Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bloggers can change the political landscape

Reader G. Barry Stewart said this today in comments on 'A road to inevitable unrest':
"I had a thought today. (Pretty amazing, huh?)

"As a New Year's resolution, I am going to make little print-outs of the web addresses of my favourite BC political bloggers. I'll tack them on community posting-walls, leave them in coffee shops and pass them to friends or colleagues. I've already been sending links to friends via e-mail — but this could get the word out to new circles of people.

"I invite others to join me. Maybe we can start a fire!"
I appreciate those words and my colleagues in the world of independent political blogging would too. We don't advertise, we don't employ shills to populate the social media using taxpayer money or corporate funding and the mainstream media largely ignores us. So, it is word of mouth conducted by readers that leads to growth. Those of us who are active see regular growth in readership. Here is my experience at Northern Insight as the blog approaches its fourth birthday:

As you can see, the readership has been developing steadily and monthly readership is now measured in many tens of thousands.

Any power these blogs have or might have comes from the pool of engaged readers. My aim here is not to promote one party over another, or to advance one vested interest beyond another, as the CTF, the Fraser Institute or the BC Chamber of Commerce intends with numerous paid staff. The aim here is to promote ethical principles, accountability and transparency within public institutions. My clear view is that Liberals fail on each and every element and, no matter what they say in future, they cannot be believed. The Liberal Party has been sponsored by and beholden to big business interests. In my view, it's time to re-balance the influences that drive government in British Columbia. It's time for ordinary people to have a dominant say in public affairs.

The next administration needs to rewrite the rules by which government operates. We must enhance the power and influence of statutory officers of the Legislature, not to make policy but to ensure that it and its results are disclosed honestly:
  • The Auditor General, 
  • The Information and Privacy Commissioner,
  • The Ombudsman,
  • Chief Electoral Officer
  • Representative for Children and Youth,
  • Conflict of Interest Commissioner,
  • Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.
More importantly, the responsibilities of individual MLAs should be enhanced through meaningful use of committees and public hearings.
    Blogs like this one and others like it would be less needed if citizens had an accessible method of speaking about public policy or if the mainstream media cared consistently about the public interest.

    Recommend this post


    1. Both you Norm & Alex have been on fire lately. Keep up the great work & we will continue to promote your site.... it's where those who want the facts come to.... like Alex.. you make News as oppose to those slack asses in the MSM who just report the News.

      Guy in Victoria

    2. Hmm... your graph looks like the BC debt record, Norm. Are you and Christy working in concert?


    3. Before I press "print," does anyone else have names of prominent (as in well-read and near-daily) bloggers that I have missed?

      What I intend to have on my hand-outs:

      "Main Stream Media Letting You Down?

      Get in-depth stories on what your government is doing — and take part in the discussions with some of the best BC political bloggers and their readers at: and others..."

      Endorsed by G. Barry Stewart

      1. Ian Reid of The Real Story
        is as savvy as they come. He's been a go-to guy, along with Bob Mackin on fraud in the gaming trade, Pavco, LDB and many other issues.

        RossK of The Gazetteer provides eclectic information, always based on high principle.

        Blog Borg Collective mines the libraries of public information and often reveals information that no one else connects as important to public affairs.

        There are numerous others, check out "My Blog List" on the left margin of Northern Insight.

        BTW, many of us were inspired or encouraged by Sean Holman, now on the journalism faculty of Calgary's Mount Royal University.

        There is a good degree of collegiality between bloggers. We don't compete maybe because there is no financial prize. We encourage scrutiny of public affairs from all points of view, as long as those are principled views, not idiotic shilling, something that a platoon of paid Liberal operatives provide.

      2. Feel free to include in the list. We're happy to be non-corporate media. And is constantly worth the read as well.

      3. Agreed. I'm a regular reader and pleased to know that many online journalists contribute to reasonable public dialogue.

    4. Yes.. yes.. yes .. Learn from exemplars ! Promote or Reflect that special stuff that exemplars have.. whether great insight, curiosity, priceless knowledge.. or just a lovely way of being.. I think you should explore your views more.. start more fires.. or perhaps 'lighting beacons' is a better term.

      If a single blog such as yours is a steady drumbeat - that one drumbeat can reach out and resonate or speak to another
      What is an aggregation of such blogs? - A boisterous living healthy conversation ? A Council of Drumbeats ?

      - Idle No More, mounts up and rides via Twitter, Indy blogs, websites, word of mouth, small scale community connection..
      and healthy mainstream media celebrates the movement.. and Chief Theresa Spence & her advocates
      Idle No More dominates the consequential media currently .. a clear exemplar movement for people, family, culture, environment, fairness and honesty.

      - Unhealthy mainstream media denies and speaks poorly, riding the donkey backwards, with suspicion of the movement, posturing darkly that 'its probably illegal'
      or 'Chief Spence is unethical' and enlists pundits and experts to echo or OpEd or attack, confuse and denigrate. Negative bullying - shrill dismissal

      Your comment re 'the next administration - rules by which etc' is a great example of how your blog can communicate and influence mainstream media.
      For a reporter, journalist - short of insight, creativity or a hot news flash.. your premise would be a stimulant.. as well as excellent compact analysis
      ie Newsworthy informed edible opinion - actually a policy suggestion that should be a 'must do' piece of legislation.. and no excuses
      I easily see it being common sense that should be embraced in every province

      As the guy in Victoria suggests .. that's you and many others.. making or shaping the news and communicating ideas broadly (at least through the useful media)

      1. Thanks for the comment. When it first came in, I thought it from a Liberal shill with similar name who is active in social media. I was a bit confused and made a comment that is now removed. Proof that I should not jump to a conclusion.

      2. I wish I had seen the comment ! Especially if well deserved.. And would take it to heart.
        MOS has speared me several times.. once on military matters - air superiority - armament - detection profiles
        and I was a wee bit red faced... (the word is 'chagrined' .. or 'caught out')
        which suggested I slow down, consider and research, inform myself .. learn.. proclaim more carefully..

        Its so easy to be opinionated, much more challenging (or gifted) to be informed, objective.. useful.. illuminating
        I thought my comment was lumpy.. but it was a response to your blog.. which had really stimulated me..
        I think you've hit hard on a networking or crowd sourcing, communal exchange... of really useful information
        I hacked at a response.. struggled to express it, swam.. did not delete it, submitted it.. still lumpy .. confused you

        But to me.. the takeaway lesson is .. That your blog article challenged and reminded me to think, consider.. support .. promote..
        Hardly unusual... for blog articles authored by you ... and so many exemplars

        I'm a rebel, a farm boy growed up, somewhat.. would throw myself off a cliff like a buffalo
        if I became known as 'shrill and Liberal' .. 'opinionated' is OK .. so is hard headed .. (deserved)
        tho I prefer caring and concerned .. empathetic .. hates being unobservant.. or careless

        I think you're coming down the track... with a lot of weight behind the locomotive engines
        .. and that there's so many - exemplars - just - like - you ..

    5. FOI requests dealt with speed in delivery, quality in facts, instead of the GCPE aka PAB having cornered the market on white-out

    6. I want a new government to stop ridiculous high salaries in the public sector. Massive payouts when they leave whether they were there one year or five.
      I want a new government to hold those accountable of acts of treason and crony capitalism that have cost us billions of dollars. I want to see these thieves in jail and stripped of all their assets.

      I love your blog Norman, thank you so much.

      1. And, I thank you in return. Readers exercising intelligent examinations empower this blog and others like it.

    7. Glad to see the graph and how readership is on the rise steadily. The reasons are obvious, you speak truths and always back it up with proof.
      The government always speaks in lies or half truths and refuses or even hides evidence that could povide truth, quite a contrast.
      MSM well they don't care about truth so don't concern themselves with that nasty factor.
      At any rate many,as I, have found that your blog and others have become a place of trust to keep us informed and show us the reality so elusive mainsteam and I only believe this will grow as your chart shows to a point where changes will have to be made if MSM is to survive.

      1. Thanks Don. As AGT mentioned recently, it is a chore for 1-person operations to offer regular material that, while opinion, is opinion based on researched fact. I say repeatedly to readers that I'm happy if you argue that my opinions are wrong but I hope you cannot argue that the facts I base my opinions upon are wrong in material ways.

        For every hour that we write, we spend many hours reading and researching. Yeah, being informed is a hobby but we hope it is worthwhile to fellow citizens.

        I thank you for regular contributions. The site becomes more worthwhile when readers offer their opinions.

    8. A "great start" to an new era, in open and accountable governance. Thank you...

      Norm..., you, AGT, Laila, Bob, Ian and other politically astute bloggers, have opened the door for the "average joe", to engage in political discourse, on a wide range of topics. This is a great thing for "grass roots" political involvement. We need more open discussion in this country as a whole, to revitalise a stagnant, archaic and "infected" system of governance, in BC and Canada.

      I would add a few other items to the list such as a federal, and or provincial, Anti corruption commission, similar to Quebec's, (especially needed here in BC), along with a much revamped, Elections Canada, with greater powers to investigate and prosecute, electoral malfesance.

      We all need, to become informed and involved. After all, the current governments in this country seem to not be working in "Our" intrests, only their own, or their lobbyists intrests.

      Our kids and grand kids will thank us for it, in the long run.



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