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Dragon Editor Forecasts an Eventful Year for Local Politics

Published on: 10 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 11 Sep, 2014
Members of the Guildford Branch of the Women's register listening to the talk on The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

Members of the Guildford branch of the Women’s Register listening to the talk on The Guildford Dragon NEWS. –  Photo Guildford Women’s Register.

The story of The Guildford Dragon NEWS was told last night (September 9) to the Guildford branch of the National Women’s Register by publisher/editor Martin Giles.

Using the reporter’s five Ws and an H (What, Where, When, Who, Why and How) for information gathering, the Dragon NEWS editor took the audience through the history of the online newspaper and how it is produced.

The Dragon editor explained that he had wanted to create a news service that was just for Guildford and that raised the profile of local politics which, he said, can often affect our day to day lives far more than those at a national and international level, important though they are.

By way of demonstrating the general lack of knowledge among most people about local politics Martin Giles challenged the audience to name their county division and borough ward councillors. Only two group members were able to name any.

He went on to say: “Local politics are likely to remain especially interesting and important over the next year. There will be continuing hot debate about the Local Plan, then there is the court case of a borough councillor facing seven charges, a council by-election and the lead up to the 2015 borough council elections. We hope to bring you news of all these stories with the extra insight our local knowledge allows.”

The talk was followed by a tour of the live Dragon NEWS website and finally the audience went “behind the scenes” to the editing area and saw this story being created, contributing to its content.

The meeting organiser Jill Lewis, in whose Guildown Road home the presentation was given, said: “It was an interesting and informative evening. What a great local resource the Dragon is. It should be much more widely known.

“Much of the discussion centred on the Local Plan and we will watch the Dragon’s reporting on future developments with interest.”

More than £40 was raised during the meeting which will be contributed to nearby charity CHASE.

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Responses to Dragon Editor Forecasts an Eventful Year for Local Politics

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    September 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    The Dragon’s aspirations to make local politics and government more accessible are admirable.

    Far too few people understand how the system works. And it is still far too difficult for people to find out or educate themselves. Too often the workings of local government are an unfathomable mystery.

    Take just one example – the council’s accounts. Over the years these have got worse not better. This is despite reforms which were intended to make government account for the assets it manages in a similar way to businesses – so called ‘resource accounting’.

    I challenge anyone to look at the accounts prepared 15 years ago – before the resource accounting reforms- and the draft accounts for 2013/14 and come to a different conclusion than that the old accounts were much clearer to those trying to understand what was going on.

    It really does not matter what your political persuasion – it is just not very good.

    The internet allows the council to inform its citizens in a way that has never before been possible. Every council tax payer and every voter should be sent a digital copy of the accounts every year and the council should try harder to make the accounts clear and explain how taxpayer’s money has been spent.

    Ben Paton is the Conservative candidate for Lovelace ward in the forthcoming borough council by-election.

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