First up, apologies for the lack of posts: I have not gone into hibernation nor given up campaigning! The simple fact is I have just had possibly the busiest five months of my political career, managing one of the most challenging portfolios on Reading Borough Council, and on top of that, I've started a new job.
My top priority first and foremost is to discharge my responsibilities to the people of Reading as a Lead Member, and to my constituents in my ward as a ward councillor. I really enjoy blogging, however, so I will do my best to post as and when I can.
Since I began blogging a few years ago it's pleasing to see that a number of local politicians of all political persuasions in Reading are now doing it. Due to time constraints I use Twitter more than other tools. I commute to work in London and am not always in front of a computer screen so I can tweet on the go (usually on my way to a meeting of one kind or another). I've recently also begun using Foursquare. My ward colleague Cllr Kirsten Bayes is ahead of me however recently adopting Posterous for audio blogging.
After four years as an opposition councillor I am really enjoying getting stuck into adminstration. As Chair of Scrutiny for years and a proactive ward councillor I was able to exert a big influence on policy and get lots of things done but being a lead member is a different matter altogether...and a lot more work.
But politics is very much a team game and I am very lucky to be working alongside many committed, hard-working and dedicated colleagues from both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative groups. The bit that the public doesn't often see is the many hours councillors and officers spend in the Civic Offices working on policies for the benefit of local people. It is is hard to balance this with other responsibilities and to ensure we still have a life!
These are not easy times and the financial position we have inherited from Labour locally and nationally means we have some very difficult choices ahead. That aside I am excited about the opportunities that there are to deliver better value, more personalised services to our residents in Reading.
Nationally politics has been very interesting. The Lib Dems did not win the election - no one Party did so I accept that there will inevitably have to be compromises. That said, I am pleased to see a number of Lib Dem policies we have long campaigned for in Reading, like the Pupil Premium being implemented.
That's all for now but if I get time I hope to post some thoughts on housing soon.