Democracy starts with people

A while back we blogged about how only 7 seats out of 32 were contested in the May 2007 District Council elections in Teesdale.  On the Isle of Wight they have no such problem.  Last Thursday 6 local people were contesting a by-election for a single Parish Council seat in Ventnor.  On a cold December day just before Christmas they achieved a turnout of 28%.


There is no way of telling but the efforts of a local blogger, Simon Perry and his team on VentnorBlog may have helped.  All 6 candidates were interviewed on camera and asked questions that had been left on the blog, results were live blogged and a Podcast from the returning officer was recorded.

Apparently the blog has 17,500 readers which is quite incredible for a town of only 6,000 people.

I spoke with Simon about why don’t more communities have thriving online presences?  I feel the key ingredient is having someone with the energy, drive and commitment to produce the content rather than the tools.  But that is probably coming from someone who doesn’t have a problem with the tools.  Would having better pre-configured sites in WordPress and the right guidance help more communities thrive?

Simon also sent me some links:


The Secrets of Success in I’m a Councillor

I’ve now finished writing up the I’m a Councillor 2007 evaluation report (which you can download from our website). It’s been fascinating looking in detail at the feedback and the questions that were asked. Although of course I was there for the whole event, while it’s on I’m caught up Read more…

YouCanDo Guides

Yesterday saw the launch of the YouCanDo Guides from The Scarman Trust at Westminster Central Hall.  The highlight of the day were the stories from six ordinary (or extraordinary) people who have helped change their communities.    The smooth running of the day was somewhat disrupted by one of the Read more…

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