Reading Grant Blowers update his Twitter feed from a Bexley Council meeting earlier – when they decided what to do after finding out their ex-leader and Boris ally Ian Clement had been a little too free with his council credit card – gave me an idea. He introduced a Bexley councillor, Matt Scott, who he also spied Twittering in the chamber.
It struck me that for many politicians, Twitter is becoming much more useful than blogging – it’s easier, quicker, more immediate, and gives them something to do in boring meetings. The CllrTweeps directory lists at least 300 councillors and other elected representatives. I’ve long been a critic of Greenwich councillors’ apparent reluctance to get online – only 2 out of 51 keep proper blogs, with one of those on Twitter – and thought I’d have a quick scoot around to compare this borough with its neighbours. I’ve only counted proper, current blogs, and haven’t counted anything stuffed full of press releases, or Twitter feeds that are out of date or don’t look like they’re aimed at the public. And I didn’t go through campaign blogs because I didn’t want to be up all night.
The result – SE London politicians online, a little list of who keeps blogs and who’s on Twitter in the five south-east boroughs.
Greenwich comes out looking pretty shabby. Six (of 54) Lewisham councillors keep blogs, while seven are on Twitter, plus directly-elected mayor Steve Bullock. In Southwark, four (of 63) keep blogs, with four on Twitter. Then again, in Bromley, just one of 60 keeps a blog (although he does keep it on behalf of two of his colleages too). And Bexley (63 councillors) just has Matt Scott, hammering away on his blog and on Twitter.
So clearly, if you want to build up a dialogue with your local representative, you need to head towards Lewisham or Southwark. But Greenwich’s councillors – well, the ones from the ruling Labour party at least – have always thought of their organisation as being a cut above the dowdy suburban (read: Conservative) lot over in Bexley and Bromley. But if they’re so good – why do they share their silence? We only want to know what’s going on – it’s not that hard, is it?
(I’m sure I’ll have missed a few out beyond Greenwich – and maybe even inside the borough too, knowing my luck having written the above. If so, hop over to the page and let me know. Thank you!)