Tag Archives: Lichfield

Autumn

I’ve been wanting to get back out on my mountain bike for months. As much as pulling the kids along is great fun(!), there’s nothing quite like shooting through the trees, twists and turns of a good single track. So I made a last-minute decision to go for a ride today, and what a lovely ride it was.

Autumn is coming and there was a low sun pouring through the trees.

After spending some time working in town I walked home the scenic route. Minster Pool was unusually calm and the setting sun provided just the right amount of illumination to show off those first few yellow leaves of autumn.

It’s a beautiful place.

Why I voted in a safe seat

A little while ago I posited the argument that not voting is a proxy vote for the winner. Now I’m going to suggest that it’s worth voting even in a safe seat where you’re voting against the incumbent.

In Lichfield I’ve voted for Rob Pass, the Green Party candidate. He won’t get anywhere close to winning. He might not even retain his deposit. But voting Green is my way of telling MPs my views. When they see what sounds like will be a big uplift in the green vote it’ll send a message about the kind of politics and policies I and fellow Green voters want.

No, it won’t change a lot but if UKIP has taught us anything it’s that the big parties will respond to a threat to their power. I also believe that lots of people who are thinking of voting Green won’t do if they feel their vote won’t count. That’s a self fulfilling prophecy. Those of us who do help increase the Green vote will show others they won’t be alone next time.

Just voting once every five years is going to do fuck all though. We should vote but also follow up that action with more action to try and get the politics and society we desire. As Andy Bennetts said, organise.

That’s why I’m starting #365daysofpolitics. Every day, starting today, I’m going to so something political (or with a political purpose) to help push towards the kind of society and democracy that I want to see.

I’m going to blog every day what I do. Feel free to join me. Let’s organise and be the change we want to see in the world.

Anger is a gift

Use that anger.

That’s what Andy Bennetts, parliamentary candidate for Class War in Lichfield said during a hustings at the weekend.

A favourite song of mine is Freedom by Rage Against The Machine. It includes this line:

Anger is a gift.

I love that because I believe it. My anger at our political system has motivated me to do something. I’ve chipped in a little work Democracy Club, actively contribute (and evangelise) the OpenPolitics Manifesto, and have helped with the Something New party.

Anger can motivate like nothing else, so if, like me, you’re angry at politicians, do as Andy says and use it.

There’s something else that Andy said that I think we could all do a little better.

Organise and fight

Here’s a few suggestions;

Picture: Flag of the EZLN, Wikipedia

Think open data is just the realm of geeks? Not in Lichfield…

This is partly the reason why I love Lichfield so much. Our council CEO recently joined Twitter and was last night tweeting (much revered) webmaster, Stuart Harrion;

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Ninadawesldc/status/133285420699095042″]

Where else do you get a council chief exec tweeting her webby on a Sunday evening about the Open Government License?!

Fantastic!

More House of Commons exposure for The Lichfield Blog

Whilst discussing his vision for local TV during a House of Commons debate on the future of local media [& video], Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey mentioned The Lichfield Blog and it’s efforts in the local media landscape.

In response to a request from West Bromwich East MP, Tom Watson who referenced another West Midlands hyperlocal, The Stirrer, Vaizey said;

…the hon. Gentleman is right to say that we must not lose sight of the fact that there are hundreds of different initiatives that are involved in the delivery of local news.

The last time I mentioned the subject in Parliament, I was e-mailed by the local news bloggers in Lichfield, who met in the pub and now provide an ultra-local news service.

I’m taking that as another sign that we’re doing something good, to be referenced by a Government Minister during a debate on the future of local media.

Encouragingly, Vaizey followed up straight away saying,

Of course, there will be elements of public money available for that kind of research and experimentation.

I’m encouraged by that. Although the coalition has ditched the IFNCs which, according to IFNC-judging panel member Will Perrin, featured a good hyperlocal element, this may mean that the Government might be considering something similar that will be focused on smaller communities than the IFNC regions.

Watch this space!

Social Media love makes it to Coventry & Warwickshire – my home county!

If you know me you know I shout a lot about Lichfield. I love the place! But I’m originally a Warwickshire boy, having spent my first 20 years in the old mining village of Dordon in North Warwickshire. Now Warwickshire has officially embraced my other favourite thing – the World Wide Web!

Paul Henderson and Paul Squires have launched Coventry & Warwickshire’s first Social Media Cafe, for anyone interested in the web, social media and digital media in general. It follows the success of similar events in London, Birmingham and Oxford.

The first meeting will take place on Friday 18th September from 10am-12pm at Arch 6 in the new Court Street Creative Arches in Leamington Spa.

Co-organiser, Paul Squires invites all sorts to the event, “Everyone is welcome at the Social Media Cafe. If you’ve heard aboutTwitter but want to know more about its potential, or if you’re from an established design studio or games company, this is the place for you.”

It’s a free event, of course, and more details are available on their web site.

I am of course particularly excited about this new Social Media Café because it gets more people interested in social media which I’m also trying to do in Lichfield with the launch of Lichfield Social Media Café which will take place on Tuesday 15th September. The Lichfield SMC is part of The Lichfield Blog’s wider digital engagement agenda which aims to inform and education the community about the benefits of the web and how it can improve their day-to-day lives.