Jacqui Thompson (aka @caebrwyn) runs the blog ‘Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and more’. The site achieved particular prominence when Jacqui was arrested for trying to film from the public gallery at a Carmarthenshire Council meeting.
I was very surprised and, of course, quite chuffed to win the Best Political Blog at last night’s Wales Blog Awards.
Like many bloggers, I probably spend far too much time sat in front of my computer, struggling for hours with half a meg broadband, poring over jargon filled council documents. So any recognition — for any blogger — makes it all worthwhile.
Anyone who reads or follows my blog will see that I am not aligned to any political party. I write about politics with a small ‘p’, so to speak, in my own way.
My main concerns, which I hope comes through on my blog, are with issues of transparency, accountability and democracy in local government, and particularly my local government, Carmarthenshire County Council.
I think part of the reason for the blog’s minor success (and there are many, many far better blogs than mine out there, I am a complete amateur) is that for anyone with even a smattering of interest in their local authority, or politics in general, there is no argument — one rarely, if ever, hears demands for greater secrecy or less democracy.
Since the exposure of the MPs’ expenses scandal there is a call to open up all levels of government to public scrutiny. Greater transparency will mean, eventually, greater trust in those that govern and spend our money. I, in my very small and probably rather odd and idealistic way, am just trying to do this on a very local level — and facing some degree of opposition, it may have been noticed, from my local authority.
I shall carry on though and hope that others will be inspired to either write about, tweet, observe or maybe, at the next local elections, stand for their local Welsh Council — or perhaps even be able to film the next public meeting in their local Town Hall!