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:
Here’s couple of links to the stories that we ran on the recent
Ventnor West Parish local election
(links on this one to the profiles put out by the candidates)
… including the video interviews –
… the announcement of the winner –
… a podcast of the electoral services manager –
… and more general pieces –
The Candidate’s Corner discussion were held on our discussion forum –
By way of background we’ve been running VB for just over two years and
have built reader ship to over 17,500 people a week reading it – over
half the number of copies of the local paper (The IW County Press)
that are sold weekly – taking us to over 2.5 million page views a year.