This helping of the #PufflesTwitterList covers those people, organisations and beings that Puffles has stumbled across over the past ten months or so. This list will be updated and refreshed as making this comprehensive is no easy task.
I don’t pretend that these lists are ‘politically neutral’ – they are a reflection of my employment and life experiences – & what I have learnt from them more than anything else.
Trade union related campaigning
I used to be an elected representative of the Public and Commercial Services Union, as well as for the FDA Union during my time in the civil service. The Wordle of my first 21 blogposts after leaving the civil service spells out why.
- Richard Simcox – Press Officer for the PCS Union (whose twitter account is @PCS_Union & of whom Janice Godridge is president). Just knowing that he was about on Twitter was a huge reassurance as Puffles emerged onto Twitter. This was around the time that the mainstream media was going after my good friend and former civil service colleague, Sarah Baskerville – an experience I was petrified of facing. Interestingly, this was also a time when the social media world rallied round to her defence.
- PCS Union’s Revenue and Customs Branch, Euston, London. The PCS Union has a number of branches that tweet, but this one stands out given that its members are at the heart of the UK’s tax collection services. A must for anyone interested in issues of tax avoidance and tax evasion.
- Hope not hate – A trade union movement-backed campaign against extremism.
- Touchstone Blog – A very good, but as yet little-known public policy group blog from the Trades Union Congress (who I think should do much more to promote it).
- Unions21 – a ‘think tank’ on trade union issues
- ARC Union (Association of Revenue and Customs) – part of the FDA Union‘s family, representing senior tax inspectors and part of the drive against tax avoiders and tax evaders.
- RMT Union London – Much-maligned by the corporate media, worth following to find out what the issues are on London’s transport system from those who work on it, and before the media gets hold of them.
- Unison – who have this and UnisonMV amongst a myriad of Twitter accounts, representing rank and file non-civil-service public sector workers
- Prospect Union – they have football referees and forensic scientists on their books – the union for specialist services.
- Universities and Colleges Union – the union for further and higher education lecturers
- The Police Federation – representing rank and file police officers
- Nicola Smith, Head of Economic and Social Affairs at the Trade Unions Congress
Party politics has been taking a big kicking for a number of reasons. These people have defied that trend and have chosen to engage in party-political activism for their respective political parties. Listed in alphabetical order by party.
- Nick Hillman – former prospective parliamentary candidate in Cambridge for the Conservatives, now one of the political policy animals stalking the Whitehall jungle.
- Andy Bower and Radegund – two local (to me – i.e. Cambridge) conservatives who keep the Cambridge’s political establishment on their toes. (Cambridge currently has no Conservative city councillors, though Andy Bower did go head-to-head with Cllr George Owers at a recent by-election, the latter coming out on top.)
- Joanne Cash, Tory Tattler, Pretty Tory and Teenage Tory
- Tory Radio – who runs a political podcast too!
- Derek Wall and Sian Berry are two of the more well-known Green Party personalities outside of public office – the former being a former co-convenor of the party and the latter a former Green Party candidate for the Mayor of London’s Office.
- Young Green Party – Youth wing for the Greens.
- Fenland Green, HighburyonFoot and Natalie Ben
- Oxford Kevin, Stephen Lintott (Cambridge Greens) and John Nicol
- Sally Bercow is seldom out of the media – in part because the rightwing press love to hate her (and her husband – who I think has been an excellent Speaker). I was astonished when she started following Puffles.
- Catey Smith – formerly of Compass and a former Labour prospective parliamentary candidate, has now migrated to the Whitehall jungle
- TheBigShow1976 – Secretary of Cambridge Labour Party and former civil servant who I used to work with. Also Dan Ratcliffe and Richard Johnson who also inhabit Cambridge Labour circles.
- The Green Benches – the Twitter feed of Dr Eoin Clarke’s ground-breaking (in my view) blog that is essential reading for Labour types.
- Left Foot Forward and Labourlist – two Labour blogs that were set up in the cauldron of the run up to the 2010 general election at a time when the left-of-centre were seen to be lagging behind right-of-centre blogs.
- Ellie Cumbo – Labour Hackneyite tweeting on criminal justice issues, and Andy James Hicks, who covers amongst other things, housing and Kate Butler, who has is soon to stand for Labour.
- Young Fabians – these people (&/or their policies) give their Conservative counterparts nightmares – either that or material for them to go back at them.
- Lib Dem Voice – this is normally my first port of call to get a feel for what rank and file Lib Dems are concerned about.
- Kelly-Marie Blundell and Liberal Youth – also tweeting in support of Liberal Democrats
- Baroness Benjamin – Formerly Floella Benjamin of Playschool fame, now a Lib Dem Peer.
- Hannah Claytor – Chair of North East Liberal Youth
- Lembit Opik – I rated him as a parliamentarian and think that it’s to Parliament’s loss that he’s no longer there
- Dr Jenny Woods – Lib Dem activist
- Political Parry – a feminist Lib Dem blog
- Gail Lythgoe – convener of SNP Students
- Loony News – the Monster Raving Loony Party’s Twitter feed. The 99p coin? Painting grey squirrels red to increase the latter’s population? Fast food having labels stating “Warning: may contain traces of real food”? Children to be given two birthdays like the Queen? Genius!
General Politics, Public Administration & Current Affairs.
There are some people (myself included) who don’t really fall into any categories. We all have our own personal views, but this lot in general try to cover the issues as they are rather than through a party-political lens. Others cover specific parts of what I call the political compass matrix.
- Total Politics (political editor Amber Elliott) – the brainchild of Iain Dale whose blogs I found to be compelling reading, even though there was many an occasion where I disagreed with him. As with Private Eye, I’d probably buy the magazine more often if it had a bigger print/more pages. (I don’t like reading magazines with tiny print – or too many adverts)
- Institute for Government (including Justine Stephen) – I’m still surprised that the UK does not have a big name “School of Public Administration” unlike say France or the USA. The IoG plus the National School of Government and UCL’s Constitutional Unit (tweeting @ConUnit_UCL)have similar interests but given the size of the public sector, the institutions listed seem small fry compared to the numbers employed and the amount of expenditure.
- Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation – the latter of which I first stumbled across towards the end of my economics degree. My view of economics is that it is the study of how limited resources are distributed in a society of unlimited wants. The Foundation goes beyond the constraints imposed on the subject by traditional ‘free market’ thinkers and look at the subject with the assumption that both people and the environment matter.
- Mike Smithson of Politicalbetting I’m not the sort of person who puts money on political events, but I keep tabs on him to see who the betting markets think is in trouble, as well as on opinion polling.
- BBC This Week BBC Newsnight & BBC Question Time – I tend to rate the first of the three because you get insights from people who have been in the furnaces and the decision-making chairs that the politicians of today find themselves in. Always interesting to see how some politicians have mellowed with age. BBC Question Time is good for drinking games/bovine faeces bingo as all the politicians read out their ‘lines’ that their advisers have told them they must read out, while the token lefty media type and right-wing columnist fight for who can shock the most.
- Ipsos Mori – the polling and research organisation headed by Ben Page
- Red Pepper Magazine – A left wing politics and international issues magazine and one I used to get during my university days.
- Lords of the Blog – which members of the House of Lords are saying what outside of the chamber?
- LSE Impact Blog and LSE Politics Blog – from the London School of Economic and Political Sciences
- Dr Dave O’Brien – Leeds Met academic in public policy and public administration
- Media Standards Trust – because news matters
Other campaigns and campaigners
- Bloggerheads – Tim Ireland’s operation going after the mainstream media amongst others
- Richard Hebditch (running the Campaign for Better Transport – formerly Transport 2000) and Christian Wolmar – who are essential reading if you use public transport on a regular basis.
- The Justin Campaign – campaigning against homophobia in football – named after former England U21 international and Goal of the Season winner Justin Fashanu.
- Friends of the Earth the National Trust the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the World Wide Fund for Nature – you must have heard of them, right?
- Which?Action – The Twitter account behind the consumer campaigns magazine.
- Age UK – formerly Age Concern, looking after our older people.
- Science is vital – if only a few more people in the corridors of power understood why, other than ‘it’s good for the economy’ line to take.
- Open Corporates Open Democracy & Who’s Lobbying Who? – shining the light of transparency into big business & dodgy politics.
- Transparency International – international NGO fighting against corruption
- The Joseph Rowntree Foundation – large social policy research charity
- Campaign Against the Arms Trade
- National Secular Society – campaigning against the influence of institutionalised religion in public policy-making
- Laurie Penny was one of the first twitter accounts that Puffles started following. Although her and I have never met, we have a number of mutual friends and acquaintances. Though I differ with her on a number of issues, she has brought a political issues often ignored by the mainstream media to a large younger audience. The abuse that she’s taken from a number of quarters has been shocking, and no journalist should have to face that.
- Claire Solomon was the President of the University of London Union and aformer SWP activist until expelled in January 2010. I first came across her whenshe appeared on Newsnight following ‘the Battle of Millbank’ after giving Jeremy Paxman as good as he got when appearing with Aaron Porter and Simon Hughes MP.
- Shiv Malik – Author of Jilted Generation writing about issues concerning young people and students.
- Adam Ramsay – one of the driving forces at People and Planet (along withLouise Hazan and Jess Stanton) and the politics blog Bright Green
Tax-avoidance and tax evasion issues
- Robin Hood Campaign – going for a tax on speculative financial transactions to fund projects to combat poverty and climate change. .
- Aaron John Peters – one of the people behind UK Uncut – the fluid collective that put tax evasion and tax avoidance in the public’s consciousness.
- The British Bankers’ Association …well…someone’s got to stand up for them!
Disability & equal rights campaigns