Wednesday, March 26, 2008

500th blog post - Grrrr

How annoying that my 500th blog post was the "imprint" post.

I have considered deleting one, just to change the facts, but the truth will out. So there you are, nonsense from the Electoral Commission has taken my milestone away.

I guess I have to make the 501st blog post count instead.

So how about this?

Some guy named David Semple has had lots to say about this blog on his own blog.

Various young people, one aged 23 from Belfast and one aged 19 from the Isle of Wight obviously think I am about as interesting as watching grass grow.

This is what they have to say about my blog

"Several blogs have firmly put paid to that admittedly rather quaint national chauvinism. Regrettably these blogs are all Labourite and all from women. The feather that broke the camel’s back was this blog by one Louise Baldock. Not the worst I’ve seen by a long way (we’ll come to those in a moment), but yet another example of extremely parochial politics, if you can call it that.

It is predictable in form; mentions every campaign event the woman, a councillor in Liverpool, has attended, assorted personal minutiae and not a controversial statement (or seemingly an original thought) in sight. Fine. Nothing offensive. A tad dry, but I suppose every local Labour Party needs someone to keep everyone else informed as to what the local organisation has been doing.

Except this is a Labour councillor; an elected official. Elected to Liverpool City Council no less, one of the former centres of left wing firebrands who, for all their shortcomings, showed more cojones than the entire labour establishment in standing up to Thatcher’s government. If this type of politically vacuous managerialism, mentioning a campaign here or there and criticising the Lib Dem leader of the council, is what Liverpool has been reduced to then that’s a depressing thing."

I have been thinking about this blog entry since I read it yesterday. (Yes of course I google for my own name, what elected politician doesn't? It is not ego - whatever Berni Turner might think, it is merely checking the online "cuttings".)

What does it actually say about me and the blog?

It says that the blog is parochial. Yes, it is, definitely parochial. That is because I represent only one ward in Liverpool, not the whole country. It is of course the best ward in Liverpool, with the best people, and the most interesting national projects being rolled out in this area with high rates of deprivation; the biggest New Deal community in the country, the controversial HMRI, Community Policing, maybe even Selective Licensing for Landlords if I can ever win the vote on this in council.

I represent Kensington and Fairfield and I said very clearly when I was elected that I would use every tool in the kit to reach my constituents. I go to every TRA I get invited to (still have not been able to break into the secretive Parks Partnership, but am welcome everywhere else as far as I can tell). I write letters, I knock on doors on a rota across the ward, I phone residents where I can find their phone numbers, I stand on street stalls, I hold weekly surgeries, I put out leaflets and newsletters, I attend social events, parties and exhibitions and I blog. All are necessary to engage with local people.

David says I mention every campaign event I go to. Actually I mention lots of community events and lots of campaign events, but by no means all of them, sometimes you have to keep your powder dry and I dont tell about stuff that I dont want the LibDems to hi-jack, but the community knows that I will always be there if they want me to be - and they usually do.

And then he says that every community needs someone to tell them what is happening.

To quote Homer, well Duhh!

What does this man think a locally elected councillor is all about if not talking about community activity and campaigns?

And then he says I should be a firebrand, a true Bessie Braddock, or maybe a John Hamilton, or who does he mean? Who from Kensington and Fairfield would he rather I emulate? How about David Alton? He was a great councillor, that is what more or less every resident tells me, because he was parochial and interested in the minutae, but as soon as he got to Westminster he became, they tell me, remote. And frankly that is to a certain degree inevitable if you have to spend four days a week outside of your patch. They stopped supporting him on the day he left them, at a personal level.

Our MP is Rt Hon Jane Kennedy and she is out every Friday, Saturday and most Sundays on the stump. She probably delivers more leaflets than any other MP in the country, she knocks on doors, turns up for events, writes thousands of letters, pushes all sorts of campaigns. She does as much, if not more, than any nationally based politician (with a big ministerial portfolio too) can do in her own constituency.

But I am not a national politician and I dont have to go to London all week. Thank Heavens! I am always in Kensington, always in Fairfield, I even work in the ward now, albeit only part-time.

And finally I am accused of being bland, of not rocking the boat, of not being offensive, of being vaccuous.

Only someone who does not live in Kensington and Fairfield could think that.

The LibDems think of me as their own personal Bête noire.

I am top of the list of councillors who most other councillors love to hate, and the proof of that is in the numbers who come on here to criticise me.

These young people who contribute to this blog are to be championed for their political fire, for their passion and their interest. But they need to understand that a successful blog does not just have to be yet another contribution to the "Gordon Brown, is he great or dire" or "What Harriet did next" debate.

I have lots of thoughts about our national position but that is NOT what this Blog was set up for, and not what my readers come here for. I am not here as a national politico, not as an apologist, not as an opponent, not as a supporter. I am not here to be truly boring and vaccuous adding yet another voice to the question about whether the Embryology Bill should be opposed or supported for instance.

Get this, I am a LOCAL councillor, and this is, as I told the conference in London last week, a LOCAL blog for LOCAL people. I owe them my undivided attention.

Sorry young people on "Though Cowards Flinch", this councillor NEVER flinches from representing those 10000 electors and their family.

Wait until you become a representative and then you will understand. Local politics is vitally important, in my experience only those residents who achieve satisfaction locally can truly engage in national politics.

But thanks anyway for giving me an interesting topic for the "should have been" 500th blog posting.


donpaskini said...

Hi Louise,

For what it's worth, I think your blog is great, and if the worst that your critic can say is that it's depressing that you're not enough like the Militant, then I don't think you've got much to worry about ;)

Tom m said...

This is quite refreshing, it goes against the grain of most political blogs right now.

Anonymous said...


You may be a Bête noire (and yes I had to look it up on Wikipedia!!!) to the Lib Dems, but I can well believe, that due to the hard work you have both put in, yourself and Wendy are Kenny and Fairfield's heroines!!
Whilst on the subject of Lib Dems and Bête noire, I think this would apply to Bradley and Paul Clein.
I look forward to have a ringside seat seeing the Lib Dems implode on themselves!!! They are a busted flush, exploit this with Gusto in the May elections!!

Cath said...

Well said our kid!
Keep it up.
If there were more like you local politics would be in a far healthier position and there would be lots more interest and informed discussion rather than the rubbish that goes in the press at the moment.