The Thick of It


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lazy Islington LibDem blogs: follow my leader

I was recently quoted in an article in the Islington Tribune highlighting how Islington Council Leader (Lib Dem) James Kempton had abandoned his blog because nobody was reading it. After narrowly keeping their grip on power after the 2006 local elections, Islington's Lib Dems claimed they had learnt their lesson, that they needed to listen to the people of Islington more.

ng a blog was one of Kempton's means of listening. A blog can be a powerful tool for leaders if used properly. Putting yourself into the social media sphere means you are prepared to take part in a conversation, not just to talk at people. A blog lets people make their point and to engage their leaders in a debate.

n gave up too easily, had he tried harder he might have found that it was worth listening to his electorate. They might have given him some ideas. However, he chose to give up, perhaps because listening is not that important to him, rather, he would prefer to say he is listening and hope people think that is enough.

Kempton stated in the article that if people wanted to keep in touch with him online, they could check his Facebook page. FYI, Kempton's page shows he has 126 "friends". Not many have taken him up then. Further analysis of his friends list shows that virtually all of them are fellow Lib Dem members (Bridget Fox, Meral Ece, Nick Clegg...). Not really a cross section of the public.

ne of Kempton's IslingtonLib Dem colleagues, Meral Ece, has been succesful at blogging, despite not having a whole "executive support" office to support her, unlike her boss. Kempton didnt even have to write or promote his blog, that is the job of his support team.

n the interview for the article I mentioned that another of Kempton's colleagues, Islington South Parliamentary candidate Bridget Fox, had started blogging for The Guardian as a result of her personal blog. I checked her Guardian blog today and noted has died too, just like Kempton's. Fox's Guardian blog hasn't been updated for four months. Whoops. I shouldn't have mentioned that. Her personal blog does get updated though. You can find that for yourself.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Johnson blows off at Vaz

Yesterday's news that Boris Johnson had irked Commons Home Affairs Committee Chair Keith Vaz over his knowledge of the Damien Green affair and that he then followed this with a tirade of the f-word should suprise nobody. It disappoints me. Our Mayor should be able to get his facts right. First he should not mislead Vaz in the first place over when he did or didn't call David Cameron on the day Green was arrested. If you don't know the facts, don't pretend (Some people call pretending lying). That aside, swearing in parliament shows a poor understanding of the standards required of those in public office.

Even the Evening Standard has covered this. As usual, Tory Troll has shamed my attempt to cover this story.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Council tax under BJ

Boris Johnson has taken time out from re-announcing things that were already happening bfore he was elected (cycle hire scheme, London Recycling network, public open space to be the legacy of the Olympic park) to finally announce that he is sticking to one of his election pledges. The mayor's portion of council tax will be frozen. Hurrah! This will have little effect on frontline services. Hurrah! Oh, but this will only mean that I will "save" about 11p a week against what loser Ken had proposed. Oh. Not that special really.

If Londoners are to get 'more bang for their buck' as promised by BJ we need to actually see more evidence than this. If the Mayor's budget has been 'cut' by 15% then why haven't my bills?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Norfolk nonsense

I logged onto the site where Norfolk really matters, the Eastern Daily Press, and found a laughable account of a place called London. In this city they speak of, the highlights include the London Dungeon, Madame Tussards and "Romanian gypsies brandishing sedated infants." The buses are beset with an "appalling tide of violence" caused by having to sit in traffic. If everyone is being forced to go to Madame Tussards then perhaps that is why the bus travelling public are revolting? Does anyone from London even go to look at wax models? Or perhaps they are just angry that they aren't going to the Mustard Shop in Norwich?