Councillor Stuart Bruce has moved to www.stuartssoapbox.com
Stuart Bruce's councillor blog has a new home
This blog has been rather quiet of late. It hasn't just been down to how busy I've been with work, family issues and other council activity. It's also because I've been planning to move it to a new home and this is the first opportunity I've had to get the new blog 'furnished'.
You can vist the new blog at stuartssoapbox.com. If you subscribe using the FeedBurner RSS feed then you don't need to do anything as you'll continue to get posts. If you subscribe directly via the 20six feed then you'll need to resubscribe by clicking here.
It's politics that matter not councillor.info
Gareth Davies has an excellent post about councillor.info. He's not a fan. Neither am I. The entire project does damages the cause of e-democracy.
It is a ludicrous idea that councillor's should have websites funded by
their local authority. Your authority doesn't fund your election
leaflets or community newsletters so why should it pay for your
website? The problem if you're a councillor that signs up to the
councillor.info project is that it only solves part of your problem. As
it's paid for by your authority you can't use it for normal political
In my book that makes it pretty pointless. I'm a LABOUR councillor
because I believe, damn it I KNOW, that Labour Party policies are the
only ones that can possibly deliver a better deal for my constituents.
And that's why I'm a councillor. To play my small part in creating a
better community, a better society, a better country, a better world.
Councillor.info is one of those public sector ideas that was several
years too late in arriving. Councillors shouldn't need any more
assistance to create a website than they should to create a newsletter.
Both require a similar level of IT skills.
If I can't use this blog/website to say how damaging the Leeds Tory/Lib Dem led council's policies and
what Labour would do better then there really is much point.
This week's plans
Thankfully it's a lighter week ahead:
Tuesday - full council,
including a delegation from Friends of Middleton Park about the
bonfire. Full council starts at 14:00 and can go onto about 22:00.
Wednesday - first meeting to look at 'intensive' activity to deliver some real improvements on the main Middleton estate
Thursday - Westwood's Community Association
I've also got quite a lof of casework to follow-up on. Some of it is
where I've had a success and need to let the constituent know and some
where I need to chase officers again.
Quick recap on last week's activity
Last week was an extremely busy one and included:
Middleton Park Bonfire Campaign
Lots of activity around our campaign to reinstate the Middleton Park
bonfire and fireworks - axed by the Tory/Lib Dem alliance that runs
Leeds City Council. Activity included:
> Setting up the www.stopthecuts.co.uk website
> Responding to Councillor John Proctor's complaints about the
stopthecuts website. If he spent as much time on trying to reinstate
the bonfire as he did on trying to stop the campaign, then we might
actually get our bonfire and fireworks back
> Meeting with the director and the assistant director of Leisure Services to discuss the bonfire
> Photo-call and receiving the petition from some members of the Friends of Middleton Park
> Liaison with the fire brigade
> Liaison with the Sissons Tenants and Residents Association
Other activity last week included:
> Meeting with the south area manager to discuss funding issues for
several local facilities in Belle Isle and Middleton. Also talked about
provision for young people.
> Another meeting of the Friends of Middleton Park, this one attended by the director of Leisure Services
> Thriving Communities Scrutiny Board
> Inner South Area Committee meeting at Manorfield Hall in my ward
> Meeting with leisure officers to discuss Middleton Sports and Leisure Centre
The duty of a local councillor
At home this week I've had about eight or nine phone calls from
constituents in Middleton Park ward. Some of them have been people
angry that their bonfire has been axed. Or people concerned about the
dangers of unofficial bonfire and firework parties springing up all
over south Leeds, as people have nowhere else to go.
As the Middleton Park councillors aren't responsible for axing the
bonfire I thought it might be helpful to let people speak to the guy
responsible - Conservative Councillor John Procter. As many local
people read my blog, and have visited the new www.stopthecuts.co.uk website, I thought it would be helpful to point them in John's direction.
Oh dear. It appears that John doesn't actually want to talk to people.
He's rather upset that I've asked people to call him and express thier views.
Somebody should remind Councillor Procter that as a public
representative he is accountable to the public. All of Councillor
contact details are published on the council website. I could have
directed people to visit him at one of his advice surgeries but his entry on the council website doesn't list any!