Fifteen years after its invention, the medium with ‘higher cognitive bandwidth’ is falling prey to corporate interests
I’ve just been listening to what I think of as the first real podcast. The speaker is Dave Winer, the software genius whom I wrote about in October. He pioneered blogging and played a key role in the evolution of the RSS site-syndication technology that enabled users and applications to access updates to websites in a standardised, computer-readable format.
And the date of this podcast? 11 June, 2004 – 15 years ago; which rather puts into context the contemporary excitement about this supposedly new medium that is now – if you believe the hype – taking the world by storm. With digital technology it always pays to remember that it’s older than you think.
Podcasting can often convey more intellectually challenging ideas and content than broadcasting
On page 48 of the Conservative manifesto for the general election, “Get Brexit Done Unleashing Britain’s Potential”, there are the following seemingly fair-sounding and innocuous words: “After Brexit we also need to look at the broader aspects of our constitution: the relationship between th
Here’s the established wisdom on Labour’s Brexit traumas.
The prime minister’s reputation sank to new lows this week, despite – or because of – his dad’s attempts to help
Boris Johnson’s big contribution to reducing plastic consumption is not wearing condoms. Or as Gavin Williamson put it this morning: “Boris Johnson has done more for the environment than any other politician.” Quite. We don’t need a joined-up strategy to prevent climate catastrophe with the largest and most successful trading bloc the world has ever seen, because Johnson’s going to spaff our way to the higher ground, while we serve as galley slaves on his privatised sex ark.
Maybe I’m being a shade unfair. So let me say that this election marks a change of behaviour for the prime minister, who has finally started withdrawing. Unfortunately, he’s pulling out of climate debates and BBC interviews, as opposed to single mothers. Still, baby steps. And he’s certainly missed a few of those.
Related: Tories threaten Channel 4 after ice sculpture takes PM’s place in debate
It’s the same as if every scientist agreed all the country’s planes, cars, buses, boats and seaside donkeys were on fire. You wouldn’t expect the transport secretary to interrupt his busy schedule to worry about that
Read in the Independent
Lib Dem leader lacks the killer instinct to ask him the question everyone really wants to know
The dead cat. Once, a sadness only for its owner, and the various female cats it had impregnated then left to deal with its offspring while it slunk off to do it again. But now, the “dead cat” is the go-to political buzzphrase of every armchair campaign strategist, who can’t wait to tell anyone paying attention to almost any part of this election that they should in fact be paying attention to something completely different. They’ve missed the 4D chess. They’ve fallen for a classic piece of misdirection. Remember: it’s never a cock-up; it’s always a conspiracy. Previously a fairly precise term of political arcana – it was a Lynton Crosby fave – the dead cat’s most enthusiastic adopters have now decided it can mean anything that distracts from bad news.
And this is the great felinicide election, where everything is judged by some keyboard Metternich to be a deliberate and masterful distraction from something else. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s repulsive Grenfell comments were a dead cat, apparently. They’re trying to divert you from the fact they haven’t released the Russia report! They’re trying to hoodwink you into stopping watching Corbyn’s Andrew Neil interview! They’re trying to draw your eye away from them doing a black Friday deal on the NHS! And, a personal highlight, from shadow cabinetry’s Richard Burgon: “Boris Johnson is a Tory. He wants us to forget this. But that’s what he is.” Yup, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch Burgon out. (He should definitely stop doing the breakfast shows.)
As firestorm rages over antisemitism, Labour leader gives his race and faith event the big sell
Wherever the edifying story of this election goes next, we will always have the sheer WTF-ery of launching your race and faith manifesto on a morning that not only has the chief rabbi describing you as “unfit for high office”, but the archbishop of Canterbury issuing a statement in solidarity.
Perhaps it explained why Jeremy Corbyn’s event was so very late starting – the leader of the opposition was on a hat-trick, and maybe he thought he could bag the condemnation of another faith leader before taking the stage in Tottenham to spread the love. Or as he put it: “Sometimes, when people are challenged they say: ‘Are you tolerant of somebody else? Are you tolerant of somebody who has a different face to you or a different appearance to you?’
After a Harry Potter studio tour, there’s more fantasy at foreign policy event at Vicarage Road
To the hospitality lounge at Watford Football Club, where the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Chuka Umunna took the stage to announce solemnly: “This is a fitting moment to say something about what the Liberal Democrat approach would be to the international rules-based order in the next parliament.”
Is it though? As usual with election events, the location appeared randomly matched with the subject matter. For whatever reason, we were discussing foreign policy at Vicarage Road. If you’re thinking that we might as well have been discussing how to escape the Premier League basement at Chatham House, you’re doing this wrong. Just relax. Allow the experience to wash over you like the rain that would set in as we headed out to canvass in Watford. More on that somewhat mixed bag later.
To vote in a UK general election you must:
Under the first-past-the-post voting system, tactical voting is when you vote for a party that you would not normally support in order to stop another party from winning. For example, in a constituency where the result is usually tight between a party you dislike and a party you somewhat dislike, and the party you support usually comes a distant third and has no chance of winning, you might choose to lend your vote to the party you somewhat dislike. This avoids ‘“wasting” your vote on a party that cannot win the seat, and boosting the chances that the party you dislike most will lose.
Representing a long-held Conservative seat that voted Remain in the referendum, my constituents have been the recipients of a significant amount of dodgy Lib Dem bar charts and fake newspapers advertising Jo Swinson as the next Prime Minister.
The Tories, and particularly their leader, lie all the time. It is quite shameless. But there is a corollary to this. If your whole campaign is based on one big huge lie, make it your main slogan. Because, even today, many voters still think you wouldn’t dare lie about something so important.