Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The best election report I've ever read

The internet contains a vast amount of information - some of it true, some of it false. If you don't apply critical judgement to things you read on the internet, you can badly come unstuck - but if you check the same data on an internet search engine it usually does not take too long to establish the facts - and you can use the same method to "fact check" reports in the Mainsteam Media (MSM), who also get things wrong occassionally.

In fact some of the reporting on the best blogs is actually superior in accuracy and quality to the majority of journalism in the MSM.

An example was the reporting on Political Betting (see link at right on this blog) from the Norwich North by-election by someone calling himself "Bunnco - your man on the spot." I have some knowledge of the area having lived in Norwich for a year while taking my postgraduate degree, and as mentioned, did make a brief visit during the campaign.

After the by-election he posted this summary which I honestly think is the best written report on an election that I've ever read. If the MSM want to survive in their present form they need to make use of the talent which people like Bunnco display in their blogs. That way they might avoid mistakes like the way most of the MSM fell hook, line and sinker for the Green party's overstating of their chances, and the BBC's exclusion of UKIP from a debate among four arbitrarily selected "major candidates".


Anonymous said...

Likewise with Copeland BC.
It's funny but you never do a "fact check" of what Copeland BC Officers tell you or what is laid out before you at Council Meetings.

Chris Whiteside said...

If you came along to a Copeland council meeting you would hear a fair number of comments from councillors challenging things which have been written in officer's reports or those of the Executive.

Enoch said...

How do you know? You were probably in Norwich at the time

Chris Whiteside said...

The attendance record for Copeland councillors is published on the council's internet site. Mine for the civic year to date shows that I have attended 100% of full council meetings and 80% of all the meetings I was due to attend.

(The one committee meeting I missed was moved at comparatively short notice to a date when I had a work commitment in Penrith.)

Anonymous said...

Weren’t you on the Oversight and Scrutiny committee that reviewed the “Copeland Play Strategy 2007 – 20012”? Did you check that any of the sites identified in the Open spaces provision audit actually existed? Did you check that any of the sites identified within your ward actually “support play provision”?

Take for example the Bleachgreen area of Victoria Road in your Bransty Ward.
Bleachgreen is identified, it exists and you can at times kick a ball about on it.
What about Bleachgreen Paddock – it hasn’t existed for ~15 years.
And what about the sites identified on Coronation Drive and Loop Road North, the sites exist but they certainly don’t support play, there is no access, they are dangerous and overgrown.
Looking at other areas it’s the same story, >50% of the list as garbage.

The report was written by Mr Brian Kirkbride of the Consultants White Green Young, he clearly knew no one would check the report so just created a big list of green areas he found on very old map to impress you all; Mr Kirkbride knew what he was doing as he did used to work for Copeland BC.

Who was the report for? It appears it was only for you Councilors benefit as when asked about these sites at the last Neighborhood Forum Mr Maddams the Councils Parks Development Officer knew nothing about the document and didn’t use it.

More wasted taxpayers money paying for the services of former colleagues.

Chris Whiteside said...

I'm back on the relevant committee this year but I think that report may have gone through it during the previous civic year when I was not a member of that committee.

As you know I went to look at Bleach Green and have spoken to Copeland's officers about it. That play area is certainly in need of improvement.

The same applies to a lot of the actual and alleged play areas in Bransty and many other areas of Copeland.

Anonymous said...

Chris the Minutes record you as being there.

If Councillors don't scrutinises anything, and none of you listens to the Public, and you repeatedly refuse to ensure action is taken to uphold local democracy then it's hardly surprisng the Council and Councillors are held in such contempt. It is not a matter of perception, it is real.

Chris Whiteside said...

My memory is usually fairly good but it must be playing tricks on me with respect to this one. I will have to dig up the report - if I was there it must have been during the 2007-8 civic year - have another look at it and check some of the things it says.

Ironically at another meeting earlier today one councillor was complaining bitterly about the extremely low score by Copeland Council in the Places survey for public satisfaction with parks, given that in his view, backed up by citing recent national awards, Copeland has one of the best Parks departments in the country. There are some excellently maintained parks in his ward. But as you make the point, some of the alleged public spaces in Bransty (and other parts of the borough) are not up to that standard and we need to learn from that.