Sixty years of the rule of the one ruler

The Little One, by Ali Rahmati
While I am writing this, the sound of boat whistles and bells comes from the Thames, just a mere ten-minutes walk from where I live. In the street, hundreds of people are walking back under the rain after seeing the Queen cruising the river on a boat. It’s the celebration of the sixty years of the rule of the one ruler, also known as British Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Let me share with you a little story to “celebrate” such an “important” event…

Once upon a time, in a small village lived a little girl. When she grew up she wanted to do great things by helping everybody to have a better life. Her father always told her that she was capable of doing great things if so she wanted, and so she wanted to help all people. One day in school, the teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and she said “I want to do great things and help people.” The teacher looked at her with a smile and said, “and how are you going to do that?”. “I will be the Queen”, she replied. The teacher gasped in surprise and said, “…but there is already a Queen, you cannot be the Queen, darling.” “Why not?”, asked defiantly the little girl. “Because it will be her son who will be King after her.” The little girl frowned to what her teacher was saying, since she was born she had been told that the Queen was great, that she was making her country be together, that thanks to her people were better off, and now she couldn’t do the same when she grew up. Puzzled she asked to the teacher, “does this mean that your son will be our teacher after you?”

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Dear Mandy, stay away from my family


The best of party politics is in local politics

Yesterday I did some digital reporting. For nearly two weeks, I’ve been collaborating with TweetyHall & FutureGov in preparation for the UK elections in May. His founder, Dominic Campbell, asked me if I could attend the first conference of local councilors in the UK C’llr10 organized by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) last Thursday. So armed with my iPhone and a Kodak digital camera I tweeted about it, took some pictures and recorded some interviews with councilors about their use of the web in their work.

I am very critical with the party system. I think it is based on bureaucratic and opaque principles that are not much adapted to the informational and social transformation of the last decades. When I arrived, I saw all these councilors, most of them in suit and tie, that looked, in my eyes, like political bureaucrats, just managers of mid-size organizations. This image was confirmed by the speeches in the plenary: Caroline Spelman, tory shadow secretary for local government, Julia Goldsworthy, lib-dems shadow secretary for local government and John Denham, the current secretary for local government. Nothing new under the sun, and lots of “ours is great, yours is awful” discourse.

Yet, during the day and through getting into small conversation with some of the councilors my perspective changed. There are good people in local politics doing very important stuff. Communities should thank these people for their work, for most of them feel it in their hearts, and do it for vocation. My last personal tweet after the conference was:

I am very critical with the party system, but today I’ve seen at #cllr10 how the best of it is in local politics #win