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    06 March, 2005

    Election rules for blogs in US

    The New York Times says that the Federal Election Commission is to look at all Internet-related political activity, including blogs.

    In the UK, I guess blogs are already covered during campaigns by rules relating to literature and subsequently to websites (having clear imprints, avoidance of disrespectful comments on other candidates etc.) Surprising that the US Currently seems to exempt Internet activity.


    David said...

    Let's say a non-profit run by someone with an address in Japan sets up a website hosted in on a server in Russia and allows people to post anonymously to weblogs about, if they wish, the Welsh Assembly. Or elections in the States.

    Do you think these sorts of complexities might go some to explaining why the US 'seems to exempt Internet activity'? Let's see what the Welsh Assembly plans to do then...the Welsh Assembly whose staff think that Wales isn't ready for RSS and who maintain a terrible and probably unlawful (1995 DDA, Section III) website. I'm sure the Assembly will be in the vanguard on that, aren't you?

    Besides, far more people interact with the blogs of informed and intelligent independent commentators than those of the few politicians or formal political organisations to have bothered setting up blogs.

    Leighton Andrews said...

    Sure, I understand the complexities of Internet regulation. I was debating just those issues of extra-territoriality with EU officials when I was at the BBC in the 1990s. It's difficult to regulate everything, but you can regulate some.

    I also recognise - and suggested it from my first post - that formal political blogs would not be that popular. There will be more on that soon.

    I think by now we know you hate the National Assembly. Your regular ranting is getting boring.

    David said...

    In fact, Leighton, I thought Labour's most memorable achievement in office would be the constitutional changes.

    That the Welsh Assembly is a mess and most AMs not up to the job is an obvious fact, however uncomfortable that makes you feel.

    One of the reasons I didn't renew my Labour membership last year is because of the way I saw how Labour was running the Assembly. Badly.

    David said...

    I think the Assembly should be better and I think Labour's handling of the NHS in Wales has been a disaster.

    Why was the previous Health Minister in post for so long, given the non-partisan agreement of opinion amongst everyone apart from some Labour Assembly Members that the NHS was being mismanaged?

    It isn't a 'rant' to take issue with the cronyism of 3rd-raters, Leighton. Giving the Assembly more powers when it's run so badly would be a mistake. That's a perfectly sensible position to take.

    Two-thirds of people recently polled said the Assembly had either made no difference or had made things worse. That's the poll that you misrepresented in your headline as 'People want the Assembly shock!' (the poll said nothing of the sort. It didn't ask the question).


    Leighton Andrews said...

    Here is what the BBC reported on its poll. I stand by what I wrote:

    'Half the people of Wales want the Welsh assembly to have the most influence on their lives of any government.
    Some 35% said the assembly government currently had the greatest impact on Wales, compared with 30% who said it was the UK government.

    The poll for new BBC programme People's Voice also found health would be the most important single issue at the general election expected in May.

    People's Voice with Huw Edwards is on BBC1 Wales at 2235GMT on Tuesday.

    The ICM poll of 1,000 people asked about how Wales had changed since the assembly first sat in May 1999.

    A total of 31% said things had improved, while 21% thought things were worse.

    But 43% replied that the assembly had made no difference, while 4% said they did not know.

    The poll also looked at who people thought had most effect on Wales, and 35% said the assembly government.

    Of those asked, 30% thought it was the UK government, 16% their local council, and 10% the European Union.

    But when asked who should have most influence in Wales, 50% replied the assembly government.'

    Straight form the BBC News website.

    David said...

    Your blog headline was:

    'People want the Assembly shock!'

    The only figure in the original BBC story that might be bent to suit your blog headline is this:

    'half the people of Wales want the Welsh assembly to have the most influence on their lives of any government'

    Which is not the same as saying that people want the Assembly. I could, with equal justification (ie, not much) post a blog headlined:

    'People don't want the Assembly shock!

    By your logic the story would support both headlines.

    Hope that's made things clearer for you.

    Leighton Andrews said...

    You've obviously had a sense of humour bypass.

    Leighton Andrews said...

    and, by the way, the BBC poll shows that 52% of people want the Assembly to have more powers and only 25% now want it abolished.

    David said...

    A-ha, so your headline was supposed to be funny?

    A fraction over 50% want the Assembly to have more powers? A majority were against giving the Assembly tax-raising powers - 52% opposed the idea. So more legislative power but no tax raising power, by the same insignificant margin over 50%. And that's support for your headline? Eh?

    Whose prerogative is power without responsibility, Leighton? I'm sure all politicians know the answer to that.

    And you had a turnout of a staggering 38% last election, didn't you? You're really setting the country on fire, there.


    Grangetown Labour said...

    I remember last year some chap from the Electoral Commission bemoaning to me the lack of willingness by Welsh political parties to use the internet and email. "But you won't let us!" was my response.

    In retrospect I think it may be the Information Commission that is saying no, while the electoral commission would actually like to see us reaching out to voters by email ... all policemen look the same to me!


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