There has been some chatter amongst the Southend politico blogosphere in the past fortnight or so about having the council meetings streamed on the internet so people can watch what is going down at the Civic Centre for full meetings of the council.
I think we can all safely say that it is the most excellent idea. I know some will they that those who are seriously interested will go down to the Civic and watch and listen in the public gallery but in reality if it was available at the home or on the move then many more would take an interest. Even if it doesn’t it will give more access to those who are interested and they can then holds councillors to account via some of the excellent politico blogs in the town.
Ms Jack Monroe has blogged today that in the local rag last night it was reported that this could be on the cards for Southend Council. I haven’t read the piece and I can’t nip out and get a copy as I can’t leave the apartment as I’m awaiting the DX who are supposedly going to deliver my passport today after they ‘tried’ yesterday but that attempt involved not buzzing the intercom or phoning me and they didn’t even both to leave a calling card – I only knew because they text me to say they had tried to delivery at 10:23AM when I was in fact up and about so I can’t leave the apartment as if I did they would most surely come then. So I haven’t read the piece (and it isn’t on the online version of the rag) but from what I gather it isn’t a proposal yet but it is something that is under discussion.
She is very much down with it as you can see and on the other side of the political spectrum two Tories have also blogged positively about the idea. Both Cllr. Tony Cox and 2012 candidate Del Thomas are positive about the discussion about this potentially happening going forward. One man who isn’t though is new councillor Cllr. Julian Ware-Lane who is worried about the cost.
Like everything it comes down to the dollar dollar bills y’all but in reality the cost would be negligible and it would be far less than what the council are spending on Diamond Jubilee medals for the kids of the town which to me is a bit of a joke. I’m a monarchist. I have no problem is saying that but this is just a flat out waste of money. Sadly a lot of things the council do is a waste of money. If more people were holding the councillors to account then maybe the councillors wouldn’t keep making dumb decisions with our money.
So it would cost a few quid to set up. Big deal. Just having it there and knowing that they were being scrutinised by many more sets of eyes and ears than they were befre would easily repay the (very low) start-up costs. You can stream on the internet for free and there is wifi already set up at the Civic so the cost of a camera and maybe some microphones strategically placed around the council chamber and that would be it.
Money is always important but this will pay for itself within a year – of that I have little doubt. It will also make politics more accessible to people who cannot go to the council meetings due to having children or being disabled or elderly or whatever. Anything that makes politics available to the wider audience is a positive and at such a low start-up cost and the positives that would come of this makes it – to me – a no brainer and if this discussion turns into a proposal then I’d be very disappointed if people voted against it.
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