Join Stephen Coleman on a Bristol blog

Stephen ColemanStephen Coleman, Professor of Political Communication and Co-Director of the Centre for Digital Citizenship, is brilliant on the sounds bites for any video blogger (as well as main stream media) as you can see here when he talks about TV voting scandals, and here at an e-democracy conference in Bristol.

However, Stephen doesn’t blog himself, so it is a delight to find him available for discussion back in Bristol – virtually at least – guesting at Connecting Bristol.

I’m grateful to Shane McCracken for pointing this out, and neatly summarising the issues Stephen is highlighting about the changing nature of politics and citizenship:

1. The rules of the political game are changing and smart politicians are making themselves more visible, seem more able to be influenced and be more human.
2. It ain’t working yet for politicians so they are confused.
3. Citizens are confused too.

Shane adds:

Professor Coleman wants to challenge us and is looking for a response in the comments section. Problem is he is stating (very eloquently) the obvious and doesn’t provide too much to disagree with.
Is it a bad thing that the rules of the game are changing? No.
Is is surprising that politicians are sharpening they persona as opposed to their policies? Not really as political research becomes more sophisticated and able to identify the desires of the key swing voters. The policies are the same so make the politicians different – slightly at least.
Is it surprising that politicians and citizens are confused? Not really, it is new and complex.
So what are the important questions to ask? Well we have a week to pose those in the comments section.

Discussion is already lively, and I’m sure that Bristolians won’t mind if the rest of us pop over and join in. I’ve made a start.


  • April 2, 2008 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    “2. It ain’t working yet for politicians so they are confused.
    3. Citizens are confused too.”

    It is a great point. I tend to believe that MPs and Civil servants should avoid “deadening PR speak” and look to talk to the pubic in plain English. One only need read a public sector website to be totally confused!

    Also I think that politicians in all parties have somewhat painted themselves into a corner, all fighting for a common middle ground. The problem with this is that (clearly) many swathes of the populous are feeling left out.

    I believe the next politician to take lead of the country will be strong in conviction, have an opinion but appear genuine by admitting mistakes and being as open as possible. This clearly is a riskier PR strategy, but one that pays dividends.

    Take a look at Boris Johnson the soon to be major of London for a perfect example. He is a character that people can relate with and not a PR robot!

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  • February 7, 2009 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    Nice work! I’ll have to do a cross post on this one 😉

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