Today is a big day in WLLG towers; after three years of taking a slightly sideways look at the world of local government we have decided to call it a day.
Over the last three years we have penned over 500 posts, received over 200,000 hits and, although this is an estimate, written over a quarter of a million words.
We’ve written pieces about Government policy, drafted thoughts about the future of local government, started debates about the way local government operates and tried to make our readers smile with the occasional light-hearted post.
When we started this blog we did so, in part, out of a sense of frustration. We were both enthusiastic about local government and the work we did and yet there seemed to be a lack of debate and reflection happening, either in our own council or in the wider world. We would spend lunchtimes debating policy and the way local government operated or, more often, making fun of the more stagnant parts of the sector.
Despite our best efforts to locate another outlet for some of this desire for discussion there wasn’t really anything out there. It was at this stage that we decided to do it ourselves; although admittedly for the first few months it was mainly for our own entertainment!
Over the years the blog has developed as we have. We’ve addressed bigger topics, written longer and more serious pieces and expanded our understanding of local government.
We strongly believe that the blog has got better as we’ve gone along and hope that, if only in a really small way, it has contributed to the wider debates and thinking going on about our sector. We also hope that we have entertained people a little.
Reading the above you may be wondering why exactly we are closing the blog.
First things first: it takes a lot of time to write this. We’ve dedicated quite a large chunk of our evenings and weekends to make this a daily blog with what we hope is a consistent standard and we reached a moment where perhaps we have other priorities.
Some have suggested that we just reduce the amount of posts we write each week, thus keeping the blog but reducing the workload. We did consider some sort of stripped down version but felt that the strength of WLLG was its daily nature. We either wanted to be doing it properly or not doing it at all.
Alongside this, we’re not naturally good at the whole anonymity thing. The blog started out anonymous almost by accident and in the long run one of its strengths was that no-one knew who wrote it, therefore people were judging the work on the content not on how it reflected back on the local authorities we worked for. This is not to say that we would not be happy to write what we wrote under our own names. We are proud of what we write and try to do so with an openness and humility that allows for disagreement, encourages debate and doesn’t appear either mean spirited or ignorant.
However, if we are not to run the blog on a daily basis then I think we’d rather not be left skulking in the shadows and cease the whole anonymity thing. We won’t be starting a new blog but we’re certainly not averse to writing a few words every now and again.
Before we go we do need – and want – to say thank you. We want to thank our readers without whom this whole enterprise would have been pointless. We’d like to thank the people who have sent us guest posts (you know who you are), have commented on our posts, those who have tweeted us and those who have inspired us. We’d like to thank our colleagues who have inadvertently given us ideas for posts and everyone we have worked with over the past three years. When local government is full of people with the ideas, enthusiasm and talent of some of the people we know in local government it is in safe hands.
So, that’s it…
It’s been an amazing time, but it’s now time to walk away while the smile is still on our faces and in our hearts.
There’s just one more post to come from us, and for the more curious of our readers you may want to come back tomorrow, but before you do we’d like to leave you with a paragraph from a previous post which we hope sums up what we were all about:
We Love Local Government because:
Within the catch all term ‘local government’ is a diverse, complicated, at times bizarre and yet dedicated, brilliant and innovative organism. At it’s best local government can make a lasting difference to the lives of the residents it serves and even at it’s worst you can guarantee that the motives will be good and that there’ll be something interesting to talk about. It’s a place where things done perfectly go unnoticed, whilst the slightest hiccup makes news columns big and small, which attracts some of the greatest thinkers and doers working today along with more than its fair share of those whose only purpose in life is to serve as a bad example to others.
Like any relationships, our love of local government has its ups and downs, its highs and lows, its moments of pure inspiration, its moments when the acronym WTF?! is the only way to describe things. It may drive us mad at times, but if nothing else it will always drive us someplace interesting.
Local government is all this and so much more.
Welovelocalgovernment was a blog written by UK local government officers.