Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis – Some Thoughts…

March 1st, 2009 · 29 Comments · Blogging, Elections, Irish Politics, Live Blogging, Recession

Lots and lots of random thoughts from a day at the 72nd Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis.

  • Party Membership – Where were all the 30-40 year olds? Mostly running for election in the locals? Or working for the organisation or a minister? But as members where were they? What’s the Party age profile? All I saw really the Ogras’ and the over 55’s and some well over that.
  • Where were the disabled members? 4,000 people and a TD and MEP but disabled people don’t seem to do party politics or have the resources to attend conferences. This is not a Fianna Fáil specific problem. I saw one member and maybe there were many more??
  • I know Fianna Fáil have membership from ethnic minority and candidates and they were visible speaking and there was a shot to the section in audience where many of them sat. Is there a caucus within the party?
  • I know there are Lesbian and Gay members of Fianna Fail, I saw a few gay men there today, some of whom don’t like to see an out lesbian around but that’s always been the way and not just in Fianna Fáil. I assume someone is lobbying Dermot Ahern on Civil Partnership?  Caucus meetings?
  • In reference to above – Cowen’s speech – It was a speech nearly devoid of mention of anything beyond the economy and banks…It was about all standing together and weren’t the banks terrible. So if you were waiting on your rights to participate in society equally and weren’t an economic unit or had double and triple disadvantages forget about it. I’ll leave others to do the finer details on the announcements – but it was clear little new was announced yesterday except by An Taoiseach.  I kept waiting for the news today but there was little. Dermot Ahern had a bank raid and got good mileage off camera for it, and did any one else think the other raid – ie. Anglo Irish bank raid by Gardai et al was useful speechwise?

  • Some Junior Ministers got a chance to shine today but only when no RTE cameras were around doing live coverage in the afternoon. They were the ones from policy areas where cabinet seats were held by Greens or a PD. It must rankle a bit not to have the main minister but gives the juniors a little chance to glow.
  • So little of political Ard Fheiseanna are covered by the mainstream media these days and probably because it’s thought people are no longer interested. But the responses to liveblogging today have been very positive, people learnt things, maybe different things and traffic on blogs was high and lots of new people took part by reading or twittering or blogging. So it ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it? (Bananarama moment!)

To the Fianna Fáil party – (and FG/Labour/Greens are you reading this?)

  • Firstly thanks – we got passes, tables, wifi, plugs and food – does anyone do anything other than eat in the press room? – A happy press marches on it’s appetite maybe!  From what I could see bloggers went everywhere we knew about and got to cover gaggles and sit in the press area in the main conference hall. Also we could also get text alerts for doorstepping or other events – this was very useful.
  • Put the Ministers speeches up online – first the scripts from Ministers and later the videos. Paper speeches are not very web 2.0. More coverage would be possible if we could cut and paste text – or maybe you don’t want us/mainstream media to cover it?
  • Ask bloggers what they thought after the event and get ready for next time. Maybe have a blogger specific coverage event/briefing opportunity? It’ll take me a while to think it all through but I think the coverage from those there yesterday was very comprehensive given numbers and resources. Next time it’s safe to say we’ll need more briefing especially for those who don’t know their way round a political event.
  • Also remember the bloggers following online – maybe sign them up to a blogger mailing list?
  • It’s a first – ie first time bloggers went en masse (not first time asked by party though) and we can hopefully work together on it again and come back next time?

I’ve loads to say to the Mainstream Media -who I think today got their first full on view of blogging in action in Ireland.

  • like  – yes we blog for free, we have fun doing it.
  • We can teach you how to blog  (yup I overheard one journo saying ‘I must learn how to blog’)
  • We can cover things quicker than you can in a different way.  Some of it short and pithy, some of it indepth and considered.  With bits of audio, video and picture thrown in for variety.
  • Stop questioning our sanity.
  • We’re not selfish. We took our place at the table and enjoyed ourselves and shared information amongst ourselves.
  • You’ll stop staring at us soon enough! (It was like Vicky Pollard giving me the evils at one stage this afternoon but I did like having info to give out before other people had it thanks to Twitter and Bloggers!!)

Finally a word of thanks to the bloggers in City West – Eoin, Gavin (the Videos are his),  Mark, and all the bloggers and livebloggers and tweeters all over the world who were following online and joining in, commenting and creating their own content.

And hello to all my new Fianna Fáil supporting readers and twitter followers? Come join the fun and comment away!?!

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