Lewes Forum thread

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Local democracy

On 19 Jul 2015 at 10:01am Earl of Lewes wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but as a lay person it feels as if the town, district and county councils make decisions in 'smoke-filled rooms' (now vaping, of course), with very little input from the public. Of course, we can attend meetings and launch objections, if we can find out when they are and how to do it, but it feels like a system that is designed to put people off.
And yet here's Lewes Forum, discussing local issues (and some less local ones) every day, giving people a chance to make their voice heard. Yes, there are some nutters and also the mudslinging between right and left can be a bit tedious, but there are also some genuinely useful, constructive threads too.
To get to the point: why can't the local authorities come up with something like Lewes Forum? I'd like to see a website where the public could discuss local issues that concern them and council employees responded with explanations and information about who to contact and which meeting to attend.
I know that we have councillors, but in the 21st century we should be able to use the internet to bring about genuine democracy, rather than ticking a box once every five years. In a small town in Spain, the local mayor is using Twitter to make local government more transparent and efficient. Here's the link:

Check it out here »
On 19 Jul 2015 at 12:23pm Clifford wrote:
A great idea Earl, though it may be a bit too democratic for our 'representatives' and - perhaps even more likely - the 'officers'.
On 19 Jul 2015 at 1:10pm Earl of Lewes wrote:
Failing that - would our paid public servants at least come on here and explain why they do what they do? I bet they read this forum.
On 19 Jul 2015 at 4:05pm trooper wrote:
@Earl of Lewes. I must congratulate you on the post, it was most excellent. On another post I said that the concept of being an MP and a Public Servant is a matter totally beyond them,I would therefore say that this dictum applies to Local Councillors.
Why on earth would you think that Local Authority councillors(elected by us) would want to share ANY information with us the plebs.I am sure you are familiar with the expression "Power Corrupts etc etc) there you have it.As for Council Employees speaking out please!!! these people would be got rid of at the first opportunity.The word TRANSPARENCY is an alien concept to most Local Authorities in this country and local Councillors in particular.I asked a local councillor recently as to whom of the voting public he had spoken to in regard to local matter of some interest, his reply ,no one, why should I ???
Not a lot to say after that.
On 19 Jul 2015 at 7:46pm Sussex Jim wrote:
It is good to see that our MP Maria Caulfield is actively campaining for improved train services at Cooksbridge and Wivelsfield.
I picked that up from the Sussex Express website. Some of us still read it- even though Rouser is gone!
On 19 Jul 2015 at 11:05pm Belladonna wrote:
Why doesn't she campaign for improved services across the whole district ? I'd like more peak trains to/from London - 4 an hour would do - and possibly a fast service that doesn't include every rural station!
On 19 Jul 2015 at 11:07pm Belladonna wrote:
But, yes I would like to see something along the lines you suggest Earl with regard to more council transparency. Is there an ESCC/ LDC twitter handle ?
On 20 Jul 2015 at 8:58am Earl of Lewes wrote:
Good point. I've just looked and they have - some useful stuff on both, but it's largely them announcing things. Perhaps the local authorities could be persuaded to participate in Lewes Forum, so that when we ask why grass verges are being needlessly trimmed of wild flowers, we get a good explanation or a promise to look into the matter.
On 20 Jul 2015 at 1:54pm trooper wrote:
E of Lewes. Agreement ref the wild flowers, perhaps we could be told at the same time why there is rampant vegetation growth in allmost all the road verges and gutters in the town, not to mention the local estates. It used to be that all this vegetation was sprayed at set intervals,that appears to have ceased. WHY ???
On 21 Jul 2015 at 12:05am Belladonna wrote:
If they have a twitter handle nothing to stop people asking them directly. Webbo could you set up local democracy links here to local information websites and to the councils ?? Wasn't there a tweet section on here once - or did it just monitor Lewes tweets ??

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I like BONFIRE NIGHT, and of course all the out-meetings which go on around this time - and the loud bang at the crack of dawn!