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As I try and read on the train home, I open my eyes, close, and re-open them to different versions of what seems like the same semi-industrial town. Words about structures and governance, and funding punctuate the blurred flashes of anonymous trees and unknown fields.

I wondered how many of the people I’ve explained myself to over the last three days represent the areas that cover the stations at which we don’t stop. Between Derbyshire, Chesterfield, and Wakefield. The shires and the fields evoke visions of the towns and parishes, and the evening session I attended on Localism, and what is next for Localism as devolution doubles, and brexit troubles. 

The session consisted of a panel where each member introduced their view on what’s next for Localism. It was organised by NALC, an organisation that are new to me, like many at the conference were.

I was drawn to this session. They spoke my language, and reinforced my worldview, but most of all they invited me and told me there’d be wine. I will read the report with interest when I get back to work on my PhD, but for now I must turn my thoughts, and my heel, as London and the Cabinet Office beckons.


G-Force: Or, what goes up must come down

One from the archive…


Every social network site has a life cycle. Some last longer than others but there will always be something bigger, better, faster, stronger waiting in the wings. Have a listen to this delightful song as you read my take on it all.  My delve into the brave new world of Google+.

Everyone, at some time in their lives goes through a stage when they realise they are set in their ways; stuck in a routine (comfortable). It can happen when you’re in a relationship; you can plan out the week by what you’re having for dinner, or what television programmes you’ll sit and eat it in front of (I know, but we all do it, the table has got the ironing pile on and the laptop is charging). It happens with the places you go too.

BocaDorada “would you like your usual?”
Image courtesy of BocaDorada

When you’re young you…

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The medium is the message; or, the machines are taking over.


As figures for online news consumption soar, and newspaper circulations dwindle, I consider the idea that social media acted as the catalyst to get the masses involved with reading online news.

1960s popular culture Image by Nesster 1960s popular culture
Image by Nesster

In 1964 there was a growing fear in the western world. The atom bomb? L.S.D? JFK? Maybe; but in particular, perhaps echoed in the other suggestions, there was an anxiety about machines taking over and making humans redundant, at least in employment terms, although, a night spent watching 1960’s movies would suggest unemployment was the least of their worries.

The relevance of Marshall McLuhan’s well-worn enigmatic paradox of smart-arsery is arguably (in the sense that I will put the argument to anyone that will listen) more poignant now than it ever was in the days of free-love. The medium is the message, just like Descartes’ ‘I think therefore I am’…

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Rhetorical Symmetry: I tweet, therefore I am.


Twitter has helped promote a democracy of ideas Twitter has helped promote the democratisation of ideas

Twitter is the agency for the realisation of true rhetorical symmetry. It has forged a forum where the equality of ideas is nurtured and promoted, and where all participants are involved in the co-creation of shared meaning.

‘Shared meaning, a vital outcome of public relations, results when each market, audience, or public that has a stake in some matter co-creates meaning through dialogue.’ (Heath 2001)

Rhetorical symmetry is the idealistic notion that each idea contested in public has an equality of strength. It is ethical because it empowers participants to engage. It bypasses the market-like struggle for superiority, where the luxury of having the ability to speak loudest to the largest audience (the traditional media) is subverted, empowering the voices of everyone.

The outcome is favoured at the expense of the process.Photography by Matt Fowler The outcome is favoured at the expense of the process.
Photography by Matt Fowler

The traditional media, in the days…

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