So long and thanks for all the fish

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.

Explore posts in the same categories: We love the Council


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38 Comments on “So long and thanks for all the fish”

  1. Dan Slee Says:

    Oh no….

    That’s desperately sad news.

    But as a blogger who writes entirely in my spare time I can entirely understand some of the reasons for calling time. It can be a very time consuming process when stacked on top of all the other things.

    I do hope you come back or continue in one form or another after batteries are re-charged. Even if this is occasional posts.

    You’ve always been very kind about the stuff I do online and so I don’t want this to seem like platitudes but this blog, for me, has always summed up the drive, talent, enthusiasm, dedication and spirit of people who want to do a better job in local government.

    Thank you for all your content (and I quietly hope to see you blogging again…)

  2. Ed Hammond Says:


  3. Will Says:

    Sorry to see you go but I understand the reasons. I’ve always enjoyed this blog and the debates it’s generated. It’s been able to put the point of view of the Local Government Officer who is normally a beast that has to keep his own counsel. I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to contribute, albeit rarely, to your blog and I wish you all well for the future.

  4. ermintrude2 Says:

    Thank you for all the work you have put in. I have really enjoyed your writing and your contribution to the sector.

  5. whitelighted Says:

    Big big: thanks, hugs, respect, admiration. There will be a big hole in my RSS fees where you used to be.

  6. Sarah Spence Says:

    I will certainly miss my daily morning read, I have been lazy in not leaving a comment that often but I have found then thoroughly entertaining, insightful and they have helped me confirm what I have often thought but not been brave enough to say out loud. I’ve been lazy in not commenting that often, I wish I had now! Congratulations on what you have achieved, a daily blog of such quality writing is no mean feat! Good luck on your new ventures!

  7. Kate Sahota Says:

    Such a shame, I will miss this blog. Hope you do pop back every now and again.

  8. LGworker Says:

    You will be missed. I’ve really enjoyed reading you over the last years, commenting on posts and even sending in the random guest post (which really showed me what you went through every evening and weekend – how you did it is beyond me). You really opened all our eyes to the strange world of Local Government and got some interesting debates going. Now the only question is what should I do first thing every morning?

  9. […] Local Government, an anonymously written group blog by a bunch of people working in the sector, has closed its doors. How […]

  10. tomsprints Says:

    I am SO sad to hear this news. Completely unexpected. You set and maintained the gold standard. I think for a very long time, people will be quoting you as how it could/should be done.

    Thank you for making us think, thank you for making us laugh. Thank you for showing the local gov family in the widest sense what it has in common.

    You’ve become required daily reading and will be very sorely missed indeed.

  11. Rick Says:

    Very sad news. And just when a measured and well-informed blog about local government is needed more than ever.

    Give me a shout if you want to use my blog for guest posts.

  12. Thanks for all your great posts.

    And the not-so-great ones too. (joke)

  13. You’ve inspired and given confidence to many others in the sector. Now is there time to shine and whilst your contributions will be sorely missed, the debate, discussions, rethinking, redesigning and challenging must and will go on and we all know that in those conversations will be the voices and people behind this blog.

    Farewell and i’d hope to meet you in person and shake your hand, give you hug and generally say thank you for what you have done.


  14. LG Worker Says:

    Thanks for the entertaining reads that have helped bring some sanity during my own WTF moments. You will be missed when I have my morning cup of tea.

    Hopefully I will read your work again in another guise!

  15. A big thank you to the team behind the We Love Local Government blog. Your hard work is appreciated and I will certainly miss your irreverent thoughts and sharp perspectives about the complexities of life in local government.

  16. Reblogged this on A blog on being social… and commented:
    A fantastic blog ‘looking sideways at life in local government’. Goodbye and thank you for the debate, humour and daily thought.

  17. publicsectorpm Says:

    Oh no… I hope it wasn’t something I said…. 😉 we love local gov was a great blog and its a shame to see it go. Best wishes for the future, cheers, Jon.

  18. Phil mason Says:

    That is a shame 😦 but thanks for the work done in the past.

  19. eshaanakbar Says:

    This is a real shame. As others have said, I appreciate the pressures you guys face to post regularly.

    That said, I really feel that you’ve paved the way for local government blogging and sincerely hope to see you back in some other capacity.

    Be proud of your achievements and always remember, when one door closes, you’ve probably lost the key for the other ones….or something like that.

  20. kriswith Says:

    Thanks for everything you’ve done to promote the world of local government. Best of luck to you and maybe we will see each other out in the real world. Or maybe we already have!

  21. It’s been a pleasure reading your material. Well informed comment and a critical eye on the direction and shape public sector service change. Adios.

  22. E9to5 Says:

    As with many council services, many of us will have taken WLLG for granted, not understanding how much work goes into making it such a brilliant resource, and then rue its loss when it’s too late.

    Though clearly so much has changed in the way that local government matters are discussed and reported online (in no small part due to the way WLLG has led those discussions), there will be a vast gap left by the closing of this blog. Thanks for everything you’ve provided over the past few years- primarily humour, which has been entirely lacking the in way that LG Matters are promoted

  23. markbraggins Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this news. Your daily post has been one of the first things I read every morning, and I’ll really miss your thoughtful insights in to the world of local government. I completely understand why, however, and know you will have devoted a huge amount of time to blogging over the years.

    Perhaps you would consider the occasional contribution to #weeklyblogclub ?

  24. Andrew H Says:

    Tragic; all I can assume is Eric Pickles made you an offer you could not refuse ……… Thanks for all the entertainment and serious thoughts.

  25. Roger White Says:

    ‘Oh no…’ your first commenter wrote in response to your news. Oh no, say I, not least because I’ve just recommended my own readers check out WLLG *and* have always listed you under ‘Other interesting blogs’ on my home page. I had the same feelings some of us oldies had when the old pirate radio stations went off air in the 19-mumble-mumbles – a much-loved old friend was deserting us. The pirate stations always signed off with significant and touching words, just as you do – ‘Welovelocalgovernment *was* a blog written by UK local government officers.’ Nice sign-off. Good luck with whatever you all do, and not only with the extra spare time you’ll have.

  26. jonsharvey Says:


    Things change, people move on, new doors open while other doors close. So – understood. But… really, really sorry to see you go – please don’t delete the blog – it can remain a useful resource

    I wish you all the very best for the future.

  27. Adrian Barker Says:

    What a sad day! But thanks for all your hard work. It’s been informing, thought provoking and often entertaining.

  28. I’ve only just seen this. Oh no, what will I do without my WLLG compadres?
    Seriously, you’ve done a fabulous job with this blog – it’s always refreshingly and surprisingly balanced in an area that provokes strong feeling on all sides.
    I really hope this Au Revoir rather than goodbye, but I wish you all well and thank you for all your work on this blog. And for all the plugs for mine, naturally! 🙂

  29. Whose Shoes? Says:

    Oh no! I haven’t felt so sad since Mr Redundant Public Servant found a new job! Oh well, you know what I mean – very glad for him, but really looked forward to the regular blogposts. I hope Mr RPS has been very successful in his new life and I send all good wishes to you guys and thank you for your fantastic and insightful series.

  30. royhair Says:

    Sad to hear of the demise of this blog. You have done a great job and thoroughly deserve the testimonials from all here.
    I wonder if the blog could change to a more crowd-sourced, fan-managed model, but perhaps even this would take too much time for moderation and management?
    Whatever happens, all the best.

  31. Sorry to hear this. You certainly challenged us at the LGA (in the digital comms team at least) to up our game. You weren’t scared to be outspoken and that’s to be commended. I hope someone else can take up the mantle in the way you did – ie. prod local govt to think differently without holding a grudge against any particular person or body. You criticised and praised in equal doses.

    I must say I was amazed at how you held down day job(s) and managed to churn out frequent, eloquent posts here. Please pass on some of that energy and inspiration my way … pretty please … At one of the most difficult times in local govt’s history (and a week when the “graph of doom” was very much a focus for the LGA’s conference), it’s something we all need.

    Good bye & good luck (to all of us)

  32. […] We Love Local Government A blog looking sideways at life in local government « So long and thanks for all the fish […]

  33. Baldrick Says:

    Like everyone else, I’m sad to see you go, but understand why. Thanks for all the posts that have inspired me, helped me to look at things from another angle, and just plain cheered me up on a rubbish LG day – it just won’t be the same without them.

  34. iancelliott Says:

    This is very sad news indeed. I have found this blog to be informative and humourous. It has been an excellent resource for my students and will be badly missed.

    I do hope that some of those who have contributed to this blog will continue to blog on local government. It is really important to get this sort of inside information out to the public who are all to often misinformed about all things public service by the traditional press.

  35. localgovalso Says:

    Just wanted to add my two-penneth, that I’m very sad to see the blog go, I think there really is a place for industry-sourced, anonymous reportage.

    Thanks for all the hard work over the years, guys!

  36. […] news this week; the chaps at We Love Local Government are closing their blog down.  I understand their reasons. A group blog is a double-edged sword. You can pump out a lot of posts which gets you a regular […]

  37. Karinne Says:

    Sayonara, it’s been a complete pleasure being around since the early part of this blog. Completely understand the reasons for calling it a day, 3 years is a long stint for any volunteer creative effort.

    I commented on your close over at Flip Chart Fairytales, but would like to re-iterate my sentiments here as I think they are important to why you have 36 posts saying goodbye:

    “‘it’s impossible for me to think that we are the only two people out there who have opinions on local government. Through the blog and the Twitter feed we’ve encountered some fantastic officers, members and others who both have knowledge of and care about local government, and I’m certain there are many more out there with a similar attitude to us.’

    Very true, however you guys have a lovely, insightful way of writing about local government issues, and you found a way that you were comfortable to speak publicly. There is a strong, usually implicit, pressure to not talk about the experiences of working in local government outside of its walls. I refer to it in Australia as “the fear of the Daily Telegraph”, you could change that last word for Mail and not be far off.

    Sadly this means that to the majority of people outside of government we are a complete enigma, which leads to the stereotypes that we frequently encounter of the lazy, in-efficient bureaucrat, instead of the reality of hard-working, dedicated, intelligent people who work under intense pressure and scrutiny in situations with archaic systems that hamper efforts, or where they are expected to be experts in a strange variety of fields.

    A former Minister of mine once said “Don’t provide the opportunity to reinforce the prejudices of your enemies”, and in not speaking more publicly about who we are and why we make the decisions we do, I think we do ourselves a disservice. I hope that as a result of your excellent blog a few more blogs of that nature will spawn, and slowly, slowly, we will start to talk more publicly about what it means to choose to be a public servant, and slowly, slowly change the dominant, pejorative stereotype.”

  38. Tone Says:

    You’ll be missed!
    Thanks for everything.
    I’m being made redundant soon (part of a management cull – being replaced by small army of apprentices and lower grades) and feel sorry for colleagues left behind: Usual story – pay freeze for years and uncertainty of LGR, now instead with Shared Services having to do more work across 2+ councils with the same or less pay!
    As has been said many times through WLLG, most councils cope but never get the thanks or praise when they do, only slated when things go wrong.
    One thing that brightened my days throughout this period was reading all your output. It’ll be hard to find something as intelligent and entertaining to fill the gap!

    Gone but certainly not forgotten…..

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