Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Slugger Political Awards Report: Changing not circling the political process

q-banner-sluggerotooleThe Slugger Awards have just taken place in Belfast, described thus

For the last six years, with all its various eyes and ears, Slugger O’Toole has been a particularly avid watcher of the political scene. We have endeavored to pick up and share the best journalism and research and keep a close eye on Northern Ireland’s nascent political process. In our own informal way, we’ve acted more as a critical friend than fawning acolyte or jaded oppositionalist.

At Slugger we think that we have a fantastic opportunity to improve politics in a way that institutional reformers will never be able to. We want to reward better politicians, better politics and better governance. We’d like to reward those that have succeeded in reaching out to the public and involving them more effectively in local governance.

So today, with the support of our launch sponsors, Stratagem NI Ltd, we are announcing The Slugger Awards 2008.

Rather than bloggers patting bloggers on the back, this was an award ceremony where a blog is giving awards to other players in politics for "conversational politics".

The work that Slugger is doing is (as far as I know) unique in this country: a blog having a measure of impact in seeking to strengthen the political process, rather than simply trying to make different things happen using the existing political process. That's what we need for blogs to fulfil their potential.

Slugger Awards Podcast

The Digital Circle podcast from Sims Digital Media reported on the event (and the audio is on my Wardman Wire post).

Other reports of the awards

Who won the Slugger Awards?
(Reformatted from the Awards site).
  • Best MLA: Naomi Long for her speechcraft and fluent (and combative) contributions to Assembly debates. And for getting Alliance noticed!
  • Up and coming politician: Daithi McKay for his work on the Giant’s Causeway controversy (his one of three winners whose award related explicitly to that particular issue).
  • Local Council: Belfast City Council, for scale and profile and running a tidy fiscal ship but also for its leadership role in the Open Cities initiative.
  • Local Councillor: Deirdre Nelson, one of a new generation of outward looking local councillors.
  • Journalism: David Gordon by proving that not everyone in the world of mainstream media has succumbed to ‘Churnalism’.
  • Best blogger: Mr Nevin Taggart, who by diligence and close attention to local affairs proves that you don’t have to be big to be clever.
  • Assembly Committee Chair: Danny Kennedy.
  • Local Newspaper: Impartial Reporter (Fermanagh) has stuck to its last and consistently brings real news and strong analysis to its local readership.
  • Representatives external to Northern Ireland: Peter Robinson for marshalling his disparate band of troops and leaving Westminster a calling card that he’s now the man back in town.
  • Jobsworth Award: Assembly Commission.
Wrapping Up

In my view this is an example for the other countries in the UK. The interesting question is this:

How long will it be before any "mainland" blogs are taken sufficiently seriously to be able to mount such a set of awards in London, Cardiff or Edinburgh (or - I suppose - in Brussels)?

I don't think I have seen any reporting of the Awards in the British press or on British blogs. That is a pity - NI is streets ahead of any other part of the UK in this respect, helped by the fact that politicians in Northern Ireland perhaps haven't realised yet that they are supposed to be an Elite living in a bubble. Long may this ignorance continue.

[Update: formatting tidied.]


Dewi Harries 16 October 2008 at 16:35  

a wonderful site Slugger - if anything a bit difficult to keep up with - 19 threads yesterday all with muliple links and many comments. It's a little addictive....

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