Tag Archives: councillors

Councillor abuse on social media – what can we do about it?

Social media is the expression of all of us. Collectively and individually. Even if people don’t participate in it, its impacts cannot be ignored.

Social media is all of us on the internet, on phones, laptops, smart speakers and an ever growing number of devices. It is almost as everyday as conversation.

Except social media is not like conversation. Any abuse in conversation is usually sporadic. On social media it can be relentless. This commentary comes from someone who has engaged with online communication since the late 1980s. I get abuse as a councillor but not as much as some others. The deputy leader of my council has just resigned citing online abuse.

The question for all of us in public life is how we cope with the flack and the abuse. And can we limit it?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

An opinion piece

Both the Tories and Labour have a dominant elected represented presence across the UK on many different bodies. Because of their current dominance, people almost expect that they should be represented. Such prevalence has allowed some poor performance, by these parties, to be masked/accepted as the public find it difficult to see beyond, what has become, their own basic political norms.

The Lib Dems message is not being heard. We live in a liberal country that has liberal values, a liberal outlook on life and politics, and there is one real party that represents those values – the Liberal Democrats. We can’t get aligned with these dominate traits that the voters live by. You do have to ask the question why?

I am not going to go off on some socio-political anthropologically discussion, simply as I am not qualified to do so. But I do want to look at why we are not being heard or are more relevant across the country.

There are many reasons – not enough reach in the ethnic minority’s communities – yes OK, we have rightly supported more women candidates in the party for internal and external positions (although I would say where we have replaced white middle-class men, in most cases, with white middle-class women and not women who are care workers, single mothers, from working-class families etc.), we don’t have any traction in urban housing estates and so on.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 48 Comments

Setting up a Network of Experience

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKWe have so many people in the party that have held office of one sort or another over the years. We must make sure that we find a way of retaining their expertise and at the same time give them the support that they need.

I have been thinking about setting up this new network for sometime but I think now, more than ever, it is the right time to do it. For too long many elected members who have lost their seats feel that their contribution to the party hasn’t been properly appreciated.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Can anyone explain the Lib Dem obsession with potholes?

Ruwan pot holingI read August’s AdLib today with much dismay. I wonder how many of us have found ourselves squatting beside a hole in the road, posing for a photograph, and subsequently pondered on why we weren’t voted in?

I completely understand the rationale of acknowledging local priorities and the important safety considerations of potholed roads, but are we getting our priorities right when we establish major campaigns over such mind-numbing issues?

Surely the focus on these little concerns, at the expense of far more important and life-altering policies, only diminishes LibDems in the perceptions of potential voters?

Do we really want to be viewed as pettifogging obsessives about the depth of tarmac when essential services such as schools, health, housing and social care are under threat?

Although I am repeatedly advised by the pundits and pollsters “This is what the focus groups are talking about” I do not find that this is the first concern on the electorate’s lips when we talk on the doorstep. Voters want to know about drops in local education standards, the lack of public transport to enable rural employment and, increasingly, the loathed bedroom tax.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 49 Comments

Opinion: Pickles pensions off councillors

The winning Kendal Town CouncillorsSome of you may have heard this brief anecdote before.

Some years ago a civil servant appeared in St Albans attempting to sell some ‘new’ ideas from the Government of the day about local government. He stood up before various district and county councillors in Hertfordshire and announced that ‘in future the Government wanted councillors to represent the people to the town hall rather than the other way round.’

He said it without malice or irony and as a result was not lynched – turning up some years later to dismantle the Audit Commission.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 25 Comments
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