Friday, August 11, 2006
Have your say on Labour website
That was the headline on Friday's story in the Evening Post of 11th August.
Keen to express my opinion (which, according to Aberavon Labour's press release would be passed on to politicians all the way up to Dr Hywel Francis) on the Labour government's foreign policy, and the shortcomings of the Government of Wales Bill, I hied me to www.aberavon.labour.co.uk.
First surprise was that it is not new (as the Post story said). The site has stories dating back to June. Second was that, far from being rooted in the local party, the site is:
Promoted by Peter Watt, General Secretary, the Labour Party on behalf of the Labour Party, both at 16 Old Queen Steet, London SW1H 9HP
Whatever its faults, this site by 'ere is locally produced. We were not told to "get with it" by Big Brother in London.
And, of course, there is no obvious way to express ones views on the Labour web site. It looks like one of those Labour promises (like care for the elderly) which arouses hopes quickly dashed.
To access the poll, you have to find "Have your say" at the top of the page. Clicking this enables you to vote on a single topic of Labour's own choosing. (Currently, it's on the closure of Port Talbot magistrates court. Given the speed with which other magistrates courts in the borough have been closed, in the face of local opposition, one does not hold out much hope of the politicians taking notice of an adverse vote.)
Our policy is different. We encourage contributions on a wide range of topics and will not "Moderate Out" comments that we politically disagree with. Such discussion is healthy for local democracy. Naturally, we have to abide by the law as it applies to any publisher - no libels or downright offensive messages are acceptable, for instance - but otherwise, anything goes.