Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Hooray I'm At The Top!

For many readers the realisation that an election is coming is probably starting to bite. Meanwhile for those of us actually involved in it, it is an extremely intense and exhausting time right now!

There are of course the many leaflets that need delivering to all the homes in the area as well as knocking on doors and chatting to people on their doorsteps about local issues, views etc. (I admit I rather like that part of it.) But the thing that really brought it home that it was really happening was seeing the published "Statement of persons nominated" form. It really is rather odd seeing your own name on the official electoral form or on a ballot paper. I wonder if the 'professional politicians' ever get used to it. Then again I guess they get used to being photographed standing in front of giant pictures of themselves so I suppose the 'ballot paper thrill' dissipates after a few elections.

The order of the candidates on the ballot paper is always in alphabetical order by surname (at least I'm not aware of anywhere that doesn't do this.) Excitingly for me, having a surname starting with 'D', this has put me right at the top of the Worcester Park ward one (out of 11 candidates). (Stewart and Gino are at numbers 7 and 8 - in case you were wondering...)

We have also all been sent a 'what happens next if you get elected sheet.' The two weeks following the election is filled with orientation evenings so new councillors can find out how it all work and get their photos taken and all that stuff. Then on the second Monday in June is the first full council meeting of the new administration. We all have to get all of this in our diaries now - just in case...

Heady times!

Promoted by Ranulph Murray, on behalf of Sutton Borough Conservatives Federation, both of 2a Sutton Court Road, Sutton, SM1 4SY

22 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

[Blatant plug] To the good people of Worcester Park. The WP conservative team have been working tirelessly since 2012 we have a plan to get WP moving both on the congestion and economy front. lets us prove it to you! All we ask is you give us your vote on May 22nd. Myself Simon and Gino. Numbers 1, 7 & 8 on your polling card.

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

That's Lucky 7 :P

Steve Marston said...

Seems fair to have the other candidates have a say on I assume a neutral website for Worcester Park?

Elena Parker said...

I agree Steve, seems unfair to have this blog biased towards one party...

Guest D said...

Simon is the owner of this blog and he has made his views clear and to give him credit, he has in his posts kept things fairly neutral. It is his co-candidates that have resorted to lavatorial humour.

Having said that, Simon it would be nice if you could post the manifestos of all the candidates standing, after all if you are confident in the strength of your arguments they should stand well against the other candidates.

I accept that this may be impossible due to the Representation of the Peoples act.

Bexx Bissell said...

I think the Worcester Park Blogger has until now got the balance about right in being honest and keeping this blog neutral from a political point of view. I do however think that this particular post has strayed over the line by some considerable degree and may well alienate a lot of WP Blog readers.

Bexx Bissell said...

I've just noticed the post of Friday 2nd May, "Labouring The Point". Are you intending to keep telling us to vote Conservative until the election? You said you were trying to keep the blog neutral Simon.

stewart said...

Hi steve I don't think the is censored as such all candidates can posts and they have all been asked if they want to make a contribution to the site I believe. Like the labour story earlier in the week.

Bexx Bissell said...

Hi Stewart. The problem is with that article though that the Worcester Park Blogger only advised us of the info "through slightly gritted teeth" and said at least twice that in the article that we should vote Conservative. That's not very neutral.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

Hi Bexx. I am a Conservative candidate. Of course I want people to vote Conservative! The difference is, I am giving the other parties a chance to use my blog to also put their points of view forward. I am doing this out of respect for the people of Worcester Park who already know that I am a Conservative candidate.

I would be entirely within my rights to be far less restrained with political postings. It is particularly difficult at this time because it just two weeks before the election and it would be awful to see all the hard work we have put in over the years result in nothing. The temptation is very much to push Conservative messages in every post. However I have so far managed to constrain this desire.

Were you expecting me to sing Labour's praises? Unless you are specifically anti-Tory you can see that I am being very fair in that I am a Conservative candidate giving voice to my opposition. Do you think Labour or the Lib Dems would do the same? Especially in what is likely to be such a close election?

If you can't see that saying "through slightly gritted teeth" is just me being clear about my own position then I suspect the thing you take offence with is the fact that I am a Conservative and don't share your own political agenda. This is something that is not going to change. So if you have a problem with that - please read someone else's blog.

Bexx Bissell said...

Hello Simon.
I have read this blog for several years to get interesting news about Worcester Park. If you read all of my posts today, you will see that until this morning I thought you had got the balance about right and I would like to thank you for efforts in maintaining a neutral and entertaining blog in the past. What I am disappointed about is that a previously politically neutral blog, a position which I feel you maintained when you took over, now appears to be changing to politically biased blog.
Of course I would not be expect you to sing Labour’s praises. That would be unrealistic and anyway would exhibit a political bias, all be it in the other direction. What Labour or Lib Dems would do has got nothing to do with it as I would have been disappointed at this turn of events regardless of what party you represent. For you to say that I have made my comments because you suspect I have a different political viewpoint to you is missing the point entirely.
I realise that it is your blog and are entitled to write what you want to, but I am simply saying that I don’t think you can maintain the blogs wide readership and support if you turn it into a campaigning vehicle for the Conservative party and your candidacy. I would have been saying something similar if you had represented Labour, the Lib Dems or any other party.
Your invitation for me to read someone else’s blog if I don’t like it was unnecessary and a rather offhand way to reply to someone who has been a long standing supporter of the Worcester
Park Blog.

Gino said...

(28) years the Lib Dems have had a run on Sutton council ,surely that was plenty of time to practice ,now it is time to get it right.
I was told years ago ,learn from the mistakes made by others ,we don't live long enough to make them all ourselves.
Only fools make the same mistake twice ,even worse in the Lib Dem case , the majority suffer.
We know what the community need ,we know how it can be achieved ,we know why after (28) years things are lacking and know you have an opportunity to make a difference.
(OR) you make a MISTAKE.
Where there is nothing to loose by trying and all is to be gained when successful ,by all means TRY.
Live long ,long live the community.

PJ said...

Politics is always where the WPB is going to come unstuck as historically, when Andrew was writing it, it was relatively apolitical - or at least (to me) the political views of the writer did not appear biased towards any particular party.

People will always have strong views when it comes to party politics and the blog is at risk of coming to be perceived as The Conservative Worcester Park Blog rather than a neutral blog about the area (which to Simon's credit, for the most part it has always been).

I don't know whether there is a right or wrong here but I do get the sense that there's an expectation that the blog should have an impartial, BBC-esque (bad example perhaps but you know what I mean) stance that is not seen to be pro- or anti- any particular political party.

Interested to know what others think as, politics aside, I have always found the blog to be interesting and informative, whoever is writing it. Perhaps it just needs more writers?

Bexx Bissell said...

Hi PJ. I agree most of what you've said there. When Simon first made himself known as the blogger he said that he would post political comments under his own name. He also said, “While at the end of the day I am free to write whatever I personally
choose, I think it is important for the Worcester Park Blog to serve the whole
Worcester Park community and I aim to continue running the blog in this
way.” In my opinion Simon was doing a pretty good job of that, but it all seemed to change last week.

Guest D said...

I agree with what both of you have said, but we must remember that Simon is only human and the election is for him a pretty large event in his life.

We shall see over the next two weeks or so, how much he wants to support the wider community with the blog or whether he just wants to use it to further the aims of the Tory party and I feel the time to judge is on Election day itself.

I'm also sure he realises that though it can take much hard work to win the support of a non aligned voter, it only takes an instant to lose that support, with an ill conceived half truth or joke in poor taste.

Gino said...

I think it is great to have as many ways as possible in which to express our freedom of choice and speech ,the W .P.B is a fine example.
It is right and proper for individuals to proclaim their views and this promotes transparency ,particularly at this time when the future of our community is to be decided at our Democratic election. All are welcome to enter debate ,not like in North Korea. The 22nd and May is a time to make vital choices for the community ,a time also to reflect and remember the sacrifice that allows us the freedom.
The W.P.B in the community for the community run by the people who take part (not party )in the community .
Celebrate your FREEDOM on 22nd May .
Have your say.

Andrew (the former WP Blogger) said...

I must say I'm surprised that this post has been the one to trigger so much debate - it's just a factual statement/reminder from Simon that he is standing as a candidate, a few personal thoughts about the experience of being a candidate and an brief insight into the post-election schedule for successfully-elected Councillors.

It's a purely factual insight into an important forthcoming event in Simon's life - far less controversial, I would have thought, than previous posts with a political edge.

Let's keep the political posts in context though - of the 37 posts so far in April and May only 6 (including this one) have been about the local elections. Even then, Simon is always at pains to point out in the body of the posts that he is standing as a Conservative party candidate in the forthcoming election - you might not like to be reminded so overtly but you can't ask for greater transparency than that.

When I started it off, The Worcester Park Blog was my blog. Then when I handed it over to Simon it became his blog. The fact that so many people in Worcester Park regard it as 'their blog' and are passionately concerned about its content and direction is something I take as testament to how well loved and valued the blog is and a huge compliment to the work that I did in setting it up and the work that Simon has done for the past year and a bit having taken over the blogging reins.

The most important point to remember however is that had Simon not taken on the blog and committed not only to keeping it going but also to revitalising it, the Worcester Park Blog would be no more. For me, 6 overtly political posts out of 37 in the weeks running up to a local election is definitely a price worth paying.

As that famous philosopher Dolly Parton once said, "If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain".

Guest said...

"Perhaps it just needs more writers?" Are you offering? Able to commit yourself to a quite a few hours per week, every week, without fail? . . . Unpaid, unthanked and unliked by those who would rather keep their political failings out of the public domain?

I wouldn't do it, and other than the WP Blogger, I know of absolutely nobody in KT4 who would or could make this sort of commitment. However, if you feel that strongly, good on you - go for it!

PJ said...

No not offering and also don't feel that i expressed a particularly strong feeling either way. My suggestion of additional writers was just that, a suggestion. This is a forum after all :-)

When I met both Simon and Andrew at the "big reveal" in the HG Wells I said as much the same then as I've said now; politicising the blog (which is what you do when you "come out" as a party representative, however indirectly that may be) runs the risk of putting people off.

It's hard to see how you can have it both ways but I admire Simon for trying to make a difference, regardless of motivations.

PJ said...

It's a fair point; Simon's efforts have been extremely apparent since taking over and I believe there is probably a lot of unspoken appreciation for them. Me and the missus talk (sometimes joke) about the blog regularly - and I know the ladies down at Santander would miss it if it were no longer updated ;-)

Additionally, I think the fact that any of the posts (political or otherwise) spark debate is a good thing. How else do you engage with the community if they don't vocalise their opinion in dis/agreement? You can't rely solely on Google Analytics to determine how well a post has been received :-)

I'll continue to read as long as articles continue to be published and if so inclined I may even comment on some of them (hey, it's been a slow evening)!

Hrtless said...

I think I prefer stories about overly priced/miscalculated biscuits, then this 'story'.

Gino said...

Would that be two chocolate fingers then or jammy dodgers ? I dunked several the other day now I'm paying the price.

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