’s Political Innovation event. I thought it would be good to post it up here to give a flavour of how that discussion was led.

The basic premise was this – how can you generate, develop and transmit ideas from grassroots Unionism? can this blog become a more active facilitator? if so, how?

Gladys has a great round up of the seminar and asks some pertinent questions, chief among those is: how can Unionism move beyond traditional politics and broaden its vision? I hope commenters / contributors to this blog can help to address this.

More will follow on this… but in the first instance I’d be interested in any initial reactions to the presentation content? (I kept it blank and refused the temptation to clip art the whole thing and slap in some 3-D Venn diagrams. Eye candy it ain’t.) Leave comments below or email me directly about through the blog.

PS. Many thanks to Mick Fealty and Paul Evans for organising a great event and for giving me the opportunity to pitch! Incidentally, do submit any follow-up thoughts you may have on Saturday’s Picamp via this link.

PPS. Thanks to NICVA for being such great hosts… and for introducing me to the work of Dirty Stevie.

Filed under: political innovation, ,

Political Innovation event…

Open Unionism is going to be at the Political Innovation meet up tomorrow at NICVA. Ticket booking & event details are here.

Here’s our idea pitch:

Open Unionism was created to be a forum to get unionists talking and to promote their ideas. But how can the blog stop being a publisher (of comment) and start to become an active player? There is a gap for unionist think tank that can agenda set via grassroots engagement. Can a blog fill that gap, and if so how?

But we need votes to bump us up the agenda. Please click here and vote for us. If you can, come along on Saturday and contribute!

Filed under: political innovation

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