Yesterday was a bitter-sweet day for us, when we announced that we will no longer be maintaining this blog and crafting a daily addition to our future back catalogue. While this was a hugely difficult decision, we are still sure that it was the right decision, made at the right time and for the right reasons.
However, this leaves us with a quandary; we still have opinions of our own and a desire to share them, yet no blog to do so through. After a little debate, we’ve decided that the only option that remains in this case is to finally remove our ninja masks.
Therefore, with no further ado, meet the We Love Local Government team.
Creating this blog and then co-writing it has been one of the most amazing things I’ve had the privilege to do in my professional life. When we agreed in the corridor to do it in the first place I had no idea at all that it would end up anything like the benevolent beast it has become, and I am humbled by the comments, trust and opportunities it has provided along the way.
Having worked in engagement work for most of my professional life it always felt natural to discuss my ideas and engage with others who have a passion to do the same. Also, having a passion about all things digital meant that it was in retrospect strange that it took so long for me to attempt to discover my blogging voice. I’d like to think that I’ve started to do so, and hope that my own learning, questioning and development has perhaps sparked an idea or thought for someone else along the way.
There are many people I want to thank for their thoughts, guidance and support whether they have known that they were giving it or not, but foremost (and in true Oscar fashion) I need to thank my wife for her forebearance and understanding. When I have had to regularly cancel planned evenings in front of the tv or return early from nights out to put a new post up for the next day I’ve had nothing more than rolled eyes and a slightly mocking smile directed at me, fates I’m now able to handle. For someone who confesses that she has no interest in local government whatsoever she has put up with my scribblings and ramblings, helped proof read and critique them at times and tried to act as inspiration as often as possible: simply put, without her support I would have given up long ago. My thanks, love and appreciation go to her.
It would be simply impossible for me to finish on anything other than the biggest thanks for my partner-in-crime, Gareth. I don’t know if he is the McCartney to my Lennon, the Zippy to my Bungle or the Shearer to my Sheringham, but without his constant work, blogging attitude, quality of his work and analysis and simply his friendship, I would not be the person I am now and wouldn’t have such fond blogging, working and other memories to look back on.
I am constantly amazed at his ability to consider more angles on just about any policy than a human kaleidoscope, his depth and breadth of knowledge is stunning and were I ever to be in a position to recommend one person in local government for just about any job, his would by some way be the first name on my list.
It’s been an honour and a privilege, and something I’ll never forget doing. This may be the end of one blogging journey, but I hope it’s the start of many adventures yet to come.
When Glen suggested the idea of a blog I genuinely didn’t know what to expect. At first it seemed like a rather strange way to spend our time; writing words that no-one would read for basically just our own entertainment. However, the more we did it the more I enjoyed it. The act of writing was actually therapeutic; providing the opportunity to debate issues that we don’t get to discuss on a day to day basis. I also learnt the value of blogging and discovered a whole world of like minded people out there in the social universe.
The blog provided me with an outlet for my frustrations and a chance to look at a broader group of topics than my job ever would. It enabled me to try out ideas and start debates. It also gave the opportunity to start some debates and to be actively curious in a fairly safe environment. Finally, and this is going to sound crazy, it was really fun. All in all I’ve loved every minute of it and am really glad that we did it.
This might be clichéd but as this is my last time writing for a while, like Glen, I’d like to thank some people.
First things first, I’d really like to thank my wife for putting up with what is a pretty random hobby. I remember one Saturday when we were meant to be going out. She was ready to go and found me sitting on the sofa reading the cabinet papers from a council hundreds of miles away looking for some information for a post I was writing. She might have laughed at me a little but was always really supportive. I tried not to let this blog interfere with family life but it is undeniable that she has put up with this obsession for the past three years with typical love and support.
She is amazing and I genuinely can’t imagine life without her.
I’d also like to thank my friends and colleagues for their support, inspiration and friendship and in some cases for not exposing the anonymity of the blog over the years. You’re all awesome. There are also tonnes of people who we’ve met anonymously through twitter and through the blog and whilst I’m not going to name them all individually I hope that we can be friends and colleagues and fellow instigators now that the anonymity is gone. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to have come into contact with so many talented and inspirational people.
Finally, and this might sound sappy but I must thank Glen.
There are very few people you meet in life who inspire you to be better than you are. Glen is one of those people.
Glen is an innovator, a thinker and a wonderful writer whose work I really enjoyed reading. He has high standards, cares deeply about involving people in public services and is the exact definition of an early adopter. Every organisation needs people who will help break the mould, challenge pre-conceptions and turn these ideas into reality and Glen is that man. I’ve worked for him and worked with him and would happily do either again. He’s also a great friend and someone who will hopefully continue to be so for many years to come.
I am pleased that we wrote this blog, am proud of what we achieved and am a little sad that it has now come to an end. Nonetheless, it’s the right time to conclude and I’m looking forward to the next opportunity whatever that might be.
I look forward to catching up with you all sometime soon.
Welovelocalgovernment was a blog written by two UK local government officers called Glen and Gareth. We’ve stopped blogging now but you can always contact us individually through our e-mail addresses or on twitter.