Back on 5 April I posted a blog showing which of the candidates in the six Headington/OX3 wards were on twitter. With important issues looming in the not-too-distant future, like the Barton Area expansion plans, the future of Ruskin Fields, plans to expand EF International School’s student numbers, traffic and road planning and so on I was looking forward to an interesting campaign. It didn’t happen. Nothing on twitter addressed any of these issues.
Neither did any of the 12 election leaflets delivered through my door (5 Labour, 4 LibDem and 3 Conservative – no Green). They all stressed how hard their candidate would work and how important Headington was to them. They claimed credit for past successes, with more or less justification – Headington car park, the library. Labour trumpeted their city-wide past achievements (HMO regulation, money for school improvements). The sitting LibDem candidate campaigned on her record of involvement and success in a range of local issues. The Conservatives, with no track record in the Ward or on the City Council, struggled to find anything specific to say. The candidates of all parties would fight for this, that or the other without explaining how they would pay for their ideas to come to fruition. But on the important and contentious issues in the pipeline – nothing.
If I’d had time I’d have done more. I would have tweeted or (heavens!) e-mailed the candidates asking their views on the issues I think are important for Headington’s future as a good place to live and/or work. I even started to write a piece setting out some questions for them but it all got too complex and I didn’t have the time. Maybe come the next elections I’ll be better prepared to jump in and try to get some real debate. Maybe by then more candidates will be engaging with social media and prepared to express their views. I’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, here’s a table I compiled showing the twitter activity of the candidates in the six wards over the two week period in the run-up to polling day (winning candidates in red).
WARDS: B&S: Barton & Sandhills. Ch: Churchill. H: Headington. HH&N: Headington Hill & Northway. M: Marston. Q&R: Quarry & Risinghurst.
- Stephen Tall, LibDem, HH&N >150 tweets
- Mike Rowley, Lab, B&S 22 tweets
- Ruth Wilkinson, LibDem, H 12 tweets
- Sam Fowkes, LibDem, M 8 tweets
- Mark Lygo, Lab, Ch 3 tweets
- Mark Bhagwandin, Con, H 0 tweets
- Mary Sareva, Green, B&S 0 tweets
- Roz Smith, LibDem, Q&R 0 tweets
- Ruth Rundle, LibDem, Ch n/a