It has long been one of my goals to have webcasting in the council chamber at Reading Borough Council for several reasons and it was in the Reading Lib Dem manifesto in 2008 (non-)coincidentally when I was elected.
There are many reasons why the busniess of the council should be available and it isn't because you will be thrilled by the prospect of the clash of intellectual titans.If you are prepare for crushing disappointment. More often than not it is empty vessels making the most sound but that is not the point.
- Democracy shouldn't be done, it should be seen to be done.And that includes being seen to be done by people who would ordinarily find it difficult to get to the Civic Offices for a 6.30pm start. The disabled and shift workers shouldn't be denied the right to see what is being done in their name.
- Reports of council business vary in quality and quantity.
Not a criticism of the journalists (I'm not just saying that because they sit behind me and might take to lobbing bread rolls at me if it was) but there is simply not enough space to cover any discussion and by the Friday a Tuesday evening 'scoop' may be wearing thin as a news item. Even so the most tedious debate says something about the participants so why shouldn't it all be available for scrutiny.
- Who said what when might be a little easier to determine.
Tonight was a world's record for personal statements both contrite and bolshie. Now if we knew what they actually had said word for word rather than through the collective prism of political leaflet writers then we could have cut half an hour from the meeting.
- Simply letting the electors see how the elected behave.My personal favourite! Might even stop Peter Jones being gratuitously offensive but hey, Blair is more likely to apologise for an illegal war so don't pin your hopes on it.