Mahvellouss Moira…

We spend our share of time poking fun at some of the dough-heads in politics here in the UK, but one of the brightest shining lights is the Leader of the Council, Moira Gibson.  It seems that the most important skill for a leader of any Borough Council in the UK is that of being able to herd cats.  Especially when you have such a large political majority.  Moira has served the council for a lot of years, and makes an absolute pittance for her efforts.  Sure she works all the hours God sends, but as one of the most brillant cat-herders in the Political scene, she has the most impact of anyone.  She has now saved me from myself more times than I can count, and next to my wife Janet, has had the most impact on me in the last 18 months of being a councillor.  Absolutely no one told me just how different the Political system here is from the land of the Yanks, but being the quick study that I am, it has taken me roughly twice as long as the “normal” councillors to get to grips with it.  Moira has patiently waited through all of it, and I am very thankful for it…

When the council standards committee decided to have a bark at me last spring about the cockroach affair, she was right there by my side.  She didn’t really care that the whole thing was pretty much made up of other Tory Councillors, she was just focused on doing the right thing, regardless of the consequences.  You don’t see too much of that in politics, from any of the three parties these days.  Through the entire appeals process she was right there, mostly helping me save me from myself.  At the end, it was a landmark precedent-setting judgment from the High Court, but it is due to Moira that I was able to construct the arguments and deliver them…

Too bad there was an immediate successor to Andrew Mitchell, she would make an excellent Whip in the House of Commons…  I can only hope that my fellow councillors recognise just how valuable she is and give her the respect she so totally deserves…

The awful truth

Last time, I spent a lot of time commenting on the angst of Social Media. It is amazing how much change has come about in the hiring process by LinkedIn. It is incredibly easy to check someone out and their background on LinkedIn, but amazingly, some people take the piss with impunity. Take my ex, Meg Allen. She lists on her CV that she has an MBA from Ohio State University in the US, quite a prestigious institution. The Business School at Ohio State is called the Fisher School of Business, and they have never heard of her. So even with all the information at people’s finger tips, they still miss it. So the people who take the piss will still take the piss…

So, moving on from LinkedIn to things like Twitter and Face book is really dangerous for the normal person. Why? Because most people can’t bear the thought of lots of people finding out what they really think, on a wide range of issues. Are any of the “old guard” going to risk it? Doubtful, probably there’s a possibility for 10-20% of them making the change, but not more… So should we bother trying? Of course…

What will be the result? A whole new generation of politicians, ones who be permanently connected regardless of their status of office. More engaged? That’s not the half of it. The other half, stay tuned…

The Angst of Social Media

We are about six months from the next real election. For us here in Surrey it is for all of our County Councillors. For all you Yanks, we have only 3 tiers of government here, as opposed to your 13, so elections are quite special. We of course want to win, but not with the sort of thermonuclear scorched earth policy across the pond… But like you, Social Media has taken over our worlds.

The media is now saying that as the summer Olympics were the first “mobile enabled” social media Olympics, so the next election will be the first truly “mobile enabled” social media elections in the UK. So the question of many of our Councillors when faced with the seemingly complicated social media world is why would I??? In simple terms, if you don’t, you aren’t…

Now what could that Yank possibly mean by that??? Seemples (like the meerkat commercial): if you don’t, you won’t exist. Turns out that LinkedIn has completely revolutionised hiring and engagement in all parts of the commercial and political worlds. Why, because it makes it so simple to check people out. No need to hire a private investigator to find out about someone, just go to LinkedIn.com, it’s all right there…

A very short time ago in real terms, we could identify people by the awards they received and the letters behind their names. Now, no one cares. Ever since a bunch of Yanks packed in University 30 years ago and started a bunch of companies like Microsoft, Apple, and the rest, technology has come to rule the world. Of course the same phenomenon happened here too… But even more shocking are the developments of the last year, what we’ve now seen in the last year is:

1-Internet search has gone from 35% on mobiles to 65%, in just 1 year…
2-1,000 new apps for mobiles are launched daily…
3-smartphone penetration to those under 30 is nearing 100%, overall it is nearing 80% in the UK, almost every one of which comes with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn already installed.

So, if you want to be part of the political system, it isn’t a question of “if”, only when and how much…

Welcome Rodney

So, our Labour colleague Rodney Bates has put his toe into the blogging pond today, welcome, on behalf of all of us, welcome… Your comments about the parking are very interesting, flirting dangerously with the issue of supply and demand… An interesting way to look at it, one that I had certainly not considered. So we could link parking charges to the highest demand places for short term parking. So, in front of McDonalds you could charge £10 for 20 minutes, and in front of the council offices you might ask 10p. You could go into auctions for spots in real time, and you could even bring in the bookies…

Anyway, welcome, and keep your sense of humour…

Congrats to Councillor Pitt

Last night the Conservative Party membership from Frimley Green, Deepcut, and Mytchett met to select a candidate to stand for the Surrey County Council elections in May next year.  By a majority, the membership chose Chris Pitt, the current County Councillor for the wards.  Cllr Pitt has promised to bring all parts of the party together for this most important next term where significant development is forecast for the Deepcut part of the Borough.  We all offer our congratulations and support for Cllr. Pitt in his campaign.