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Local websites reflecting true localism - not out of touch councillors

(October 24, 2011)
AN ever-increasing readership of community websites clicking on, and others, and now, attracts interest and their 'localism' should be an inspiration to those in local and national government.
"I tend to underestimate the power of the internet," explains vfw co-author Paul Macdonald.
"As a community politician I know that so many local residents spend very little time on it but that is changing.

"They still get their local news and views from the 'Journal' or local chitter-chatter and national news from the TV or newspapers."
Vision for Warminster is completely open about its readership (now in excess of 1,400 unique users a month) by providing a 'flagcounter' and publishing each month its very own hit list and 'the top five' items published.
"But nothing replaces people taking an interest in what goes on around them," adds Paul. "We all need to share a common cause to ensure that those in charge get our views and act on them."
In Warminster the protests in the last 12 months are about the town hall, the Assembly Hall refurbishment, and also so many 'storm in a tea-cup' issues (see hot topics) that should have been easily avoided.
This has seen the spotlight directed on the 'bankruptcy' of much of what is portrayed as clever decision making by local councillors at both town and county council level.
"The thing is that if Wiltshire Council was not a taxpayer supported body it would probably now be calling in the receivers," claims Paul. "They now cannot pay the bill for our sole set of public toilets for the whole of the remaining financial year.
"They cannot react quickly enough to getting the car parking charges 'cash cow' that has dried up sorted out. They can accept with some exceptions the ever increasing 'milking' of their own councillor expenses personal 'cash cow'.
"Is this not only financial bankruptcy but a bankruptcy of ideas is the view being expressed to me?"
The whole picture if published in a book would reveal just how far the Tory local authority establishment have progressed in Warminster since the last serious challenge to them 20 years ago.
"Last year I have been put in touch with a long lost relative who lives abroad as a result of a vfw reader in Trowbridge," explains Paul.
"I have had a large number of interesting chats all weekend long as a result of announcing on Friday that I am a nominated candidate for the council by-election.
"But I still appreciate that so many of our neighbours do not have internet access.
"If you know someone who cannot read what is being published on the internet then print of a copy of your favourite bits and give it to them to read.
"I love the Warminster Journal but as has been said to me more and more often lately it is missing so much of what is going on! Let's do our bit to help them!"
*Paul is meeting Andrew Murrison MP later this week to press issues that include the A36, youth unemployment, the 'localism' bill and youth offenders having already lobbied him through the internet about the need for him to vote yes in the EU referendum vote tonight.

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