Social media politics: is it worth it?


Diane Abbott (image:


Alasdair Duke

I am starting to wonder whether people, public debate, and therefore politics, would benefit from sticking to transparent, traceable, on-the-record communication only. It seems clear from innumerable documented incidents that the corporate entities of Twitter and Facebook are, all too often, passive in responding to online abuse. Not all of this abuse is political, but the patronage of politicians and other public figures lends social media an air of legitimacy that aids those who circulate abuse. If almost every politician – from local council candidate to POTUS – were to abandon Twitter and Facebook, they would have to resort to more formal methods like face-to-face communication, letter-writing and (whisper it) paper publications. It would also send a signal to private sufferers of online abuse that none of this is acceptable.

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“But you’re looking so well!”

Down With the Sickness

The number one thing I’d suggest never to say to a disabled or chronically ill friend, relative or acquaintance is “But you’re looking so well!” or, worse yet “Everyone was saying that you’re looking so well!” “You’re looking so great!” is slightly better, but has a lot of the same issues.
I genuinely get it. When you see someone that you probably don’t see a lot of, especially when what you hear from them is a lot about illness, you want to tell them how pleased you are to see them, how glad you are that they’ve made the effort to come out to this occasion (even if it’s just for coffee), and how glad you are that they’re not a heap of tubes and limbs in the corner. You may wish to say that you can see the effort they’ve put in to dressing and presenting themselves well and…

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Re-building Jerusalem – Brexit and the need for English Land Reform.


By Morvern Rennie

Deep in the forest a gentle breeze rustles the canopy above me wafting the smell of hay and rippling the dappled light across the ground. My children squeal and giggle, the dog pants, somewhere a cockerel crows. The softly undulating hills vanish into a vermillion sky where great marshmallow clouds puff lazily eastwards.


Or perhaps a parallel time machine has transported me to the fabled brexit yesteryear?


This is England. 2016. Continue reading

Currency Poll

The Common Green

£1 Note - Scottish Parliament Commemorative Issue

I’d like to run a straw poll to help inform some thoughts I’m having on currency.

So imagine you are in charge of the newly reformed indyref2 campaign. You’ve been asked to direct the currency question strategy. What’s your preferred “Plan A” going into the campaign?

Feel more than free to expand on your thoughts in the comments below.
(If it’s your first time commenting on this blog you may end up in a moderation queue. I’ll approve as quickly as I can)


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Referendums should be used sparingly

Dalbeattie_Town_Hall cropped.jpg

In Dumfries and Galloway, 46.9% voted to Leave (image: Dalbeattie Town Hall, Wikimedia Commons)

Alasdair Duke 

Constitutional referendums should be avoided if it is likely that the winning side will only carry 50-59 per cent of the vote. This margin leaves too many people disappointed, and the bargaining begins. The trade-offs that follow may not be popular or transparent, so they risk undermining the whole democratic process. A referendum on a minor single issue might withstand a narrow winning margin, but constitutional change benefits from a greater consensus. Continue reading