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Days 182 & 183

June 30, 2012

Didn’t manage a post yesterday, but I can report that I’ve been to a conference today. The Netroots UK conference at Congress House brings together activists at the cutting edge of campaigning to share ideas and opinions in a series of workshops and discussions sessions. To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes of it, and my expectations have not entirely been assuaged. Equally, I suppose I could see it more positively, and say that the morning sessions were largely better than I expected. Hmmm – am I contradicting myself?

One of the feelings I have looking back on the conference is that there was a lot of agreement and not much argument. Maybe that’s because everyone was in agreement, but I don’t think that’s true. If you put a load of campaigning groups in a room, they’re going to disagree, without doubt. But today, they didn’t. Even when the person representing UK Uncut said that they simply didn’t relate to trade unions, nobody batted an eyelid. (I doubt they could see the blood pressure threatening to burst blood vessels in my head.)

Paul Mason of the BBC made an excellent, thoughtful contribution. Raven Brooks of Netroots Nation, USA gave mucho food for thought, and Sue Marsh (@suey2y) was inspirational in describing her campaigning activities, including on the work around the Spartacus Report. Altogether, these made up the morning, and I was, as I said, more impressed and engaged than I had expected to be.

Lunch was a school packed lunch of sandwiches, crisps, Ribena, apple and chocolate, and then there was an ‘open space’ session, which essentially means that people threw their pet ideas in and split into groups to discuss them. I went for coffee in the sun instead.

This afternoon, I wanted to get into a session on ‘getting your group online with WordPress’, but I’m told it’s fully booked. A friend went on a session that was similarly said to be fully booked this morning, and there was space, so maybe I’ll try to get into this one. Or maybe I won’t. Or maybe I’ll try and fail, and have to go somewhere else.

More to follow tomorrow…

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